Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Peace of Office Suppy Stores

Scripture: John 14
I love walking through office supply stores. The organization of the store and all the products designed to aid us in being more organized gets my blood pumping. The binders, fancy organizers, clips and even the people with the headsets on seem efficient. Perhaps my favorite part is sitting at the clean desks that have almost nothing on them and dreaming that one day my desk will emulate this.  When I walk out of the doors of the store, I feel inspired to organize.
Once, I was enthused enough to purchase the massive book How to Organize Everything by Peter Walsh. And for at least a day or two, I was motivated enough to tackle my half organized desk.
I'm not sure about you, but when my desk is cluttered I feel cluttered. When my desk is organized I feel more organized.    
Office supply stores are all in ordered with clearly marked aisles labeled to guide us to the proper place. Within the aisles there are more categories and segments. While a few pencils might be in the wrong place, they can be fairly easily identified.
The reality is life is more like my scattered desk than an office supply store. Life rarely meets us with problems that can be solved by going to a designated aisle or that people in headsets can give a quick word of guidance.
Thankfully, Jesus promises us His peace which goes deeper than the messiness of this world. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid."  John 14:27. Jesus' peace won't suddenly help us become organized or fix all our problems, but is right there with us. Jesus gives and gives and gives. Only here, can we have an abiding peace that is deeper than an organized desk.
Where do you need Jesus to speak a word of peace for you? How is the peace Jesus offers different than the world gives?

Friday, October 7, 2011

We like deer hide...

Scripture: Psalm 27
I got to watch dear one evening at the monastery and I wondered if we are like dear towards God. I watched as the dear slowly came out of the forest. They came silently and with one eye on me and every other passer-by. Though I meant no harm to the dear, I am a strange and fearful creature from their perspective (and perhaps many people as well!). Though God means only good for us, He too is strange and often a fearful creature since He is so far beyond us in terms of holiness and sovereignty. Just as the dear hide in the forest, so too do we hide from God, thinking it for our own protection. So we flirt with God. The God who is always watching and waiting for us to leave the fears of our forest that He might catch a glimpse of us. And in so doing, if we dare move from our false security in our forest and risk moving across the open fields, we would bring Him joy and begin to taste of true joy and security.
Verse 14 of Psalm 27 implores us twice to "wait for the Lord." This verse also connects waiting to courage and strength. It takes true courage and strength to wait on God instead of reacting and emotional attacking that only serves to make us feel better in the moment. Though we might feel as though God is hiding from us, is often hard to see through forest we make or perhaps God is calling us to new pasture that we're unfamiliar with. Only through courage, strength, and waiting will we find that we are in fact being hidden with God in Christ and that only there is the firm foundation we need (v. 5).
How do you see waiting and strength going together? Have these seemed like opposites for you in the past?
What would it look like for you to wait on the Lord instead of reacting when you are frustrated or impatient?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Each Moment is Full of Possibility for...

Scripture: Revelation 1:4-8
Each moment is full of possibility. Possibility for… Well that part is largely up to us. If Contemplation is an awakening to God's reality in our world as we have explored, then each moments carries within it, as Merton observes the "germs of spiritual vitality" or the "seeds of contemplation." The question is, are we awake enough to comprehend it or prepared to notice it? While the possibilities are endless of what God could be up to in each moment, we are usually unaware of this reality. For these germs or seeds will pass us by unless they meet with the soil of love, and openness, and compassion, and those whose soil has been properly tilled. Silence, Solitude, Prayer, Reading Scripture, Worship, Acts of Generosity – these and other disciplines are just some of the ways we ready ourselves for what God is doing around us.
The reality is we will probably miss so many possibilities of potentiality today because our noisy world is too distracted to notice. It is not that proof for God isn't evident; it is too often that we are looking in the wrong places, with the wrong motivations, and without the eyes to comprehend it.
I have noticed that people love to use the world 'surreal' to describe almost every occasion. I wonder if that might be because we're so busy going from one event to another, we're never truly present in the present. When we're reminiscing it can be fun or shameful. When we're forecasting what is to come it can be exciting or fearful. What we have though, is this moment which, because of the God who is, was, and is to come, is so full of possibilities. What will we do with it?
Are you prone to reminisce about the nostalgic past or daydream about future possibilities at the experience of the present? What would help you be more present to others and to God?
What might be some other reasons we fail to be fully present?
What helps you to be present and awake?