Only thou knowest, Lord...

So today I shared a simple message: most of our lives are not BIG moments of HUGE significance; rather, they are small encounters where tenderness can make a REAL difference.  But we have to nourish paying attention to small acts of love and listening or else at the end of our lives, all the small events will add up to an UGLY mess.
Take, for example, the death of a beloved son of the church who passed from this life to God's eternal embrace yesterday. This old soul just happened to be one of the musical mentors of my dear minister of music.  And as I spoke to the family of the deceased, they kept saying: "Make sure you tell, C we really want him to know." Ok, I thought, but how do you share this loss with someone you value, respect and love in a way that is sacred and helpful? Well, as I so often discover, there IS no way to do it. All I can do is weep through the announcement and hold the other in my prayers. It is always awkward and imperfect...

In a way it reminds me of the voice of the Lord asking Ezekiel, "Can these bones live?"  All the prophet can say - and all so many of us can say, too - is: ONLY THOU KNOWEST, LORD?  That is, this is to big for me to understand - or do well - or even come close to comprehending. So only THOU knowest, Lord?

In those moments, I told my peeps, the little words of the Psalms we sing each week give us a clue about how to respond: my soul waits for the Lord as from out of my depths I cry to you, O God.  Calling out to God in our despair and ignorance is a time tested way of being faithful.  So is waiting for clarity or discernment.  You see, the little prayers we sing each week in our Sunday liturgy are clues about how we are to live as people of faith. Look, WE are not Jesus - we are never going to BE Jesus - and our calling has never been to ACT like Jesus. Jesus came once. No, what we are to do is learn from Christ's life and trust his grace so that we can be totally WE (or me or you or whatever, ok?) This is where the Psalms can be a real guide:

+ Today's Psalm 130 was brilliant:  out of my depths I cry to Thee.

+ Psalm 131 is equally useful:  my soul is not too great... so I wait for Thee like a baby resting on her mother's breast.

+ And Psalm 37 always cuts to the chase:  Do not fret... wait upon the Lord... do not fret.
Time after time, you see, I know I NEED to cry out - and wait - and then respond in the little ways that I can.  Because the little ways add up. They both shape our souls over time and they bring an accumulation of hope or fear into the world. Our work as women and men of faith is NOT to feel guilty for not being Jesus.  Our calling is NOT to try to act more holy than we are. All we have been invited to do by the Spirit is cry out - wait upon the Lord - and share whatever small grace we can muster trusting that this is EXACTLY what God asks of us in this moment.  Does it matter?  Only THOU knowest, Lord, only Thou knowest?

After worship I heard from a variety of people that they were aching for a word of comfort today.  Some are facing uncertain illnesses; others are waiting upon career choices; and many are overwhelmed and tired by the chaos and cruelty of contemporary culture. To rest and trust in Ezekiel's prayer - only Thou knowest, Lord - was apparently just what we ALL needed to hear.


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