God does so much and asks so little

There could be many titles to this blog post—
God Does Much And Asks So Little,
Aha (!) Moments are God Moments,
God is in Control,
Queen of Procrastination

aha moment god momentYup, that’s me, queen of procrastination. It probably doesn’t matter what the title is, but I will likely spend as much time considering the title as writing this post. I have to get back to my studies so, of course, this is a perfect time for the cloud of procrastination to cover all reasonable attempts to get something done.

But I had an aha (!) moment and I have to capture it. Technically, it’s two aha (!) moments that converge, but anyway, here goes—a creative attempt at procrastination cloaked in inspired productivity.

The past several days I have read all four Gospels of the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, Luke, AND John. And not just the miracles or the well-known parables, but from beginning to end; every chapter, every verse. And for each of the Gospels, I’ve also read a chapter in my textbook, The New Testament by Stephen L. Harris, for a class I’m taking at Creighton University. Each chapter comments on key topics, themes, author, date and place of composition, various sources used, the intended audience and interpretations.

I don’t have the words yet for all that I’ve learned, but that’s also why I’m procrastinating. I need to find some words (very soon) to write an 1800 word paper, due in 48 hours, responding to this prompt: Explain the story of the life of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospel of John, and compare it to either Matthew or Luke and how this might relate to ministry today.

I trust the words will come, but this first. Here goes….

Surprisingly (to me) each of the four Gospels share a unique portrayal of Jesus, his life, death, resurrection, and ultimate purpose of all of the above. Ninety percent of the content in the Gospel of John is not in the other three synoptic Gospels. Who knew?

It’s hard to capture the diversity of the Gospels with just daily readings and/or what one hears on Sunday mornings. The Jesus that is portrayed in the Gospel of John parallels some of the Wisdom speeches in the Hebrew Bible.

This is where the aha (!) moment comes in.  As I read through the selections from Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Wisdom of Solomon, I am overwhelmed by how much Wisdom, the Spirit of God, does for me:

Wisdom

Wisdom searches the streets for those willing to receive her.  ~  Wisdom lifts her voice, cries out, stands at the crossroads, calls, appeals, speaks clearly, bestows, shows the way, fashions, plays, delights, covers, decrees, remains, takes root among the people, loves what is good and guides.  ~  Wisdom has ability, understanding, power.   ~    Wisdom makes all things new, enters into holy souls and labors at our side.  ~  Wisdom is intelligent, holy, unique, made up of many parts, subtle, free-moving, lucid, spotless, clear, invulnerable, kindly towards men, all-powerful, all-surveying.  ~   Wisdom is the brightness that streams from everlasting light, the flawless mirror of the active power of God and the image of his goodness.   ~   Wisdom permeates all intelligent, pure and delicate spirits.

And this is what Wisdom desires from me:

Listen! Love me. Search me. Keep my ways. Come to me. Eat your fill of my fruit. Feed on me. Drink from me.

Wow. God does so much for me. And asks so little.

While on retreat this summer, the spiritual director that I met with daily asked me to reflect on what God is responsible for or in control of versus what I am responsible for or in control of. As I reflected on each of my thoughts and actions throughout the day, I created this list:

god is in control

At the end of the day, it was apparent to me that very little is in my control and that very much comes from God.

God, or Spirit, is the very breath of life. I am always and forever dependent on the gift of each moment. And I am always and forever responsible for my reaction to this great gift.

God is the creator and great mover of all. My response to this is to be authentic, prayerful, grateful, committed, attentive, and discerning.  I am responsible for my actions, thoughts, and response to God and others.

I am not in control and never have been. If ever things felt “under control” or to my liking, it was just the way it happened to be, not because I had commanded it. It is a freedom to know that I don’t cause order or chaos. My role, what I am called to do, is to listen to, search for and follow God.  The Spirit of God proclaims, “Those who love me I love, and those who search for me find me .” -Proverbs 8:17

find me

God does so much and asks so little.

“Wisdom is both the means by which God creates and the channel through whom he communicates to humankind.”  -The New Testament, Stephen L. Harris

Note: This post is about 800 words so I’m hopeful that I can crank this paper out in a few days. 

Sneak-a-peak at Luke vs. John: An 1800ish word paper

Follow the Star: For the Directionally Challenged

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?  For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” ~Matthew 2:2We are kings and queens

For the past four months we have lived off the radar, so to speak.

We live in the city, but we can see the city limits boundary from our backyard. There are empty lots behind us, next to us and across the street. Our address is finally recognized by the U.S. Postal Service, but is not listed on Google Maps or detectable by other forms of GPS.

For the first four weeks at our new address, the local cable company claimed there were no lines laid in our neighborhood to connect us to internet and television services (much to the disappointment of my sports-loving husband.) When people have come to visit us, we need to provide them directions, not just our street advice. No Google maps, no Siri will find us; just good, old-fashioned directions. “Head south on ___street.  Go three more blocks until you reach ___street. Turn right. Go to ____ street, and turn left.”

This hasn’t been an easy task for visitors to our new house. We’ve received phone calls from lost friends and have had some late arrivals. We really have no idea how long we will be technologically unlocate-able, but we kind of enjoy being out in the boonies. (Picture of old barn less than 1/4 mile away from our house)

DSC_0699a.jpg

So, who has had the most difficulty finding us, you ask?  The answer: the directionally challenged and/or people 30 years old and younger, the Millenial generation.

So many people have become accustomed to using GPS to navigate, not just on trips to unfamiliar destinations, but the cities where they reside as well. I love young people (I teach them; I have one…a daughter), but they just don’t know their directions very well, having relied heavily on technology to navigate from one place to the next.

GPS has become a crutch….perhaps a tool that is used instead of problem-solving for oneself or following one’s natural sense of direction. Getting turned around in a neighborhood can be a brain-teaser without knowing which way is north, south, east or west; what direction you came from; and what direction you need to be going. Relying on GPS precludes the possibility of finding a short cut or a more scenic drive. Sometimes we just need to make decisions about what the best route is on our own, without advice from GPS.

What if you were told to just follow a star to get where you were going?

epiphany1“Follow the star” was the only direction given to the Magi seeking the Christ-child over 2000 years ago. They didn’t have a road map and they certainly didn’t have GPS. But sometimes that’s all you need—just a general idea of where you are headed, especially when you are aware of being guided by something Greater. They watched and listened and followed the Light… and they found Jesus. When they were headed back home, the Magi were instructed to return by another route. They learned new information that could help them on their return journey.

“They listened to a voice deep within, which led them to follow that light. The star guided them, until they found the King of the Jews in a humble dwelling in Bethlehem.”~Pope Francis, January 6, 2016

Perhaps this is the only road map or GPS we need—follow the Light, listen, watch, rely on the Divine to give you cues, clues and the guidance to end up right where you belong. And every now and then, take a different route.

Things to ponder: What or who do you listen to for direction in life? What or who is the “star” you are seeking?  Are you following the Light?

Happy Epiphany and continued Christmas Blessings!

“…go to Bethlehem, to find the Child and his Mother. Let us follow the light which God offers us!”~Pope Francis, January 6, 2016

The Creators Hand

Cards made during Christmas and Epiphany seasons, 2015

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