Thursday, March 30, 2017

If Man Were Only Mind...

If man were only mind, worship in thought would be the form in which to commune with God.  But man is body and soul, and his goal is so to live that both "his heart and his flesh should sing to God."
     -Abraham Joshua Heschel 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Aware of God’s Presence

I awoke this morning in Southeast Asia to a predawn monsoon downpour.  As I sat in the dark under the canvas canopy thanking God for this protection from the flood and wondered what I would do on this soggy day a line from Nadia Boltz-Weber’s book Pastrix came to mind.

She tells the story of how early in her ministry training she was assigned chaplain service in a local hospital.  The first day she is sent to an ER Trauma Room where “all hell is breaking loose” as a team of doctors, nurses, and various other workers frantically try to save the life that is bleeding out on the table.  Frustrated by her helplessness, she asked an ER nurse what she can do to help.  The nurse replies, “Your job is to stand here and be aware of God’s presence in this room.”

Boltz-Weber’s task at the moment was not to do anything–not even to pray for the patient or the ER staff so desperately working to save this life.  Her job was to simply “stand here and be aware of God’s presence in this room.”

The Holy Spirit whispered this line into my ear and confirmed in my spirit that my job today is to just be here and be aware of God’s presence in this place.  God’s presence in the darkness and rain earlier this morning.  God’s presence now in the dawn and the doves cooing nearby.  God’s presence in the sparrows which he clothes and feeds.  And, of course, God’s presence for these warm, welcoming Burmese people.  God is here although 99.67% are oblivious of his presence and his love for them, for me, for all of humanity. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Conjugating Verbs

We mostly spend (our) lives conjugating three verbs: to Want, to Have, and to Do.  Craving, clutching, and fussing, on the material, political, social, emotional, intellectual-even on the religious-plane, we are kept in perpetual unrest: forgetting that none of these verbs have any ultimate significance, except so far as they are transcended by and included in, the fundamental verb, to Be: and that Being, not wanting, having and doing, is the essence of a spiritual life.
     -Evelyn Underhill in The Spiritual Life 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Feeding the Multitudes of Unreached

“Where will we buy bread so these people can eat?”
      -Jesus in John 6:5

Early on this last day of Gospel literature distribution in Southeast Asia the Holy Spirit has drawn me to chapter 6 of the Gospel of John.  My soul resonates with Andrew in this story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.  I personally have nothing to offer the multitudes of unreached I’ve seen all around me this week. But, like Andrew doubtfully presenting the boy’s sack lunch to feed 5,000, I’m here offering what our XMA suuporters have given, asking the Lord to bless it and multiply it.  I can’t see how this one backpack full of God’s Word can feed the 91,000,000 unreached in this country.  Like Andrew I question, “What are they for so many?”  

Yet, I have experienced time and again how when we offer our resources and ourselves to God he feeds the multitudes and we have more left over than when we began.  In faith we believe God will not let his Word return empty.

“For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return there
without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout,
and providing seed to sow
and food to eat,
so My word that comes from My mouth
will not return to Me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do.”
     -Isaiah 55:10-11