Sunday, 27 September 2015

He really said that?

"She said that?"
"And then what'd she say?"
"No way!"
"And then what?"
"K. Tell me more when we hang out together."

If my teen children ever spoke on the phone with their friends, I'm sure that's what I'd be hearing on my end...or something like that. I'm sure though that their texts to each other bear resemblance to phone conversations my sisters would have with their friends when I'd occasionally (read: rarely) eavesdrop on them. (C'mon...like you never did that! Unfortunately, only those who had multiple phones on a single land line know what I'm talking about.)

But that's how it would go in my home when I was growing up in the '70's and '80's. The black rotary phone would ring - 2 shorts and 1 long because it was a party line - and usually 2 or 3 pairs of legs would run spastically to answer. Each pair's owner yelling progressively louder "It's mine. I got it. I got it." And finally, in an equal mixture of shame and disgust, the triumphant answerer would embarrassingly hand it over and whisper with disappointment. "It's for you" and slowly walk away. And, if you were in ear shot, or if you could pick up the upstairs phone without the distinctive 'click', you would hear a conversation very similar to the above one-sided dialogue.

Anticipation. Excitement. Thrill. Eagerness. You pick the appropriate descriptor. That's how these phone conversations always - well, usually - started. We didn't know who was going to be on the phone and we wanted to be the first to answer, especially if we were waiting for some news. Body checks. Hip checks. Tripping. Pushing. Shoving. It was a free-for-all. It was a roller derby sans the skates, pads, and helmets...and track!

Anticipation. Excitement. Thrill. Eagerness. What if that's how we went to church on Sundays? What if we would race (not speed!) to get a front row seat to hear what God has to say to us? What if, when we were seated, we would be so out of breath because we ran to hear the voice of God? What if everyone came and was seated thirty minutes early because they didn't want to miss a thing? What if there was a silent, restless hush while we all thought about the impending greeting from God? What if?

That's what I was questioning last week while reflecting on the current series on Leviticus that our pastor has begun. Last Sunday, he opened the series with an explanation, almost apologetically, (I say almost) because he knew that many listeners would be less than eager to hear about God's instructions to the Levites. He knew that ancient directions on sacrificial giving, temple building, and clerical dressing would have a high propensity to fall on disinterested ears. And, it saddened me to hear it. Not because he felt he had to give reasons why he chose to preach on a book that is difficult to draw parallels to today's world - but because I, too, was one of those who quietly said, "Leviticus. Really?"

So, why don't we race to church or impatiently grab for the Bible? Why don't we repeatedly say to a fellow worshipper, "What'd he say? What'd God say?" "Really? Tell me more when we hang out together." I suspect that's what the travelers to Emmaus felt when Jesus explained to them the past events after his resurrection in Luke 24:13-35. I suspect that's how Phillip's guest felt when he was invited into Phillip's chariot to hear more on the words of Isaiah in Acts 8:26-40. I wonder if that's how the thief who was promised eternal life by Jesus felt as he hung on the cross awaiting his own physical death in Luke 23:43. Might he have pleaded with Jesus..."Tell me more Jesus, tell me more. What else did God say? I only have a few more minutes left before I meet him face to face. Is he really as gracious, loving, and forgiving as you say?"

The Bible is God's holy word - in printed form - from Genesis to Revelation. It's not just inspired. It has life and breath as if he was sitting next to you. Don't wait any longer. Find out what he has to say to you. He just might be saying, "Today, you will be with me in Paradise."

Watch out! Get out of my way! I'll trip over anyone, anytime, anyplace just to hear those words spoken to me! 'Cause that's what I'm praying for...eagerness, hunger, and anticipation for his word.

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