To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common--this is my symphony.
~William Henry Channing

Monday, October 3, 2011

On Sunday

There are times when the amount of things to be done is overwhelming, crowding out all thought except how-do-I-get-out-from-under-this-mound-of-stuff-I-have-to-do-before-I'm-buried-alive? I've been there, I know what it's like. But lately I was dealing with something a little different. No extra work or activities or chores just regular life stuff. And it was rattling around like marbles in an empty tin can clanging my lack, defining my empty places and expressing the inability to do even the simple stuff sometimes. Every parenting misstep...each dollar spent over the budget...every un-returned phone call...each chore I didn't quite get to...every haphazardly thrown together meal...the normal everyday stuff that I wasn't doing well cling clanged loudly in my head revealing the hollowness of my own strength and faithfulness to the task.
And, now it was Sunday morning and I herded my brood into a row and settled us into seats. Sometimes, surrender looks like a laying down of something, letting go. But for me it was a surrender of nothingness, opening my arms wide to the emptiness. My recession was not caused by giving so completely until there was nothing left...I was being confronted with the awareness that I had nothing to give.
The answer at this point is not to look inward and somehow muster up what is absent. The answer comes from outside of me, the call to dwell on His fullness, His goodness, His faithfulness.
Come, let us worship our Lord together.
The call to true worship can't really be answered without confronting and dealing with our sin. I've spent just about my entire life in church and only in the last few years have I come to understand this even slightly. It's always been backwards...somehow the music and praise and the Word being preached is followed by the confession instead of preceding it. Like Moses taking off his dirty shoes I have to come first to that place of humbleness and repentance.
Come, let us kneel before the Lord and confess our sin. 
We gather as a body united in Him and with one voice we confess our corporate sin together.  We're sharing our weakness and it kindles a heart that can afford understanding and grace towards a brother or sister when sinned against because every week, every week, we kneel together and confess the common-ness of our failings. Together we admit I have sinned against You in thought, word and deed. There is no platform for self righteousness when we know we all share the same rebellious hearts. The root is the same but the manifestations are mine alone and so in a moment of quite I seek forgiveness.
Arise, people of God. Hear of the forgiveness that is yours through Jesus Christ...this is the good news...your sins are forgiven...your lives are rescued...believe this and rejoice.
The noise of my emptiness was being silenced. The hollow places were being filled with His words...the story shared from the Old Testament reiterated in a passage from the New. The  message finding me, offering an anchor, solace...reminding me the emptiness is good.
Moses asking, Who am I to do this thing?
God answering back, You are no one but I will be with you.
But who are You?
What if they don't believe me?
I will show them signs.
I'm not up to the task you've given. I can't do it.
I will be with you...I will teach you.
I can't. Let someone else do it.
I won't send you alone. I will send someone with you.
My heart responded...I can't do this. I'm not going to be the perfect wife, mother, friend. Even the everyday stuff takes more than I have. But He already knows that. And He is with me...He does teach me...He has placed me within a body so that I'm not alone, there are other voices calling out the Truth, declaring Him, the Comforter is present.
Come to the table.
Each week I sit and ponder...I feast on His word and then on the meal He gave. Just as in the time of confession I join others as we declare our need for Him and take in the provision He has made.
The emptiness is crowded out with the fullness of Him.
Arms raised, my hands turned inward to receive the blessing,
The Lord bless you and keep you...
Hands turn out, lifted high showing honor and we sing,
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be
World without end