Archive for February, 2013


Waiting

The Awkward Season

I did it!  I managed to fail on day 2 of Lent.  I’m glad I serve a God who loves and forgives.  While I had some wonderful thoughts about yesterdays devotional, I want to stick with today (friday 2-15).  The frist words I read from today’s devotion are from the Psalmist.  What were those first 4 words?  “Wait for the Lord!”  Great!  That’s what I need today (sarcasm button).  I mean, come on…This is the Lenten season and I know it’s about preparation, but “waiting” isn’t something I really have time to do.  I would suppose you may feel the same way.  It’s not that I don’t want to wait, I simply don’t have time.  There are far to many things that need done and now that I’ve added a commitment to blog during Lent, I have even less time.  I know, it’s not really making sense in my head either, but I digress.  I do have a somewhat new perspective on waiting that I would like to share with you. 

Today’s scripture is 1 Peter 3:18-22.  Vs 20 really spoke to me. “God patiently waited during the time of Noah.”  God could have done anything to make things move along faster, but chose to allow Noah and his family to do the right thing and God…”waited.”  And how many did God wait for?  Eight!  Yes, just eight!  Hardly seems worth it doesn’t it?  I mean maybe you wait that long for an entire community, but for one small family?!  God is truly amazing. 

Then I discovered something else.  As I was praying for the different areas in the devotional, which all have to do with waiting, I received a text message.  Typically during my prayer time I would not even look at it.  I can’t tell you the reason, but I automatically stopped praying to look at the message.  God was slapping me in the face.  The message was from a woman who was updating me on her husbands recent organ transplant.  I have visited with this family a few times in the hospital and talked with them on the phone, at church, etc.  I watched a healthy man become so ill that I honestly wasn’t sure how long he would be with us.  Because of this particular organ failure, other organs were failing, which is awful to say the least.  I’m not a doctor, but common sense says we didn’t have much time.  She had updated me on a particular evening and I was praying and worrying, as were many others.  Just two days later I received a txt message in the middle of the night saying that an organ was on its way and the procedure would be starting soon. 

That all transpired a couple of weeks ago and ever so slowly things have improved.  As I read that txt message moments ago, I couldn’t help but feel almost ashamed at my “huridness” of life.  It wasn’t so much the idea of how life goes by so fast, although I seem to be reminded of that daily.  This was different.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that the family shared the issues that were taking place with the organ and how bad things were getting.  In fact, I have noted that it seemed like just a couple of weeks ago, we were hearing the news of the illness that had just been discovered.  Well, for the family, the last several months have been anything but fast!  They have waited…for medication to ease the pain…for blood transfusions to sustain brain function and other organs…for doctors to determine what could be done…for hospitals to dismiss them from another several day stay in the hospital knowing it would only be a short time until their return due to complications…for the hope of finally being put on the transplant list…for the first possible transplant that wasn’t able be done after being prepped and ready for surgery…for a new transplant with hopes that other organs would also begin to work…for the fog of being unconscious to finally lift…for eyes to open…for audible responses…for someone to say, it’s going to be ok!

That’s waiting!  God waits for me constantly.  The only logical thing to do is to “Wait on the Lord” and give glory to God for God’s steadfast love.  So, Lord, I’ll wait.

Grace and Peace

Chuck

Ash Wednesday-Clearing

The Awkward Season

I have started day one of “The Awkward Season-Prayers for Lent” by Pamela C. Hawkins today.  As you may have read, this is part of my Lenten commitment; to post each day on my reflections/meditations/readings, etc. 

Today began with a familiar passage from Psalm 51…”Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”  Clean is an interesting word.  I know there have been times when we say, the house needs cleaned when really the house just needs “picked up.”  It isn’t necessarily dirty, but cluttered.  On the other hand, there are times when “CLEAN” is certainly the correct word for the actions needed.  I cannot argue with the fact that I needed cleaned and de-cluttered!

I could spend more time on the “clean” issue, but there is something weighing on me today that is much heavier.  You may read it and think it’s trivial, but nonetheless it is something I have struggled with for some time.  Today’s scripture reading (The Awkward Season) comes from Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.  The summary of this scripture is to not be “showy” with your faith.  Pray in your room and not whaling in public so everyone knows you are praying…clean yourself up when you are fasting so everyone doesn’t know you are fasting…you get it.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a fan of the ashes on Ash Wednesday.  I embrace the importance of the season and the time to begin a serious time of reflection for the preparation of Resurrection Sunday.  I argue that many of us have lost the preparation side of this season and want to get right to the celebration of Easter.  So, it is not the worship of Ash Wednesday, the meaning of Ash Wednesday or even the call the remembrance of our mortality that I take issue.  If you read the scripture, you may be able to conclude for yourself my issue.  I take issue with the ashes themselves.  If we are not to be “showy” about our faith, what exactly are the ashes for?  I am not saying they are for show so that others may “know we are Christians by our (ashes)” or anything like that.  It is for our reminder that we use the ashes.  I can appreciate reminders as I live and die by them, but in this case I have a difficult time having ashes on my forehead as my reminder.  Honestly, it seems to resemble some folks talked about in that Matthew scripture from above.

I have a colleague who does not like that I wear a clerics collar occasionally.  I don’t wear it all the time, but occasionally I will and the comment is usually something about being “showy” that I am clergy.  I do not see it that way, but I do respect his/her opinion for thinking that.  I do not see wearing a stole on Sunday morning as being “showy” either, but one could argue that case as well.  I have the title “pastor” on my name tag that I wear on Sunday mornings, but I don’t see that as being “showy.” 

The list goes on and on.  I’m sure you could think of several things that could appear showy in faith and yet are not.  Yes, this is my “issue” and one that I must reconcile is some fashion.  I may never be overly comfortable with the ashes of Ash Wednesday, but that will not keep me from the practice and allowing others to take part in this meaningful worship setting.  After all it’s once a year and I’m quite certain I can handle it that often.

Grace and Peace,

Chuck

The Awkward Season

Yes, it has been a great while since my last post.  I have no excuses to give except my own laziness, I suppose. 

I was asked recently what I would be giving up for Lent.  I hadn’t really thought about it to be honest.  In fact, I decided that I would not be “giving up” anything.  Instead, I have decided to take on something a bit new.  Recently I purchased a wonderful prayer book/devotional entitled, “The Awkward Season-Prayers for Lent” by Pamela C. Hawkins.  For Lent I will be working through this prayer/devotion/meditation book.  I have also decided to add an element to my commitment for Lent.  I have been journaling off and on for some time (more off than on) and have decided to make the committment to actually journal every day for Lent.  Moreover, I have also committed to sharing some of my thoughts and/or discoveries here.  It is my hope that this will help me stay focused and help me keep my commitment to journaling through Lent.  I figure that after 40 days (plus Sundays) it should actually be a habit by then!

May this Lenten season be a time of reflection, prayer, meditation, fasting…a time of becoming closer with the one who most desires a close relationship with us.

Peace,

Chuck