Posts Tagged ‘waiting’

Waiting In Silence

January 11, 2017

For God alone, my soul waits in silence. — Psalm 62:1 and 62:5

Two things are difficult–waiting and silence.

Try doing them at the same time. It’s enough to drive the modern person to drink.

Hermann Hesse was called the first modern writer. His characters might have lived alone, but they needed noise. For example, the first thing the main character of Steppenwolf did when he entered his apartment was turn on the radio. He needed noise as a distraction.

Imagine Hesse writing today. Constant distraction. Does that smart phone ever leave your hand? Some people wear their Apple Watch or FitBit to bed. I wonder if the alerts wake them constantly.

We end a Yoga class lying on our backs on our mats in meditation usually called “Final Relaxation.” I’ve been teaching for years. I’ve seen many people who can settle into deep relaxation for those six precious minutes. Others fidget so much I fear they will wear out their mats.

A psychologist instructed a patient to go home, find a quiet place where he could be alone, and just spend an hour a day quietly by himself.

At the next session, the psychologist asked how it went. “Oh, I played around with my violin some. Picked up a book and read.”

“No,” the psychologist said, “I want you to sit quietly by yourself. Doing nothing. Not planning tomorrow. Just waiting quietly.” The man could not bear to be with himself. No wonder the family couldn’t bear to be with him either.

Waiting?

How will you hear God’s whispers or feel his nudges if you are noisy, distracted, and busy? 

Your soul needs to be fed. It likes silently waiting for God.

Do The Same Thing, Expect Different Results

December 11, 2014

Doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.
Definition of insanity

A couple of people, maybe more, have entered my life over the past couple of years. They are not encountering the kind of success that they wish for. Yet, they don’t want to change what they are doing.

I sit in my chair reading Scripture and meditating in the morning. The Christmas tree is lit. It’s the same tree as the last many years. It’s a beautifully decorated tree (thanks to my wife, not me). And I’m meditating on why don’t I feel the “Christmas spirit” around me?

Some people are putting up lights. But as I go to the store and hang out at Starbucks, I hear little of “Merry Christmas.”

The economy is good, overall. Yet, people don’t seem as joyful as I remember in the past. Church seems to be going through the motions of the same stuff. Routine.

Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

We need the assurances of traditions (watching “Christmas Vacation” which we have not even done yet this year!), yet we need to bring in new traditions. New ways of building the anticipation.

We know the end of the story. But every story has a beginning. This one is how God revealed himself to the world. A bigger story than Moses. That story led to the Law–which didn’t work. This story leads to the resurrection. That changed everything. We have no Advent without resurrection.

For some reason, I’m in two small groups studying Romans. I’m afraid I might start speaking Latin again. Why Romans? “By faith you are saved through grace.”

Part of this faith is reliving the amazing way that God revealed himself to the world. Totally unexpected. Well, many people were praying and watching for the glory of the Lord to appear. They just didn’t expect the type of Messiah that Jesus was. But it was all so amazing.

Maybe spreading that joy begins with each of us! Merry Christmas.

My Eyes Have Seen The Glory

December 10, 2014

β€œfor my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”

Luke 2

When did old people cease being wise? Or did they?

Simeon was an old guy. He was devout. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He was one of the group of Jews at the time who longed for God to reveal His glory just like He did to Moses and Joshua, just like His glory filled the Temple that Solomon built.

My bet is that he went up to the Temple (which was not filled with the glory of God) daily to pray and watch.

One day he saw that for which he’d been waiting his entire life. Joseph and Mary brought a baby to the Temple for dedication, since he was the firstborn son.

He said he could now die in peace for he had finally seen the salvation, the glory of God.

Through Jesus, the Jewish hope of the glory of God visiting them again was fulfilled. Through Jesus, Gentiles who probably never had heard of the One God, YHWH, who was the creator of the universe, would now see that God.

Today, as in every generation since, we grow up hoping for the glory and salvation of God to visit us.

In Advent, we re-create the waiting of Simeon. Hoping to see the coming of that light, that glory of God. This re-creating of images and stories is how we learn and experience God. Old people are often the bearers of those stories. Listen to them.

How Much Are You Paid To Watch TV?

December 9, 2014

How much are you paid to watch TV?

How much TV do you watch? Do you watch to learn anything? Or do you watch to pass the time and deaden the mind?

I just read that quote in a book yesterday afternoon. Then I came home and settled in to turn on the NFL football game and do some proofreading. Next thing I knew, it was time to go to bed. TV does that to me.

If I am supposed to be waiting in anticipation during advent, then watching TV is a lot like the five foolish maids at the wedding who went to sleep and let their lamps burn out before the wedding party arrived. They were not prepared.

My wife has her morning ritual of eating breakfast while watching a recorded episode of The Chew. I guess that there is TV watching that is OK.

I’d watch why I turn on the TV, though. Am I diverting my attention just to escape what I should be doing?

I used to go down to the family room to watch one episode of a comedy then return to my chair to read. I discovered that my mind was dead. It took quite some time to get my mind back in focus.

My advent wish for you is that you can be intentional about TV watching and other habits that distract us from our preparation and waiting mindfully.

Finding One In Which To Trust

December 8, 2014

I was “acting secretary” for a meeting yesterday as the committee was considering revision of several policies. There was a proposed revision. The committee discussed the proposal and achieved consensus.

The changes written in a Microsoft Word document were saved to one of those USB data sticks. Sometimes called “thumb drives,” these ubiquitous little devices are used for storing and sharing data.

I saved everything on the stick. Removed it and put it in my computer so that I could clean up the draft and prepare for publishing on our Website.

My computer didn’t recognize a drive. Jeff’s computer didn’t recognize the drive. Ken’s computer didn’t recognize the drive. The drive had failed.

We trusted that little thing. It failed us at a crucial moment.

There were two aged prophets at the time we label as about 3 BCE. Simeon and Anna hung out at the Temple in Jerusalem.

You see, at that time God (YHWH) had not revealed himself in the Temple that Herod built like he had in the Temple that Solomon built.

Simeon and Anna…well, they were waiting to see God reveal himself again like he had in those days some 1,000 years before. They were convinced that God had told them that they would see His glory before they died.

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. At the time appointed by the Law several days later, Joseph and Mary took the baby to the Temple to be dedicated. Simeon and Anna saw the baby independently.

They each said that now they had seen the glory of the Lord revealed in that baby and now they could die in peace.

God could be trusted. Even after all those years. He chose Jesus as the way He would reveal Himself and His glory to the world.

God can still be trusted. He’s not a cheap data stick. He still works.

That’s part of Advent. Waiting to see the Glory of God revealed. That’s what we celebrate.

PS. By the way, I returned home and recreated the changes. I am a reporter by profession. It’s my job to remember important things. But there are people (well a wife) who remind me that my memory is not perfect like God πŸ˜‰

Spiritual Discipline of Waiting

December 4, 2014

Do you remember being a child at Christmas?

The entire month of December? The night before Christmas?

My wife’s family (according to her) would open one present on Christmas Eve just to get a jump on Christmas. She couldn’t wait. Still can’t.

Luke, writing in his gospel, tells the story of two people who, upon seeing the baby Jesus, saying that they had lived their entire lives waiting to see the Lord’s Redeemer. Now they could die peacefully.

Advent. We’re waiting. Patiently.

We know the “rest of the story.” Yet, we wait in anticipation. Perhaps the deep realization of the Lord’s redemption in us will pop into our hearts.

Maybe we can start living as a true disciple of Jesus–instead of just saying we are.

Maybe we can stop waiting to act out our words–instead of playing one-up with words.

Maybe we can stop waiting to actually live–and go forth and make disciples, heal the sick, stop injustice.

Beckett wrote about Waiting for Godot–and he never appeared. We live in faith that God will appear. In us.

Waiting is required. Then when waiting is over, it is time to go. We wait at a red traffic light watching for green. When the light changes, we go.

When the wait at Advent is over, then it’s time to go forth and make disciples of the entire world.