Right now I am in a cozy little coffee shop. But I am looking out the window. I wish I was looking at a dipping valley or a mountain or a forest river. But instead, I am looking at a parking lot surrounded by dead grass and dirty snow piles. Everything is grey. The sky, the snow, the parking lot. Directly in front of me is some sort of truck. I think it is used to lift workers up to work on power lines, or something like that. There are metal bars and handles. All dirty. Man made. A nessesary means to fix things. Broken things. Everything is broken here. Rust and moth steal and destroy here. No wonder we can't find God. We've covered up his beautiful handiwork with cement. And bricks. And Jerry's homes. We've put concrete over prairie and forest and cut holes in mountains! Why? So our cars can get us places faster. So we've covered everything with concrete and we put our chins down and hurry, hurry, hurry. We put headphones on in buses, talk on cellphones while we pay for coffee, and turn on the t.v. during dinner.
We never have to talk to each other.
We are too busy for each other, too efficient for nature, too capable for God. And then we wonder on Sunday mornings why, when we try to open our hearts, we find them stinky and parched. "Where are you God?!" we cry. "Where were you this week?" Yet there He stands in our very presence, audible in each others hearts, tangible under the concrete.
One can lose hours on the computer, or watching t.v.. And in a way, I think that's exactly what we want.
"Why do the nations say, "Where is our God?"
Our God is in heaven and He does whatever pleases Him.
But their gods are silver and gold, made by human hands.
They have mouths but cannot hear,
eyes but cannot see,
ears but cannot hear,
noses but cannot smell.
Hands but cannot feel,
feet but cannot walk,
nor can they utter a sound from their voices.
Those who make them will be like them."
"We are that to which we pray"- Jewel (singer/songwriter)
Ick. Right now a digging tractor has started scraaaaaaping snow off of the parking lot. What a sound.
Sigh. But it feels really good to think. And sit. And be.
Author Philip Yancey talks about how to the bafflement of anthropologists, every human society ever discovered and studied has worshiped something in someway. I think it is evident in both a society and in individuals that worship is natural. We cannot help it. Our ancestors struggled against worshiping monarchies and royal families. And finally, in the beautiful country of America we are totally free of forced worship. No one has to worship anything. And yet- WE DO!!!!!! It has crept in! Who can argue that we don't worship our celebrities?! Athletes and movie stars and models and rockstars- we are obsessed with them! We cut our hair like them, we hang their pictures on our walls, we buy their clothes and perfumes and pay thousands, even millions to own something they once wore or owned or hit with a bat.
That is worship, is it not?!!!!!!!!
And we worship ourselves. There are too many ways to mention (my fingers are getting tired), but one example is we worship our goals. One after another, once achieved we must continue. We never arrive. Just when we think we have it all someone else has achieved more. So, to be better we work harder and longer. We sleep with our blackberry, walk around with a cellphone earpiece in our ear, get in our cars and run from meeting to meeting, event to event. And we need lots of concrete to do that, don't we?
Where is the God we worship?!!! He is in our pockets, our driveways, and in PEOPLE magazine. We pray and meditate and bow down to these heartless, earless, eyeless gods. And "those who make them will be like them".
But where is the God that made us and that we were made for? Why can't we hear Him? Why can't we feel him?
The Bible, in 1 Kings 19, tells of a man named Elijah who is afraid because of some circumstances in his life. He runs away to a mountain called Horeb, the mountain of God. He is exhausted and longs to hear from God. Elijah finds a cave in this mountain and spends the night there. It is in this quiet, solitary place that his God speaks. He quietly asks Elijah, 'What are you doing here?' Elijah cries and tells his story to his ever-listening God. Here is what happens next:
"The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by."
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
What is God asking me?
And do I really want to know?
Are we brave enough to lose the noise and lights and all the sensory overload?
Are we brave enough to be quiet?
Day 28. Path.
8 years ago