Yesterday was a good day in worship. We’ve asked several people from within the community to offer a reflection at the end of each service in advent on that week’s theme. Yesterday’s theme was hope, and Walt Everly shared beautifully and powerfully. I was really glad he was willing to share.
I had an opening in the midst of open worship in first service. I realized that the message I had prepared was more for me than for anyone else. I haven’t made time to be in God’s presence lately, and I’ve been feeling the negative effects of it. It changed what I said somewhat from what I had written. It also meant I struggled to get through it emotionally. For me, it was a very good experience.
The message was from Psalm 46, about trusting the presence of God no matter what the circumstances. Even if the earth give way, and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, God is present and a refuge and strength. Before I spoke, I prayed for those who were in that place of feeling like everything they had felt was secure in life had fallen apart. That’s easy to pray; easy to pray for those who are wounded. But I went on to pray the harder prayer…that those of us who put our strength in confidence in anything else besides the presence of God in our lives would be shaken and uprooted, that those false places of strength would be torn down. I prayed that for Newberg Friends, which has been a good community for a long period of time, but may need our false security to be shaken so we are re-awakened to our need for God to be our strength and refuge.
Perhaps my own crumbling emotions and realizing my need for God were an answer to that prayer. Perhaps God was breaking my own trust in myself, and re-awakening a longing to be in God’s presence.
So, I’m posting this, and then leaving the office to spend some time in God’s presence. I have several things that really must be done…but I don’t know if I’ll get to them. God, grant wisdom to know what is rightful re-prioritizing, and what is irresponsibility.
Here’s a link to what I prepared, although as I said, it came out somewhat differently yesterday.