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Seek Him out, settle into rest

by davesandel on May 7th, 2021

Friday, May 7, 2021                (today’s lectionary)

Seek Him out, settle into rest

I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. Instead I call you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.

In The Life of Moses James Montgomery Boice says Moses was determined to seek Him out. God was not going to get away from Moses, not if Moses could help it. Seek Him out. Never stop.

Jesus sought his Father. Moses sought his Father. Ruth sought her Father. For half his life, and then again, David sought his Father. Jeremiah said, “You seduced me, Father, and I was seduced.” Isaiah lamented as he was sought and then was found, “Woe is me, I am undone.” In no case did any of these men and women of God forgo their faith, or stop seeking Him out.

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.

Most of the time I am torn in ten directions. But these are not circumstantial trials; it’s in my blood, my Protestant work ethic farmer blood. Can I recognize the difference between the urgent and the important, and put my energy just where it needs to be every moment of every day? Just asking. Course that’s a standard not one of us would reach, it’s not even the right way to look at life. How can I know? It’s God that knows. Listen to Her.

Your mercy towers to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the skies. Be exalted above the heavens, O God; above all the earth be your glory. I will give you thanks among the peoples.

And here is the rest of the Moses aphorism … seek Him out … and settle into rest. Seek Him out, and settle into rest. Abandon myself to the rest of deep breathing, conscious slow exhalations, settling down from the top of my head, through my face and neck into my shoulders. Breathe once more and settle down inside my heart and lungs and digestion. Rest. My body will work with me, if I give it time.

My heart is steadfast, O God; my heart is steadfast. I will sing and chant praise. Awake, o my soul!

And as I continue descending through my body, settle my hips, settle my legs and ankles and my feet. All right down through everything you have given, Lord, all my parts that though they might be wearing out, they still carry your mark, created with joy and satisfaction and bestowed on me for a lifetime of use.

Of course I second guess everything, especially my own devotion. In The Morning Watch, James Agee as a young penitent at a backwoods Catholic school in Tennessee, shows me how to do that.

How can you say things when you only ought to mean them, and don’t really mean them at all?

Richard, Agee’s alter ego, is increasingly desperate to find ways to scourge his soul into sincerity. He imagines his own crucifixion, but soon he is aghast at his self-righteous pride, as he looks down in pity and agony at his school tormentors and then, even, at his loving mother. His scrupulosity captures him, but then condemns him.

Not so much, this awful self-created way of flagellation. But settling into rest does somehow mean seeking after Him first, middle and last. My prayers, whether self-conscious or not, never end. Show me, Lord, how to seek you.

It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place upon you any burden beyond the necessities.

(Acts 15, Psalm 57, John 15)

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