Friday, December 18, 2009

O Adonai, December 18, 2009

"O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm."

You've gotta love a burning bush, right? I mean, that would have totally gotten my attention. There I am, going on about my business, when WHOOSH! The holly in the front yard goes up in flames and God's voice starts talking to me from therein.

"Yes, Lord???" I'd answer, and it wouldn't be hard to ask him what he wants either. Not with that level of interest in me.

But what do I do with the tiny, still voice that speaks so softly inside of me? Most of the time I have to strain to hear him, embarrassed to say, AGAIN, "I'm sorry. I couldn't hear you. Could you please repeat that?"And bless his holy name, God speaks each and every day, all day, doesn't he? His voice is all around us: in the poor; the stranger; the neighbor bloodied and hurting in the road that so many of us good, professional Christians walk right by, often on the way to God's house. But the Samaritan, the outcast, stops and meets the need before him.

We don't always want to hear God when he speaks by the good-as-gold mouths of the poor in spirit, but the longer I live--and that's longer than I'd imagined!--the more I'm convinced that it's in those distressing disguises Mother Teresa talks about that Jesus says preaches his most compelling messages.

Fortunately for most of us, God doesn't only speak through the marginalized. If you've watched the sunrise illuminate the dark hours of the morning, you've heard God. If you've been surprised because you've glimpsed a profusion of red poppies on the side of the road while driving on the freeway, and the sight of it enlivened your hope, rejoice! God is no stranger to you. I love the line from Alice Walker's The Color Purple:

“Listen, God love everything you love—and a mess of stuff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration….Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

O Adonai
Unsayable, you chose to speak one tongue
Unseeable, you gave yourself away,
The Adonai, the Tetragramaton
Grew by a wayside in the light of day.
O you who dared to be a tribal God,
o own a language, people and a place,
Who chose to be exploited and betrayed,
If so you might be met with face to face,
Come to us here, who would not find you there,
Who chose to know the skin and not the pith,
Who heard no more than thunder in the air,
Who marked the mere events and not the myth.
Touch the bare branches of our unbelief
And blaze again like fire in every leaf. --Malcolm Guite

I am waiting to hear my Adonai speak, and to give him the fullness of my attention.

O Adonai, come!


1 comment:

GailNHB said...

I love this piece - especially the parts about hearing God speak through the details of life. The color red is the one that makes me think of God most often. Although the color purple is pretty close behind the red.

Yesterday, I saw two people that I hadn't seen in years - but I had thought of them and prayed for them in the past few days. One I had thought of her earlier in the week and wondered how she was doing as a newlywed. And there she was walking past me in the lobby of a church where I was waiting to meet someone.

After I left that meeting, I drove to a nearby shopping plaza. I pulled into a parking space outside a store I go to maybe once a year, and in the car next to mine was a woman I hadn't seen in more than a year. She saw me, and I saw her, but we didn't speak to one another. We didn't even acknowledge that we had seen each other, but I had thought of her and her family and prayed for them not 24 hours before - and then, there she was. Again, I hadn't seen her in more than a year, but she had come to mind and I had prayed for her.

Anyway, I am writing all this as an acknowledgement that God shows up in our hearts and minds and lives and then confirms His presence on a daily basis in the lives and words and the presence of the people He allows to cross our paths.

Yes, He is the ever-present one.