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How do I catch the wave when I’m waiting for God?

by davesandel on November 9th, 2021

Tuesday, November 9, 2021                                  (today’s lectionary)

Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome

How do I catch the wave when I’m waiting for God?

Wherever this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow, and their leaves shall not fade nor their fruit fail.

In The Prophetic Imagination Walter Brueggemann points out the remarkable gift God gives his exiles, past and present. God promises that as we wait on him, we “shall mount up with wings like eagles, run and not be weary, walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). But since this is God’s gift we must not get in front of him.

For those who take initiative in their own hands, either in the atheism of pride or in the atheism of despair, the words are weary, faint, and exhausted. The inverse comes with waiting: renewed strength, mounting up, running, and walking. But that is in waiting. It is in receiving and not grasping, in inheriting and not possessing, in praising and not seizing. It is in knowing that initiative has passed from our hands and we are safer for it. (page 78)

Just now my computer crashed and I lost the devotion I was writing for today. Distracted with buying a birthday gift for Miles, choosing a secret Santa gift, watching the Bears get killed by the Steelers, and looking for these quotes in my Brueggemann highlights, I was undone. But now those quotes suddenly become all about me, too. My focus depends on waiting, on stillness, settling in, breathing deep and noticing how God leads. Here I am writing again. Will I lose my words this time too? This is a tricky thing, waiting on God. Brueggemann again:

The newness from God is the only serious source of energy. But I am aware that this runs dangerously close to passivity, as trust often does, and that it stands at the brink of cheap grace, as grace must always do. But that risk MUST BE RUN because exiles must always learn that our hope is never generated among us but always given to us. And whenever it is given we are amazed.

Jasper accompanied us on our journeys today, and as is usual with him, they became adventures. In our local Mexican grocery, Margaret walked Jasper along a nearly endless row of refrigerated racks of every possible cut of meat from cows, pigs and sheep. At the Salvation Army we found a black bear paddling a canoe, with one lost clay ear. We also found a Melissa & Doug workbench, just the right height for both the boys. You never know what you’ll find out there in Adventureland.

We did have to change a diaper in the back of our Prius. Jasper did fall asleep in his car seat on the way home. But who are we to sweat the small stuff?

You are God’s building. Like a wise master I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But no one can lay a foundation other than the one laid by Jesus.

Earlier, Jasper hammered and nailed and screwed into his wood, while I put new picture shelves on the wall. We found five cool Ikea shelves in unopened packages sitting in our dumpster, thrown away. We gathered them right back in. They are beautiful.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? The temple of God, which you are, is holy.

After our naps, Jasper and I made two sunny side up eggs in a small pan. Then we squirted beads of ketchup below the yolks. Our plate had lovely yellow eyes, a cute nose, and a kind of smeared mouth. Jasper said he wanted eggs for a snack, but mostly he ate the ketchup and I ate the eggs. All of us are learning to eat healthier. And don’t forget that ketchup has been labeled a vegetable by none other than the US Food and Drug Folks.

Jesus told the rulers and scribes, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”

Of course his listeners were confounded.

But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his Body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this and believed.

Jesus has much to say about the joy and hope of the new Kingdom of God, rising up as the temple is destroyed. This matters to me personally, as it does to all of us as our bodies wear out, as we remember more than we create memories, as we slowly pass … away. Brueggemann describes how God lives among us as we fail:

The hope we speak is rooted in the assurance that God does not quit even when the evidence warrants his quitting, in God’s ability to utilize even the folly of Israel: Cain, the murderer of a brother, being marked protectively; the chaos of royal disarray resolved in praise; rejected Joseph observing to his brother that in all things God works for good; Solomon, very Solomon, born in love to this shabby royal couple – and out of that comes a word that contradicts the exile. (page 67)

Besides so much more, Jesus is “the poet who engages in the kind of guerrilla warfare that is always necessary on behalf of oppressed people. Because the Big House yields no real life, need not be feared, cannot be trusted, and must not be honored.” (page 73)

Jasper and Miles are just beginning their lives. Frequent temptation to pride and despair awaits them. But God will be there in all of it, use it for their benefit, and lift them up along the way.

(Ezekiel 47, Psalm 46, 1 Corinthians 3, 2 Chronicles 7, John 2)

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