Monday, January 5, 2015

Sorry... no room!

Well the new year is here… I hope you were able to find time over the holidays to pause and reflect on the meaning of HIS coming. Today is the first day everyone is back to work and back to school here in Ireland.  Facebook posts like this one abound… “Back to the grind stone…”  The days of feasting and fun are over… in some ways it will be nice to get our schedules back, the only problem is more often than not those schedules get overburdened too quickly… am I right?  It reminds me of my plate when we came around the table on Christmas Day... it was FULL and so are our lives...

Let me ask you this?  Is that right?  Not the full plate... although that may need to be the topic of another blog post...  I mean our lives our schedules.  Have you ever wondered is there a better way?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our schedules were not so full?  Maybe you’re thinking that’s what’s vacations are for… this is real life.  It’s busy!  Did you know that tomorrow is Epiphany... it's the time when we pause to remember the coming of the wisemen to worship Jesus... our problem is we're back to our schedules and already busy.

I believe many of us become SO busy in the church that we’re of no heavenly good, never mind earthly good.  I hope you hear me right.  I was a pastor before I moved to Ireland.  I had a great staff, a wonderful board and great people.  Life was busy.  I have one regret.  I never created any space for my neighbours, those who lived next door… I was always busy doing church.  I was always doing this or that.  It was all good stuff, but those people whom I lived besides… I never got to really know them.   I was just plain to busy doing I forgot to be….and I missed it.

I guess that's why I find myself drawn to words of scripture like this... “Be still and know that I am God!”  

Those words have a pull, don't they?  They resonate, at least they do with me.  Maybe it's because my life is so busy.  I mean think about your schedule.  Think about your time.  We have SMART phones to help... they bring email, Facebook, Twitter to wherever we might be at any given moment, so we can "redeem" the time, right?  Do they?  Sure they help in many ways, but they also cluttered our lives with so much stuff that there is little room for much else.  How many times do we see a dad or a mom on their phone while a little child begs for their attention.  Is that an image of me in my relationship with God?  We wonder why we don't hear HIS voice.  Maybe it’s because we’re never quiet long enough.  Maybe it’s because we never create space for HIM to speak.  I find myself wondering about the innkeeper in the story of our Lord's birth.  "Sorry, no room!"  How tragic!  Yet do we sometimes say the same thing? 

This issue is crucial for you and for me.  It’s crucial for us personally, but also for the mission of the church…

I've come to see this idea of creating space is not just about me and my relationship with God, but also the mission of God. Truth is I would suggest it's impossible to be missional without entering space...the space of another.  You see the message of God cannot be separated from the messenger.  Remember these words from John 1...  "The word became flesh and dwelt amongst us."

I’ve come to see that being missional is about having space in my life, a place where I can connect with others… a place where God can speak.   You see I seem to remember Paul somewhere suggesting that YOU and I are the body of Christ…. that’s right we are HIS presence in our world, our communities and in our families. 

As this new year begins I find myself wondering how I might create more space for God to work in me and through me in 2015.  How about you? Maybe it can begin by taking time to come and worship him as those wisemen did so long ago!

Happy New Year…