I sit here in a local coffee shop with my headphones plugged into my computer to help drown out the noise that surrounds me.
A more mature couple is sitting a table over from me enjoying lunch and the presence of one another.
Another young lady sits by herself playing on her IPad and waiting on her meal.
The table beside me is filled with a men, a young adult, a priest and two older gentlemen. The conversation is hard not to hear; not to be a part of to some degree. I want my music to quiet them, I want my words to flow upon the page that I am trying to capture as I write my sermon but something is happening that is pulling me into their conversation.
A wandering is rising within me. A questioning is forming and my head can barely concentrate on the words that are meant to be for my congregation on Sunday morning. What is this wandering; why can I not stay focused on what is before me and the reality that I have a task before me?
I cannot stay focused because these men beside me are talking about the very thing that I am trying to convey to the people entrusted into my care. They are talking about spirituality, they are talking about the very God that I am trying to speak about, they are discussing God in such a way that God sounds like a far off professor that is merely waiting for us to regurgitate the right words and actions back so that we might pass an exam. These men are using lofty terms to speak about God because surely that must mean that they have a greater or deeper insight and can explain the very actions of God. The conversation beside me is making me uncomfortable.
I do not want to serve a God in which I merely have to do all the right things (offer my burnt offerings, calf,firstborn, or even a thousand rams; or where I merely have to bow my head is exaltation.Micah 6). There has to be more than just doing the right things; having the right words; and living in the right actions....there has to be more. There has to be something deeper than just going through the motions or saying the right words.
God, I believe that you love me; you love this world deeper than rightness but that you love us for the fire that burns within us and the incense that rises not out of duty but out of a sense of tending to and caring for others; showing a way that leads one to a life of belonging. A rising of incense that says to the world that we have found our peace, we can be unified as children of God. I want a way of walking not to gain bragging rights or a larger purse for my earthly treasure but one that is willing to empty itself on the behalf of others. I want to walk in humbleness that says my success is not just mine but is that of the very one that created me.
Oh gracious and holy Lord, I am sorry for the rightness that I step into when I seek to call attention to myself for all the good that I am doing. I bow my head is sorrow that I want to compare. I bend my knee for the times that I want others to look to me for answers and directions. I want to set down the measures of the world to address the injustices in this crazy world, to love in such a way that endures even when the journey is difficult or calls me beyond myself, to lean into your presence with adoration and humbleness that lets you know that I am real...I am in this life that you have called me to. Thank you for coming to speak in honesty and truthfulness. Thank you for calling me to a deeper awareness of my own shortcomings and judgmental thoughts. I too must do this life differently.
Where is God leaning in and asking you to act on the behalf of others, do love even when you want to walk away or are weary, and to lean into his glory over your own?