A Word about the Word-
“Have this attitude in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”
And what attitude is that, Paul?
“…he humbled himself…” [Philippians 2:5–11]
Andrew Murray, the nineteenth-century deep-thinking pastor, wrote a lot about humility. In both his classic work, Humility and Absolute Surrender, and his brief but strong Humility, Murray proposes that the most outstanding thing about Jesus is his humility. In applying the theme to the reader, Murray reminds us that life actually comes down to the struggle between pride and humility. In our “Rhythms” series, wherein the goal of our spiritual formation is Christlikeness, humility would seem to be a present focal point for us. Wouldn’t you agree?
Close to Home
Two important messages are emanating from the Trinity offices lately: We’d love for you to serve in an area of ministry (click here to find out more). And Sunday livestream worship is here to stay. Let me combine those two. We are looking to add people to our Worship Arts team who will run the sound for our livestream. Presently, upwards of 60% of our Sunday worshippers do so via livestream. For those doing Sunday church from home and, just as importantly, for those who are church “surfing,” our livestream has to be excellent! If this sounds like a ministry for you, please contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
The World as It Is
This will be one of the last Super Bowls that won’t have had a Cleveland Browns team in it (don’t you love my optimism?!). But Sunday’s NFL Classic will have Amanda Gorman, the young poet laureate who won so many hearts (including mine and Sue’s) at the Inauguration. Among the moving phrases she recited on that day at the Capitol, this one caught my ear (and heart):
“Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”
(A profound question to a nation wallowing in darkness and a pandemic stupor. Shade indeed.)
She read on:
“The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.”
Hmm…let me think on that last phrase a bit: quiet isn’t always peace. Since I am about to speak on silence and solitude this coming Sunday, her words give me pause. As I ponder in silence these days, my mind races to my mother-in-law who very recently lost her husband of nearly 73 years. How eerily quiet her life has become without her companion’s voice. I think of the 430,000 Americans who have died of COVID. There is deafening silence where they once lived. Schools with children laughing and churches with jubilant worshippers and offices with work-speak and small talk were all quite quiet for much of 2020. Quiet isn’t always peace.
Yet we know the One who fills the quiet with his presence and brings meaning to the silence.
Be still and know that I am God.
COVID fatigue is very much a thing! I miss going to see my kids. I’m tired of wearing a mask everywhere. Going to the movie theater and a Cavs game is a distant memory. No chit-chat in the socially distanced Heinen’s line. I miss hugging my mom. I miss planning trips and saying “yes” to out-of-country invitations. These physicians discuss the symptoms and give some practical advice on overcoming the stress and fatigue in living during this COVID-time.
A Final Thought
Be still and know that I am God. [Psalm 46:10 ESV]
Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God. [The Message]
Our God says, ‘Calm down, and learn that I am God!’ [CEV]
Cease striving and know that I am God. [Dallas Willard’s paraphrase]
Be still as the lake at Dawn
In a world that wakes to alarms and agendas:
Quietly rest so you can listen;
Breathe and open to your soul;
Wait patiently to receive what is to come,
Softly absorb the light as a looking glass.
Be still to know the I AM;
Let the “rush hour” pass by your silence:
The Voice whispers to create Life;
It swims and plays deep within you;
As holy feet step upon your waters
Heaven’s Face smiles upon you
—and out from you.
I’ll catch you on the other side.