Only Wonder

August 9, 2014

Only Wonder ~ Anthony B. Robinson

Listen, listen to the thunder of [God’s] voice, the rumbling that comes from [God’s] mouth. Under the whole heaven [God] lets it loose, and [God’s] lightning to the corners of the earth. From job 37:1-13

Every year, it seemed, sometime during the week of summer family camp, there was a thunderstorm. Before the storm, it was strangely still. Still and heavy, as if some invisible weight pressed down on us. In the late afternoon the wind would start, gusting up out of the south. Whitecaps soon spiked the lakes placid waters. The sky darkened into swirling shed of gray, black, and blue. Suddenly, a crack of thunder, then another, and then a rolling rumble. Lightening ignited in the heavens.

And  we, happy campers, did nothing. Nothing but watch, watch and wonder. Mostly silent we beheld the spectacle of a summer storm from the deck of the lodge or cabin porch. What was so powerful about this annual array of thunder and lightning? Why did it so often feel as if it were a kind of worship service? The desert father, Gregory of Nyssa, wrote, “Concepts create idols; only wonder comprehends anything.” Wordless in wonder we heard. “Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God.” The storm stilled us and stopped us. The storm said, “Be still and know that I am God.” Only wonder comprehends anything.

PRAYER: Holy One, I think you for summer storms and every gift or sign that reminds me that there is a God and it’s not me. Amen

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 236.


Every Time I Remember You

August 8, 2014

Every Time I Remember You ~ Ron Burford

I thank my God every time I remember you.  From Philippians 1:3-11

When those close to us die, simple things remind us of them – a smell, a song, a flower, the gathering of family and friends. And we remember…

Sometimes their memory breaks in on us like an intruder, without ample time for us to prepare and brace ourselves. And so, we cry. We miss them. At other times we laugh. Either way, it is a good thing to not hold back. Experience your range of emotions but do not stop there. Give God thanks for your having had them in your life. Acknowledge their presence as a gift from God; this will always put your heart in the right place.

Sometimes, we are like children who want more ice cream. “We did not have them long enough,” we say. And that is always true of those we love most dearly – especially those who had, from our perspectives, untimely deaths. Let us instead give thanks that we had them, remembering we have them still. They were never our possessions. They were companions God placed into our life’s journey…for a while. Best of all, they surround us now, so many as to be like the stars of the Milky Way, a cloud, all witnesses to love, to faithfulness, to the hope and mystery that we shall see them…again.

PRAYER: Gracious God, Sometimes I miss someone so much I cannot seem to bear it. Still, I think you for placing such a great person in my life. I remember her perfume, his crazy laugh, the way he looked at me that let me know I was loved, for the great things she accomplished, for the things we saw together. Thank you for these special lives and times, and for ways they helped shape me to be the person I am today. Give them blessed rest and peach and confidence knowing they left us well and continuing on with life until we meet them again.  Amen

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 235.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

August 6, 2014

Should I Stay or Should I Go? ~ Anthony B. Robinson

Stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.  From Luke 24:44-53

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke conclude in quite different ways. In Matthew the disciples are told, “Go and make disciples.” “Go.” In Luke, they are told to “stay,” sit tight, wait in Jerusalem, stay put until you hare clothed with power from on high. I don’t imagine that the band the Clash had the New Testament in mind when they sang, “Should I stay or should I go?” but they could have.

Generally, I am more of a Matthew type than a Luke type. I prefer to go, to get on with it, to move, to do, and to act. But there is a time for waiting. Waiting until the time is right. Waiting until some gift of power and grace, not our own, comes upon us to make it possible for us to do what cannot be done in our own strength.

“Stay” said Luke, wait. But it’s not just waiting. It’s waiting for the Spirit, for a power not our own to come upon us, to clothe us. There are things that need doing in this world that are beyond our ability to accomplish solely by our own effort. God’s word, God’s incursion, God’s Spirit are required. “Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

PRAYER: Veni Sancte Spiritus: Come, Holy Spirit, come. Teach me to wait and to pray. To wit for you, to call upon you, to be clothed from on high. Amen

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 233.