The Inescapable God

I am preaching this morning on the following Scripture passage:

Psalm 139:1-6 (NRSV)

The Inescapable God

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is so high that I cannot attain it.

God knows us, what we do, our thoughts, in fact all our ways.  God even knows what I am about to do!  It is all together too wonderful.  Why?  To be not seen, unheard, not known, this leads to excruciating pain of alienation and isolation.  But to be known, to be seen for who we are, to be heard, and to be known not only for what we have done, but for what we are about to do is to be truly recognized for who we are, as we are!  As creation of God, what can we do?

As Samuel answers God when he was called in the middle of the night, I believe our answer should be “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).  

In order that light might shine out of darkness, for God who created us and wrote our lives in the book of life, we are persecuted but not forsaken: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

To each of us, Jesus calls us to observe the Sabbath.  But this means that on the other days, we are working!  Doesn’t make much sense to rest unless you were doing something in the first place.  However, “The sabbath was made for human kind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath” (Mark 2:27-28).

For me this week, to shine the light means to speak about the need for caring for the planet we live on.  To bring awareness to all of us about the need to bring peace to the earth, to people living in it, but also to the environment.

My hope this morning is that you would take seriously the calling of God for you, in your life, in this time and place, to do what God calls you to do.  May each of us answer God, when God calls us, “Speak, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).  

prayer – Monday 05122014

Dear God,

It’s amazing God.  You’re amazing.  All these years, years after years, months after months, day in and day out, there you are.  You are in my life.  You are in my emptiness.  You are in my depths…depths of void, of confusion, of absurdity.  I needed rest, and You gave me rest.  Sleeping 3 days straight, well, that was a blessing.  Being sick didn’t feel like a blessing, but it gave me an opportunity to reset.  My mind feels fuzzy.  But I think slowly I am getting clarity.  I want to return to my first love.  God you re-ignited in me the desire to return to you.  Not just to pray for others, or to pray when needed, but you have started something new in me today.  I want a regular, constant, consistent relationship with you God.  Help me.  You have waited for me and I know you’re ready.  Well, now I’m ready.  I want a living relationship with you, God.  Where do we start?

This is the psalm I’m thinking of as I write this prayer:

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. 3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. 7 Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. 17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end —I am still with you. 19 O that you would kill the wicked, O God, and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me— 20 those who speak of you maliciously, and lift themselves up against you for evil! 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. 24 See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139)

“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” I feel the truth of these words intensely this morning.  I want to know these words, to praise you for being made “fearfully and wonderfully.”  I don’t feel that I was wonderfully made.  Yet for sure you have made me fearfully and wonderfully.  Help me God this morning to feel that I am your beloved, having been made wonderfully by You.