For quite a while lately, church has failed to move me. I have been going through the motions, hoping that something might eventually speak to me, to inspire me, to challenge me, to … something. As I move to reclaim my life now that it no longer is a slave to a killer commute, I have made the decision to be more involved with the life of the church, not just as a participant, but as a driving force in our mission. And I have vacillated wildly between hope and despair about the sanity of this undertaking.
Today, at church, the Spirit spoke to me throughout the entire service. She was screaming into my ears through the lessons, through the liturgy, and through the hymns. And following Pastor Kari’s “warning” to our confirmands just one month ago, we never know when the Spirit will call, we never know what path this will set us upon, but we can be sure that if we listen, it will be life changing.
The first and loudest connection came through the reading from Isaiah (65:1-9). I will include it below to avoid having to look it up. I highlighted those sections which spoke to me in particular. I italicized sections that I found uncomfortable, but included them for full context.
- I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask, to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, “Here I am, here I am,” to a nation that did not call on my name.
- I held out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;
- a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and offering incense on bricks;
- who sit inside tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat swine’s flesh, with broth of abominable things in their vessels;
- who say, “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.” These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all day long.
- See, it is written before me: I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will indeed repay into their laps
- their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together, says the Lord;
because they offered incense on the mountains and reviled me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps full payment for their actions.
- Thus says the Lord: As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say, “Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,” so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all.
- I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah inheritors of my mountains; my chosen shall inherit it, and my servants shall settle there.