Monday, March 8, 2010

Hearing God

While worshipping God largely through song and word yesterday, I thought of this quote from the marvellous Frederick Buechner:

"If I can't see you for some reason but can only hear you, you don't exist for me in space, which is where seeing happens, but in time, which is where hearing happens. Your words follow one after the other the way tock follows tick. When I have only the sound of you to go by, I don't experience you as an object the way I would if you stood before me--something that I can walk around, inspect from all angles, more or less define. I experience you more the way I experience the beating of my own heart or the flow of my own thoughts.

"A deaf man coming upon me listening to you would think that nothing of importance was going on. But something of extraordinary importance is going on. I am taking you more fully into myself than I can any other way. Hearing you speak brings me by the most direct of all routes something of the innermost secret of who you are.

"It is no surprise that the Bible uses hearing, not seeing, as the predominant image for the way human beings know God. They can't walk around God and take God in like a cathedral or an artichoke. They can only listen to time for the sound of God--to the good times and bad times of their own lives for the words God is addressing to, of all people, them."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haiti and Kingdom Come

After a couple weeks of news stories about the multiple crises in Haiti, it’s shocking how insignificant the terrorists still doing their worst seem. Don’t get me wrong; they’re certainly an enemy that needs to be defeated. But amid the historic destruction of the Haitian earthquakes, the terrorists just seem like such insignificant fools—evil, slithering little fools. Don’t they see what we’re up against?

We’re all up against the same fallenness, the same ravages of our own sin--Pat Robertson's and the Hatians' and mine. Among those destroyed in the earthquakes were mothers and rapists, nuns and murderers and children and abusers and missionaries. No one escapes death, however peacefully or horrifically it comes. So the terrorists and their cowardly suicide bombings and haphazard attacks while the world mourns the devastation in Haiti are like schoolyard bullies afraid they won’t get attention and respect…but the school is on fire!

One of the most powerful images I’ve seen has been the US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson docked off the Haitian coast—not there to launch air-strikes, but to deliver lifesaving supplies and personnel. This is humanity at its best, working together against the common enemy of death itself. This is a striking image of God’s kingdom: "And they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up the sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore" (Is. 2:4; Mic. 4:3). May God bless and keep the people of Haiti and all of us as we watch over one another in love.

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