a new thing

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Sometimes the Spirit whispers and I hear a still, small voice in my heart; a faint echo in my spirit.

But sometimes the Spirit feels like fire and it burns strong; a burning fire welling up, like energy. And words need to escape my lips.

Last Sunday was one of those moments.

I was leading worship, singing with my friend Kareena, she so blessed with an amazing voice. (So amazing that I sometimes simply step back from my mike so that my voice will not interfere with the loveliness that she emits.) As I looked over the congregation from my vantage point, what I saw was:

h a r d n e s s

Hardness of heart. Faces not reflecting love… nor hope. As I looked at them, I felt this feeling welling up inside, a feeling of frustration, but even more so, a feeling of desperation.

What are you doing here? Why do you come to church? Why do you sit here week after week with hardness in your heart? Have you ever felt God? Do you want to? He is waiting! He longs to have you talk to Him, connect with Him and hear His voice. For with His voice, miracles happen. Ice over hearts melts, hardness gives way…..

… but only if you are willing. You must be willing to let Him in. He will never coerce, never force His way. He waits for you. Right beside you He waits.

He waits for your invitation.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honour me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise…” (Is.43:18-21)

Perhaps you find yourself in a desert place? A wasteland, even?

“But now listen, O Jacob, my servant, Israel, whom I have chosen. This is what the Lord says – he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants…”    (Is. 44:1-3)

Where do you turn when you find your ground parched and dry? When your spirit is longing for something more?

Listen to the words of John: “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”   (Jn.4:13-14)

Ask Jesus for this living water. He loves to answer prayers of the heart like this.

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3 responses »

  1. Well said. My guess is that what you saw… felt… experienced… (hardness / frustration / desperation) is exactly what our cultural “God-in-a-box” approach, that is more commonly called “church”, ultimately produces. Church is a dangerous place… but for all the wrong reasons. There must be new alternatives where hardness of heart will no longer be the common or appropriate response.

    • Gord, sometimes I make a distinction in what I experience as “real church” vs Church. I think that Jesus wanted the church to be about love and healing. The Church as an institution can become a dangerous place, and I’m not convinced that Jesus ever wanted the Church to become an institution. Still, I think we need to pray that God will still work through what the Church is. There are brilliant spots of light and hope and love and healing going on within church communities. One example of “real church” that I experienced lately was this past Tues night when we held a prayer night. No agenda… we just wanted God/HS to show up and lead us in prayer for each other. It was a beautiful, powerful example of Jesus’ love at work through each other within the church.

      • I had heard that the Tuesday night prayer gathering was indeed a very special time… real connections with God and each other. “Jesus’ love at work through each other” is a powerful paradigm with the obvious potential to engage and change lives. I wonder why that is so rare in the institutional structure? After decades of wondering about that, I can only think that it is a structural choice. Like most institutions, the institutional church is deeply self-referencing… it neither wants nor needs change and certainly doesn’t welcome it… largely, the choices which are made, are made are for the benefit of the institution. It’s paradoxical, and certainly ironic that the institutional church holds to the fantasy that it will change the world, when, in fact, it can’t even change itself. If Jesus were to walk into most institutional churches today, I wonder if he would stay, or simply turn around and walk out again, realizing that he wasn’t really needed or welcome there?

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