As the November days grow short, and the light wanes, our bloggers are listening for God, and are asking God – and the rest of us – thoughtful questions.
The cold and dark are inspiring Connie Tuttle to think about the gifts of Advent, which mirror the gifts of other shadowy seasons. “We begin to hunker down and turn inward. The gift of the dark is gestation. We turn toward the work of the soul. We wait for a new thing. We wait for light to return. This is what we do each year as we linger in creative hope during in the Advent season.” If we can do it in Advent, she suggests, we can do it in any life season when the days feel short and the nights long.
We have enough, we are enough Carol Howard Merritt wants us to know, as she’s fixing her aging car under the he disdainful watch of a woman parked nearby. “The fancy lady gets out of her Beemer and averts her eyes from my maneuverings. I am two feet in front of her, so I smile and say, “Sorry if I’m in your way!” She pretends that she did not hear me, and this act of not looking seems to take a lot of discipline, like actively ignoring a clown doing gymnastics within an arm’s reach. I feel a tiny wither of humiliation. Do we ever grow out of middle school? I sigh. We are equals, I tell myself, even though I don’t know anything about the woman except that she drives a nice car.” We are trained by our culture for lives of greed, always pushed to acquire more and better things, and to feel bad when we don’t. But God has another word as she drives home.
Let’s talk, says Allison Wehrung. Leading a group into creative reflection through an art project, she finds that the paint and the magazines and the silence open up room for the Holy Spirit to speak, as each person creates something that spoke to and through them. When the work was complete, the group “fell into the quiet(ish) contemplation of our work…Forget the “rules” of vision boards (if those are a thing?). We listened with open eyes and open hearts for what the Holy Spirit and that pile of paint and pages were saying to us right then and there. Here’s to hoping those messages might carry us onward.”
“What do you need to remember?” The question came to Arianne Lehn at a recent conference, and she passes it on to us. “So one of my greatest take-aways from the Ezer Collective was God reminding me who I am. God bringing to mind a stream of memories – some from childhood, some just days before – illuming for me the light that’s been quietly and eternally burning. Isn’t it interesting that when we ask God again and again what we are supposed to do, God answers with remembrance of who we are? Of who God is?”
She adds some questions for us. “So I leave you with some questions Ezer stirred up for me, hoping God will wash over your heart what you might need to remember. There are seven questions – maybe reflect on one each day. Grace, peace, and mercy to you, friends. And remember, remember, remember….What memories of yourself do you need to sit with? What parts of yourself do you need to say “yes” to? Maybe again? Maybe for the first time? What is one area of your life that needs fresh intentionality? What is one area of insecurity you want to let go of today? Are you living out your voice, or thinking you must be an echo? What would it look like today to claim with new authority and fresh resolve the freedom that you have (and have had all along)? What do you need to remember about God?”
Thinking about Jesus watching the widow contribute her last coins to the temple treasury, Rosalind Hughes asks a simple, but illuminating question:
what if the widow’s
mite was hope, and she spent all
she had to live on
How is God speaking to you in these November days? Let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear your questions, too!
Mary Austin is the pastor of Westminster Church of Detroit, a diverse Presbyterian Church. She is the author of Meeting God at the Mall.
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2 thoughts on “Friday Festival: God Pops Up in the Questions”
Here in high desert and mountains of northern AZ, 40 degrees is considered cold and 32 unbearable. It was 25 last night. (I am from Midwest and East coast…gray Ithaca. I know cold.) So this feels invigorating. It is sunny and chilly. Not damp. But I also know about hunkering down in front of the wood stove and zzzzzzing on my sheepskin rug. I so miss that.
You cited a few bloggers so your blog has a number of topics. The one that struck me was that of changing a tire. Wow. I congratulate her on changing a tire. I should take a lesson. The point though was of how the Beemer woman responded, or rather, did not respond. She herself could be having a range of emotions and did not know what to do with them, so she just ignored and left. Possibly this will stick in her mind and change her attitude a little, her thinking. We never know what tiny action or word, good or bad, can have an effect. If we never know, we can only hypothesize and hope (or shudder in dismay). Perhaps Jesus would see the humor in this situation.
I am not hearing God, but neither am I praying. I belong to the denomination I was ordained in (UCC). We have a pastor who is strong on social justice, but still preaches about Jesus dying for us…one of the atonement theories I cannot bear…or understand. I am director of Christian Education and I like this work, but in terms of faith, feeling fake. I serve in other ways. I think that is enough and if God is here, there, or somewhere, She recognizes me.