Saturday, May 17, 2008

Silence is noisy.

While sitting in my eye doctor's examination chair, I was instructed to keep my eyes shut for a time while while she conducted a test to see how effectively tears were being produced (I flunked the test -- dry eyes are apparently another plague of the aging).

Sitting there in the dark silence for an interminable length of time (probably all of 3 or 4 minutes) I discovered sounds of which I had previously been unaware . . . such as the metronome-like ticking of a distant clock. Suddenly aware of this previously unnoticed sound, my foot began to tap in time.

I wonder how often I've sat in that chair and never heard the clock?

It occurred to me that my life is constantly filled with noise, movement, and business. Lost in it all are many sounds I never hear. Perhaps one of them is the quiet voice of God.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I love this Q&A from the Heidelberg Catechism:

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,
but belong--
body and soul,
in life and in death--
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Sometimes truths seem to coexist in tension, which is not the same as in contradiction.

For example, in the "one another" commands, "accept one another" seems at odds with "instruct one another." There is tension between "forgive one another" and "admonish one another." The command to "bear with one another" (see previous post) seems out of sync with "spur one another on to love and good deeds."

I suspect that one's temperament, experiences, and gifts determines which side of the tension is the default mode, and which comes more naturally or easily. Most of us are more "grace" people or "truth" people. Only Jesus perfectly balanced them, "full of grace and truth."

Which ever side of the tension is more difficult and less natural for me is probably the one that I need to work on. In every case, opening myself to the work of the Holy Spirit to make me more like Jesus as I live in community is the journey I must continually reaffirm.

Monday, May 05, 2008

For several years at Calvary, we have kept coming back to the "one another" commands in the New Testament. Many have observed that they "flesh out" the foundational directive to "love another" -- Jesus' "new command" in John 13.

In his excellent book, The Life You've Always Wanted," John Ortberg talks about the spiritual discipline of SERVANTHOOD, what he calls, "Appropriate Smallness." Included in that chapter is his disscussion of the command to "bear with one another."

"We are called to bear each other's burdens. Sometimes this may involve praying for another's need, or trying to comfort someone in pain. But at times it may feel as if an entire relationship is burdensome. I may need to 'bear with' people until I learn to love them...The ministry of bearing with one another is more than simply tolerating difficult people. It is also learning to hear God speak through them. It is learning to be 'for' them. It is learning that the difficult person I have most to deal with is me.

"This means that a part of the ministry to which I am called is to free people--repeatedly if necessary--from the little mental prisons to which I consign them."