Monday, January 31, 2011

stay thirsty, my friends

"The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof grace–bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us singlehandedly. The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home free before they started…Grace was to be drunk neat: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale…"

- Robert Farrar Capon - The Ragamuffin Gospel
via Andy Jones

Friday, January 28, 2011

humble pie was the key

Last Sunday, I was sitting in my pew, minding my own business. Things have been going well. Our children seem to be in good places in their lives - learning through struggles, enjoying successes. Larry and I are fine. Things have been humming along.
One of the pastors approached me about 20 minutes before church was to start and said the organist would not be there that morning and could I play piano for church. Just that morning, as I was driving in to Sunday School, I had thought to myself how I haven't played the piano at home in over a year and that I should really dust off both it - and myself!! God seemed to be saying that the time to start was right then!!
I quickly practiced in another room. Things didn't sound too good but the clock ticked right to the last moment. Time to go!!
As I sat up there, a bit nervous, a bit trembly, I realized - once again - that God owns me. He was doing just what He wanted to do with me. He wanted to humble me. He would use my complete weakness and total imperfection to humble me. The morning progressed better than the practice session earlier that morning but my playing was far from perfect, far from good, maybe just OK. But somewhere during the acapella of the first hymn, I asked God to take my hands and make them His to do whatever He wanted. More than that, I asked Him to take my attitude and make it His, as well. No one likes to be embarassed. The potential for that was high on the embarass-o-meter. I chose to score high on the willing-o-meter that day.
I'd like to say I played better after my change of heart. I didn't. But I did manage to calm down. I managed to stop shaking. I managed to sing several of the verses. I managed to let God do whatever he wanted to do with my hands. He let them play, He let me be humbled, He let me enjoy the morning.
It's easier to see God when things are out of my control, and out of control things were!! And so, I saw God work in me Sunday morning.