March 20, 2011 – Second Sunday in Lent
Lessons: Genesis 12:1-4a, Psalm 121, Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, John 3:1-17
Romans 4:13-17 And I do not want you to be unaware brethren, that often I have planned to come to you and have been prevented thus far in order that I might obtain some fruit among you also even as among the rest of Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. Thus for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written. But the righteous man shall live by Faith.
I am not good with rules. Don’t get me wrong, I like them, I really do, and I wish everyone else would follow them. There are moments when I wished I’d followed them, like the time I installed the drapery holder upside down, and then there was the time, well, you get the idea. But rules are important, my mother always said so. She said they keep me safe, that then I know where I am, what I need to do as well as what everyone else needs to do. I notice, though, that even when I do know them, I often ignore them. The reasons are many, some more creative than others, some bordering on obstinacy.
It has worried me a bit about God and rules. I knew that if I had to follow the rules in order to be with God, I was cooked. No chance. But what I noticed was that I felt God. I felt God in the wind on my face and circling around to cool the back of my neck. I heard God rustling in the wind in the sound the leaves made. I noticed God in my belly when my breath would ease and I could rest into my body, let my shoulders fall and sense the warmth behind me, enfolding me in arms. And these moments didn’t come as a result of my following the rules. They came from quiet. They came from listening. They came because I asked.
So I ask that each morning I might find that quiet that lets me hear you, Lord. I ask that when fear rushes up in my belly I find your arms surrounding me. I ask that when I don’t know what to do that there will be a sign; a large sign, big letters, small words, for I am slow, Lord. Please come and find me as I search for you. Please, Lord, surround me with your love and help me wend my way back to you.