Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Show It Off!
I love the Confession and Forgiveness for this summer season found in Sundays and Seasons. After our confession that we have come together for healing and life, and for the sins that diminish us, then come the words of absolution, the declaration of forgiveness is given. And that ends with these words: "Be at peace, and tell everyone how much God has done for you."
I don't remember that being included before, but I really love the way it ties the assurance of God's love and forgiveness with our response to tell everyone how much God has done for us. After everything we have just been promised and given to us, it seems like a natural thing to tell people how wonderful it is!
It seems so easy to tell people when other good things happen to us, whet her it is our latest diet, a good place to eat lunch, or passing on the latest video gone viral. We "like" things on Facebook, "retweet" sayings from Twitter, and pass on links to the cutest kitten video.
And here, God meets us face-to-face, knowing all that we've admitted to and even the things we cannot name, and gives you and gives me complete love and forgiveness. God holds nothing back in welcoming and loving us just as we are, and gives us healing and life in spite of all of our questions, uncertainties, and weaknesses.
God does more for us than we can expect or ask from anyone. And what is our response? Tell someone else (even just one person) what God has done for us? Are you nuts?
We all have our reasons for not sharing from we are too shy, we don't know how to explain things, to 'faith is too personal, let's leave it at that'. And yet as someone who has done a lot of flying around the country when I worked for disaster response, I can vouch for the fact that there is not much we think is too personal these days.
I have sat at in an airport and heard what people share when talking (loudly and in close proximity) on their cell phones. I have heard about everything from the details of someone's sex life to their deepest joys and griefs. And that's not getting into all the details shared on the net, complete with pictures.
But to share what God has done for me? That would be admitting that God is in my life and my life is in God. Do we really have to get particular about it?
After all, what has God done?
The amazing gift of knowing that God knows me better than I know myself, all the deepest and darkest secrets and still loves me is the foundation that makes life possible in the face of what has happened in my life. The gift that knowing that when I am most afraid for those I love and that even when they face death, there is someone I can turn to who has the power to bring hope even then. The strength of knowing that I am never alone, even when I am most afraid or most ashamed. And the depths of love that has been given to me that has taught me how to reach out to others instead of running away in distrust or hate.
God gives me the joy that I see in each new life; the peace of the wind and sun in the trees and the song of the birds; and the gratitude I have for being saved from the darkness that nearly overwhelmed me and my life. It can be as deep as that, or the simple pleasure of melting chocolate on a marshmallow.
In the telling of what God has done for us, even just the smallest gesture, in admitting that we are people of faith, we set our lights to shine in the world. The very words used in the baptismal service: "Let your light so shine before others..." When we do this, we point the way to God, and the Gospel is heard. We don't have to be great at it, just open and honest about God.
A friend shared these words with me the other day in spending time in the Word: "A foghorn lets you know there is something out there, but the lighthouse tells you where it is". There are a lot of foghorns in the world, telling us to be afraid, but faith is the lighthouse that brings us safely home.
"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16