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Archive for January 4th, 2010

Monday’s Thoughts

Returning from a week of vacation I spent some time this Monday morning contemplating the quiet of my office.  On the one hand, I am so happy to be back at my desk, reading, thinking, praying, and relishing the quiet time that my work often affords me.  On the other hand, I miss my children.  I kissed them goodbye this morning with mixed emotions as they left with Dan for daycare.  Spending the week with them was wonderful, and joyful, and, more simply put, full….full of laughter and smiles, full of diaper changes, temper tantrums, and first attempts at potty training.  Full of “No’s”, and “Stop, please!” as well as full of sweet, sweet, “I love you’s.”  The week was full…full of family.  And now I return to a full week’s worth of work…of sermonizing, of preparing for officer training, and of pastoring.  It is good to be back.  It is also good to be full and to be filled.

This Sunday (Baptism of the Lord Sunday) we will ordain and install our new officers while renewing our baptismal vows.  In the past I have focused on the Gospel text of Jesus being baptized for this service.  But this year I’d like to do something different.  So I have begun reflecting on the Isaiah passage (Isaiah 43:1-7).  I wrote this passage out freehand in my giant, artsy sketchbook (a trick Anna Carter Florence taught me) and I uncovered a moment shared of genuine, honest love.  God, speaking to God’s people, shares words like I might share with my son, or my husband, in the dark room, right before bed, right after the good night kisses.  “You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you,” God says.  So intimate.  So close.  I can almost feel God’s breath on the cheek of God’s beloved….and wait, that’s me, I am God’s beloved.  You are God’s beloved.  We are all God’s beloved.  The commentaries stress how universal Isaiah’s description of God’s love is.  These words are addressed to Israel, to God’s people living in a dark and desolate time.  But these words are for all of us.

I am struck by how possessive God is in this passage.  “You are mine.”  And how protective, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”  These are all things I would like to promise to my children, but can’t…because I know I cannot protect them from everything.  So what does God mean when God promises these things?  We will not be overwhelmed?  We will not be burned or consumed?  Can God really promise this?  I have been overwhelmed.  I have been burned.  I have been consumed.  What are you really promising us, God?

I have more thoughts…but not enough time to write today.  I’m hoping tomorrow will bring more focus, perhaps the beginning of an outline???  That would be nice.

May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my mind, and the feelings of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Amen.

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