Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November/December 2010 - What is God doing?

Dear Friends

What is God doing?

Our identity as Christians is profoundly locked into this question, “What is God doing?” I have begun asking this question as we draw together in worship, and particularly as we reflect on the lectionary readings for the day. What is it that draws us together as God’s people, the Body of Christ? Is it an interest in what God is doing? Is it also a desire to be a part of what God is doing?

“The Lord be with you!” “AND ALSO WITH YOU!”

What has struck me as I’ve asked people to turn to each other and share what God is doing is the brevity of the discussion. It is not long before the room is quiet again.

When Jesus is asked the question, “Who gives you authority to do what you are doing?” his answer is to reflect that he does what he sees the Father doing. What is our answer? Why are we doing what we are doing? ... and what is it that we are doing?

It is not long before the room is quiet again.

“What is God doing?” is profound because it asks us to focus on God; it asks us to disengage from our self-focus. Suddenly it presents me with a new reality: life is not about me. And I am challenged – we are challenged – by a simple question that has wide-ranging implications; and seemingly no easy answers. We are quiet as we watch and wait and reflect. “What is it that God is doing?” – in my life, in yours; in our diverse daily communities, in our society? Where does God place us daily, in the morning, afternoon and evening? Is it our homes, our workplace, our schools, our friendship circles? What is God doing in these places? What is God doing in these relationships?

It is not long before the room is quiet again.

We ask this seemingly simple, innocent question. We ask it as we reflect on the Scriptures of the day, as we reflect on what God has done as he interacted with ancient generations of people. We ask it as we reflect on our own situation, our own context. We ask it as we draw ancient Scriptures together with the realities of today, the here and now. And tomorrow.

And the room is no longer so quiet.

The room is no longer so quiet because, perhaps – just perhaps – the God who interacted with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with Moses and the Prophets, with King Saul and King David, with Jesus, with the early Apostles and with Paul, also wants to interact with us. And the hum and buzz in the room reflects a growing awareness, a growing expectation; an expectation that perhaps – just perhaps – we too may be part of what God is doing?

And the room is no longer so quiet.

Our time of worship begins to become a time of celebration: God is doing something. God is alive. God is present. God is relevant. Deep within we begin to realise that we want to be a part of what God is doing. And so we enter into the liturgy: receiving God’s forgiveness, reflecting on his Word, sharing the needs of our world in prayer, encouraging each other that we are not alone as we share in the peace, receiving the very life of God as we share in the sacramental bread and wine, reminded of God’s blessing as we prepare to return to our lives in the wider world. We reflect on where we will be as we return from this time of worship – this experience of celebration – into the fullness of our lives beyond the walls of our meeting place. And we begin to ask an equally profound question, “What is God wanting to do?”

And the room is quiet no longer.

As the Deacon’s call rings out, “Go into the world to love and serve the Lord!” we respond, excitedly, noisily, “IN THE NAME OF CHRIST! AMEN!”

And the room is silent. The Church has dispersed into the world, to do what God is doing, to do what God is wanting to do.