Why I Can’t Wait For Sundays (and Wednesday Nights)
Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
15 Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD. 16 They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation. They exult in your righteousness. 17 You are their glorious strength. It pleases you to make us strong. 18 Yes, our protection comes from the LORD, and he, the Holy One of Israel, has given us our king. Psalm 89:15-18 (NLT)
“In the periods expressly reserved for this rendezvous with our Lord, the heart is broadened, the will is strengthened, the mind, helped by grace, fills the world of human reality with supernatural content. The results come in the form of clear, practical resolutions to improve your conduct, to deal more charitably with all men, to spare no efforts—like good athletes—in this Christian struggle of love and peace. Prayer then becomes continuous, like the beating of our heart, like our pulse. Without this presence of God, there is no contemplative life. And without contemplative life, our working for Christ is worth very little, for vain is the builder’s toil if the house is not of the Lord’s building. (1).
It is Monday morning, a morning that is filled with groans, with near despair. We return to our work, our normal daily life. We leave behind, or so we think, what philosophers call the sacred, and we are forced to embrace the profane, the secular, the world.
I write that sentence and I am already tired, discouraged, weary, waiting for the time when the people that are my brothers and sisters in Christ will gather, when I will hear their voices praising God, and yes pleading with Him. Crying out in awe at His love, and crying out “Lord, Have mercy!”, as they give him that which causes anxiety, that which causes heartbreak, that which pains them. As they come before the altar and I am able to give them something tangible, a treasure beyond any belief. As they take the bread, His body broken for them, as they drink the wine, His blood shed for the forgiveness of sin, there is a visible manifestation of relief, of joy, of peace that floods over them. Their body language changes dramatically, it is amazing.
I long for those moments, and for the times we spend in scripture together, asking the tough questions. Not tough questions as in the doctrines that we study in seminaries, amonst academics and theologians. The questions of why God allows evil, or pain or illness. Or the questions about how do I love that neighbor/coworker/family member who said “that”, or always acts like a jackass. The questions of living daily, as children of God. THe questions that haunt them at night. ( I don’t know anyone who spends all night contemplating the “communication of magisterial attributes” or even the how the Trinity’s interaction can be explained – okay maybe one or two ….) But to deal with them, to struggle through them, to realize that the answer is sometimes simply greater than we can comprehend, but God is still in charge….
I long for these Sundays, and Wednesday Nights ( and every other thursday, and the tuesday once a month where our area pastors gather together)
Yet if it wasn’t for the roughly 160-164 hours a week I am not being gathered with other believers…there would be a hole in my life as well. I wouldn’t understand how the God we are gathered to praise sustains us, even at the point where our endurance is measured by inches. Yes, I long for those moments of God revealing Himself among us, sustaining us, holding us.
I need the time where we aren’t gathered, it stretches my faith (which like working out isn’t always “fun”) but is necessary. I need to see the impact of our gatherings on us when the chips are down, when the road seems lonely, where the world threatens… for there our trust in God is forged, where it is tempered, where we find out He is as He promised, He is present, merciful, forgiving, loving……ours.
There is a relationship between our times, our appointments with God and HIs people, and the peace we have in the world. I love how St Josemaria says it, this time of strengthening, this time of our heart be broadened. These words resonate so deeply, it is these times, that remind us of the presence of God, that “synchronize” our lives with the breath of God, that remind us of the cleansing work of God, of how He is crafting us together, as His people, as a masterpiece of incomparable worth……
And these short hours, they do something more, they infect the rest of our lives, as we realize more and more His presence….
How I long to celebrate that with those that God gathers together here… for while this world is not our home…the church, the people of God that are gathered in His name… yeah – that is home.
Have a great Monday, knowing God is with you… and soon, we shall sing His praises together!
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). Christ is Passing By (Kindle Locations 550-556). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.