I was at a seminar on prayer last week. I reluctantly went. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my Friday learning about 5 glorified steps to spiritual clarity and enlightenment…which is kind of weird (my reluctance, that is) because if there is anything that I really long for it is spiritual clarity and enlightenment. I know that I am not alone in my unfulfilled desire. Most people I run into admit to having lackluster spiritual lives marked by uninspired dialog with God. So how does the blind (or deaf) lead the blind (and deaf)?
Turns out I don’t have to. God will. God does. We receive eyes to see and ears to hear. I think it’s time I stopped assuming these were metaphors. This is the actual promise of our actual savior who lives with the Father in constant prayer on our behalf and thanks to the Holy Spirit, we get to listen in on the conversation. It’s right there in the Bible -pretty much everywhere (Check out this Sunday’s Epistle reading: 1 Cor. 2: 1-16). How could I have possibly been so thick as to have to attend a seminar to discover it. God actually speaks and guides…me…us. (Does this make me a Lutheran renewal guy?)
Did you know that the word “Behold!” occurs in the Bible 1400 times and “Lo” shows up another 200 times. What if… God actually means it? – “Pay Attention! Look! I’m going to show you something!”
I will admit that as I have pondered the daunting task of church renewal among the cloudy ambiguity that is our perceived future I have felt discouraged by the seeming impossibility of it all. I will also admit that I’m an idiot. GOD IS SPEAKING TO US. GOD IS ACTUALLY SPEAKING TO US. GOD IS TELLING US WHAT TO DO.
This Sunday’s O.T. Reading (Isa: 58:1-12) dampens my embarrassment as it reminds me that as pastor, moping around like a deaf and blind guy I’m in good company. The dialog is between God, a prophet and a group of religous folk. Turns out they couldn’t hear God speaking to them either…and then God did. God actually spoke! God told them what to do and promised that their obedience would impact the world.
Why don’t we talk about this more?
Why don’t we expect God to speak to our church?
Speak Lord and give us an education in “saltiness”.
God is speaking each and every day to every part of the Body of Christ. The challenge is to actually be able to move God out of our institutional construct to actually experience and live the call.
Thanks for writing. I am also wondering what you learned about prayer that might help us all listen?
I believe the only way we can begin to hear the voice of God is to quiet our our internal dialogue that fills our day with busyness and anxiety. In the quiet we can then hear the whisper of God.
We must also be open to hearing that voice from people outside our “orthodox” family. When God called prophets to speak a new word it was often from outside the established circle of religious thought.