Christ, Be Our Light

What a wonderful evening last night turned out to be. The collection of Christ followers that I have been blessed to hang out with this past year or so met to have a worship service. In lieu of a Christmas Eve service, we decided to get together on the longest night of the year and to meditate on the waiting aspect of advent. It was a rather somber gathering. The lights were out save a few in the halls for logistic purposes.

There were several candles lit and as the service progressed the advent candles added to the limited light, but it was still rather dark. There were some meaningful readings and several songs sung. I must say that I have never worshiped with a group who could sing like these people. Along with a couple of the songs were simple flute, cello and piano accompaniment, but most of the singing was a capella. Did I mention these people can sing.

The service ended with everyone making their way up front to pick up a candle and light it before gathering around the space where we were worshipping. Throughout this candle lighting everyone was singing “Silent Night”. Call me old fashion, but I do so enjoy a good candle lighting. However, it was earlier in the service when we sang “Christ, Be Our Light” that I was profoundly moved. We sung the song as a prayer — as a haunting prayer of longing anticipation. Even now as I recall last evening I am again moved.

Christ, Be Our Light

Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.

Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

© 1993, Bernadette Farrell. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.

Parking Lot Fellowship

Tonight after work a coworker and I left together and got to talking in the parking lot. After almost two hours, of what amounted to some of the best impromptu fellowship in which I’ve been blessed to partake, I drove the thirtyfive minutes home with a smile on my face. We talked about things of the Lord. Some tears crested and chuckles shared and I am without a doubt that the Lord smiled there with us. Thank you Lord for blessings such as these!

From a Friend

My prayer is that each of you have a friend to go to for a word such as this:

Perhaps the greatest lesson here is not how to overcome the disobedience of the past but rather how to trust Him for the moment. I liken such a lesson to having just met the Lord for the first time. If today was the first day that I came in contact with God through Jesus Christ, then today would be the first day I experienced forgiveness of sins, pardon from condemnation, righteousness in place of unrighteousness, and all the rest that is implicit and explicit in meeting with Jesus. If that can be true of me when meeting Jesus for the first time, why can it not be true of me also when I have been a believer for a great number of years? If it doesn’t apply after a great number of years, at which point did it stop being applicable? I know of none.

Can You See God?

Brandy tells of a small answer to prayer and how some will chalk up such an event to many things other than God simply wanting to touch a smile to your face. There is pure joy in the worship that occurs when we realize His hand in just such detail. Enjoy this story:

CAN YOU SEE GOD?— Author Unknown [Thanks to Dwayne at GodsWork]

A small boy once approached his slightly older sister with a question about God. “Susie, can anybody ever really see God?” he asked.

Busy with other things, Susie curtly replied: “No, of course not silly. God is so far up in heaven that nobody can see Him.”

Time passed, but his question still lingered so he approached his mom: “Mom, can anybody ever really see God?” “No, not really,”she gently said. “God is a spirit and He dwells in our hearts, but we can never really see Him.”

Somewhat satisfied but still wondering, the youngster went on his way. Not long afterwards, his saintly old Grandfather took the little boy on a fishing trip.

They were having a great time together. The sun was beginning to set with unusual splendor and the grandfather stared silently at the exquisite beauty unfolding before them.

On seeing the face of his grandfather reflecting such deep peace and contentment, the little boy thought for a moment and finally spoke hesitatingly: “Granddad, I–I– wasn’t going to ask anybody else, but I wonder if you can tell me the answer to something I’ve been wondering about a long time. Can anybody–can anybody ever really see God?”

The old man did not even turn his head. A long moment slipped by before he finally answered. “Son,” he quietly said. “It’s getting so I can’t see anything else.”

OK, It’s a Stretch

Jer 18:3,4 (NIV) So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. (4) But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

I don’t typically like to see scripture “modernized” as a means to make a point because this often drains out much of the beauty and poignancy that the period relevant surroundings, customs and culture may bring to the message. Well, here is a case where I must excuse myself as I do exactly that.

The above verse was part of my reading this morning and I thoroughly enjoy the message it speaks. This evening I was tweaking and massaging different aspects of this blog and as I was trying different color schemes I frequently refreshed the page. At one point I was quite shocked at the result. I murmered to myself, “this certainly won’t serve its purpose”. I immediately changed that which caused this unpleasant result and continued to mold and shape it. I don’t know that I will consider it complete any time soon, but it gives me great pleasure to take it into my hands and draw it up tall then work it out making it smoother and more pleasant to look at while also keeping in focus it’s intended use.

If we will just offer ourselves as moist, plyable clay in the hands of the Potter, He will shape us into useful vessels instead of dry, brittle and ineffective shards.

I’m Adopted… Cool!

I am not certain why, but I can not stop thinking on this verse:

Rom 8:15 (NASB) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

It speaks to me from so many different angles. It speaks of my relationship to the Lord in the sense that it is not a result of my physical birth. It speaks of the intentional actions of my Father in adopting me. He owes me nothing and I deserve even less, but He loves me. It is the message of the spirit of adoption in contrast to that of slavery and fear that really strikes me.

The feeling of affection, love, and confidence which pertains to children; not the servile, trembling spirit of slaves, but the temper and affectionate regard of sons. Adoption is the taking and treating a stranger as one’s own child. Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible — Albert Barnes (1798-1870)

And unlike the fear within slavery that demands obedience, it is our realization that we are now under His protection and care and we are to express to Him the feelings due a Father.