Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Story of Our Lives

An Inkling
For some stories once is enough.  For others we keep coming back.  I know my daughters must have read or watched Anne of Green Gables a dozen times.  As a child Sarah did the same with Gone With the Wind.  While I didn’t re-read stories, I read all of the Civil War books I could get my hands on – and amazingly the story turned out the same every time!
Something more is happening with our “returning stories” than merely hearing again.  We already know the story, so it’s not about suspense.  Rather, our encounter becomes a dialogue, a way to live into that place and time, and to bring that place and time into our own stories.  Even as our own stories are still being written, the characters of these favorite stories become our companions and foils.
I’m always struck by the eagerness with which people receive the Christmas and Easter stories.  People in those jam-packed worship services listen so intently as the story is read.  And it’s not as if there is any doubt about how the story will turn out!  Yet we come to hear again, and we leave satisfied.
While there are many fine stories worthy of repeated readings, God’s story above all others has the capacity to enter our own story with comment, encourage­ment, direction, and truth.  We come to God’s story in the scripture again and again, not because we don’t know how his story turns out, but because we don’t know how our story turns out.  Our hope is that if he can tell the scripture story like that, then he can make our story a prize winner too.  And so he does, making us a part of the greatest story ever told!
Read on!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Best Used As Directed

An Inkling

I love that video!  It reminds me of my own misadventures, when I imagined that I already knew what I needed to know without a glance at the owner’s manual.  I only wish that my misadventures were confined to purchased products!
Hang around the church for a while and you’ll hear the scripture compared to an owner’s manual.  It’s an apt comparison.  While the scripture is more than an owner’s manual, it’s certainly not less. 
In the scripture our creator tells us where the buttons are, how they work, and what it’s best not to do with this human life.  We can ignore such wisdom, imagining that “where the buttons are” for love, marriage, gendered life, parenting, etc, don’t apply to us, or are subject to our redesign.  But in the end such adventures are shown for the misadventures they are by some sort of dishwasher reality check.
Gratefully the owner’s manual also describes our creator as ever able to restore and renew us.  Such is the grace given through Jesus – even after the dishwasher! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

As the Pieces Come Together

An Inkling
Have you noticed?  When the Lord gives a direction, he rarely lays out full course of the  journey, with each step described.  But once you start moving, he directs and provides.  The guidance and the necessary pieces start coming together.
In my world, the latest study in this part of God’s faithfulness has come with the Session’s decision to move our contemporary service from the sanctuary to the fellowship hall.  That may sound like a fairly simple matter, but as I began making a list of the “to do’s” necessary to bring it off, that list soon ran off the page.  And a good many of its items were marked with question marks – as in, “how can we possibly get this done?” 
Yet already the Lord is providing – an idea for how to make projection work, a provision for our software to be used on a different computer, a ready handy man who can do some electrical work, an artist who can help re-cast our space, and on and on.  Each day several more pieces fall into place.
The joys of the journey are many – good company, new sights, surprising turns.  But near the top of the list has to be the thrill of observing how God provides.  The mnemonic I once heard is, “what God guides he provides.”  That is true all of the time, but it becomes especially apparent when we step out in a new direction.
In what direction is God sending you?  How is he providing?  Watch and marvel!