Lent and Listening

There is no thing through which God cannot speak – even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere….

‘Be not afraid…for lo, I am with you always, even unto the end for the world.’

He says he is with us on our journeys. He says he has been with us since each of our journeys began. Listen for him. Listen to the sweet and bitter airs of your present and your past for the sound of him.”

– Frederick Buechner

“Modern people lack silence. They no longer lead their own lives; they are dragged along by events. It is a race against the clock…If your life is chock-full already, there won’t be room for anything else. Even God can’t get anything else in. So it becomes essential to cut something out.”

– Paul Tournier

“It takes time to cultivate the mind. It takes time to grow in wisdom. It takes time to savor the qualities of living. It takes time to feel one’s way into one’s self. It takes time to walk with God.

Forsake us not in the tempests of our daily activities, O our Father, but tutor our minds and spirits in the great tranquilities, that deep within we may be still and know that Thou art God. Amen.”

– Howard Thurman

Advent Quote

Was there a moment, known only to God, when all the stars held their breath,
when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second,
and the Word, who had called it all into being,
went with all his love into the womb of a young girl,
and the universe started to breathe again,
and the ancient harmonies resumed their song,
and the angels clapped their hands for joy?

– Madeline L’Engle

How to Change….

Another new resource I am reading lately is a book by James Bryan Smith, protege of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. His book, “The Good and Beautiful God,” provides a guide for small groups and communities to discuss who God is and how we relate to God in our present seasons of life. I was struck by the following introductory words by Smith – he is pointing in the direction that I have been moving for some time, which is deepened dependence on God and a more honest acceptance of my own limitations:

“What are you seeking? Would you like to have abiding peace? Would you like to have a heart that is filled with love? Would you like to have the kind of faith that sees everything – even your failures and losses – in light of God’s governance for good? Would you like to have the kind of hope that endures even in discouraging circumstances? …

A lot of people want to change and would answer yes to these questions, but many of them do not believe it is possible. After years of trying and failing, they lead a Christian life of quiet desperation, longing for change and yet uncertain it will ever happen…. I used to think that way. I tried and tried to change. I prayed and prayed, pleading with God, begging God to change me. All to no avail…. When I looked into my own heart, I discovered that I not only did not love my enemies, I didn’t even love some of my friends, and I worried about everything.

Change came when, through two gifted mentors, I learned that transformation happens through training my soul… The problem is not that we do not want to change, nor is the problem that we are not trying to change. The problem is that we are not training. We have not been taught a reliable process for transformation….”