It has been a few days, full of good things since I last posted here. I met with good friends for study and prayer, and those days always lift me up in great measure. Then I met with someone who was talking with me about doing something that was very important to me in a very different way.
I met with him, because I knew that there was value in what he was talking about, but to change what I was doing and give up the control of what I have always done in the past is very difficult. Those of us who are ministers often complain about how congregations dig in their heels about changing, and we lament that the seven last words of dying congregations are, “We’ve never done it that way before”….
I know where that fear-informed attitude comes from… I have it myself.
Odd, isn’t it that when I see a vision and want the congregation to move on it, then that fear of letting go of control frustrates me, but when someone is trying to help me see a new vision that sense of control is my security blanket.
Yet I also know that when we let go, and when we trust God, then things can and will happen. When we let go and trust God, then the Holy Spirit is free to move and whisper and change hardened hearts.
So today as I read the reflection for Day 11 of the Lenten Project I knew that what I had learned from a friend and the guidance given to change what I was doing, was indeed a word for me…..
Becky asked today for us to meditate on Revelation 1: 8, 17-18. As is my practice for Lent I read from the Message:
The Master declares, “I’m A to Z. I’m The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive. I’m the Sovereign-Strong…. I, John, with you all the way in the trial and the Kingdom and the passion of patience in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of God’s Word, the witness of Jesus. It was Sunday and I was in the Spirit, praying. I heard a loud voice behind me, trumpet-clear and piercing: “Write what you see into a book. Send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea.” I turned and saw the voice.
I saw a gold menorah
with seven branches,
And in the center, the Son of Man,
in a robe and gold breastplate,
hair a blizzard of white,
Eyes pouring fire-blaze,
both feet furnace-fired bronze,
His voice a cataract,
right hand holding the Seven Stars,
His mouth a sharp-biting sword,
his face a perigee
I saw this and fainted dead at his feet. His right hand pulled me upright, his voice reassured me: “Don’t fear: I am First, I am Last, I’m Alive. I died, but I came to life, and my life is now forever.
John, when he encountered the living Christ, was afraid. That is so like all the annunciation stories, where every one who sees the angel reacts with strong fear, then with faith.
That’s a real lesson for us.
Fear does not have to rule us. We don’t need to grab onto control of everything in our lives and work to make it come out like we want. There is a better route…. faith, trust, confidence–not in ourselves, not in a political leader, but in God.
We can trust God, trust that God is with us, but do we?
Are we confident that we are not alone and need not be afraid?
How will you let go of your need for control and just exist confident in the one who saves?
I know, that for me that letting go and letting God is a continual process. I give God my trust, and then I take back control. I give God my confidence, and then I let fear into my heart. Trusting God is a journey of continual repentance. It is a good journey to undertake during Lent.
AND THE GOOD NEWS IS……
That with all the practice I have had, I am getting better at trusting God.