Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Moving: Between Fear in rejection and Faith that God loves us

   “Many voices ask for our attention. There is a voice that says, ‘Prove that you are a good person.’ Another voice says, ‘You’d better be ashamed of yourself.’ There also is a voice that says, ‘Nobody really cares about you,’ and one that says, ‘Be sure to become successful, popular, and powerful.’ But underneath all these often very noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, ‘You are my Beloved, my favor rests on you.’ That’s the voice we need most of all to hear. To hear that voice, however, requires special effort; it requires solitude, silence, and a strong determination to listen.
   That’s what prayer is. It is listening to the voice that calls us ‘my Beloved.'”
    - Henri Nouwen

   This passage is from Henri Nouwen's The Still, Small Voice of Love.  Lately, I have been reading a lot of Nouwen, in part, for my final 120-page project at Columbia, which first requires that I read 12-15 books on the subject I am studying. But more than just something required from the exterior, I find that I am drawn to Nouwen from some interior prompting. I need to hear his message that I am God's Beloved, now, more than ever.
   Moving is hard. Moving from a place that you love so dearly, is very hard. With just a couple of weeks before the last box is headed east on Highway 96, the thought of leaving Epworth, our friends, this home, and the myriad of familiar places around town is looming larger. When June comes, the task is made only more difficult; in the midst of grieving, we are also going. We are going to a new place, with new people, and new expectations.
   As is my nature - human and frail - the thought of what to expect has turned into what to fear in the weeks since our move was set. Of course, fear is the opposite of faith. I also think it is rooted in a poor sense of identity. Let me explain. When I allow fear to dictate my thoughts about the future - what people will think, or do, or say - because I want to be liked, or admired, or relied upon, then I am turning away from my true identity and, instead, leaning on other's opinions of me to be the foundation for who I am.
   As Houwen writes so eloquently above, God speaks the truth to me in a still, small voice. It is the voice of love. I am God's Beloved. Not because I am right, or smart, or dependable, but because I am God's. The other characteristics come and go, but God's love for me remains.
   Pray for the Hagans in the transition. Pray that we don't stray far from this true sense of who and whose we are. And, pray for the Crosbys, as well. They are surely leaving Alma to arrive at Epworth with some of the very same emotions. I know that when they do arrive, they will be welcomed by a congregation who believes we are all God's Beloved.
   Grace and Peace, Scott

No comments:

Post a Comment