Great meditation from Eugene Peterson…mc
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. Isaiah 1:1
Jesse’s roots, composted with carcasses
Of dove and lamb, parchments of ox and goat,
Centuries of dried up prayers and bloody
Sacrifice, now bear me gospel fruit.
David’s branch, fed on kosher soil
Blossoms a messianic flower, and then
Ripens into a kingdom crop, conserving
The fragrance and warmth of spring for winter use.
Holy Spirit, shake our family tree,
Release your ripened fruit to our outstretched arms.
I’d like to see my children sink their teeth
Into promised land pomegranates
And Canaan grapes, bushel gifts of God,
While I skip a grace rope to a Christ tune.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
“But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.”
Through the centuries the church has been making the same mistake over and over again as it has defined Christianity by what you know instead of Who you know, or better yet, Who knows you. We’ve confused information (learning about God) with transformation (being known and recreated by Him in His image, not our own).
When we define Christianity by what we know…it becomes a doing based religion, a treadmill of shoulds and a list of tasks derived from the information we have acquired. That is not the freedom found in being a new creation, or the new way of the Spirit, it is life under the old Law of performance.
There is a big difference between these two dynamics however. As I was thinking about these two realities, the following considerations and contrasts came to mind:
information is finite – transformation is infinite
information improves – transformation creates
information is temporary – transformation is permanent
information is the known – transformation is the unknown
information is safe – transformation is risky
information is predictable – transformation is unpredictable
information requires study – transformation requires trust
information promotes self-sufficiency transformation demands dependence
information breeds familiarity – transformation embraces the unfamiliar
information is inanimate – transformation is alive
information is a noun – transformation is a verb
information takes hold – transformation lets go
information is knowledge – transformation is truth
There is so much more for us to encounter and experience in God, but we must be willing to allow the information to translate into a liiving reality in the graceful grip of God. The journey in and down to the soul-ular level is a journey that will change your life.
It’s time to experience being a new creation, and life lived in the new way of the Spirit…if it is a new way, then why do we keep doing the same old things? Perhaps it’s time to move from information to transformation.
1 Samuel 15:22-23
But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
Thoughts: Saul, the first king of Israel, did not know much about silence or listening to God. Like David, he was gifted, anointed, and a successful military/political leader. Yet we never see him seeking to be with God like David. In this passage, Samuel the prophet reprimands Saul for doing many religious acts (i.e. offering burnt offerings and sacrifices) but not quieting himself enough to listen, or “to heed” God (vs. 22).
“We all must take the time to be silent and to contemplate, especially those who live in big cities like London and New York, where everything moves so fast…I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence – we need to listen to God because it’s not what we say but what He says to us and through us that matters. Prayer feeds the soul – as blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul – and it brings you closer to God. It also gives you a clean and pure heart. A clean heart can see God, can speak to God, and can see the love of God in others.” ~ Mother Teresa
Question: How could you make more room in your life for silence in order to listen to God?
Prayer: De-clutter my heart, O God, until I am quiet enough to hear you speak out of the silence. Help me in these few moments to stop, to listen, to wait, to be still. to allow your presence to envelop me. In Jesus’ name, Amen
*From the Daily Office, Scazzaro