October 10, 2016

God Is Here

I spent this weekend in Silver Spring, Maryland, at the fall gathering of the Friends of Jesus Fellowship. The ground was soft and smelled like fall. At the retreat center on Peach Orchard Road, there was a white tabernacle with hundreds of chairs, surrounded by tiny cabins in various stages of life: brand spanking new, with welcoming flags and SUVs parked on the gravel path; older and semi-forgotten, half-repaired, wooden windows shut in plain walls over concrete pilings; wooden and ill-kept, abandoned for decades, with the roofs falling in. The main building was newer, and that was where we had our meetings.

The tabernacle was a historic site, built around 1934, with implacable wooden chairs in metal-studded rows, painted green and silent. I sat there after the drizzle and watched the sun illuminate each of the chairs on its way down behind the cabins. Fifty, eighty years ago, this would have been a bustling Methodist campground. All these years later, even as the weather started to turn, the setting sun brimmed with God's presence.

Earlier I had told my father that we would be at this gathering and asked him to pray for us. At our last evening of worship, I felt that he was linked with us there, through the gentle strings of God.

What do you write when you don't know what to write?

Let go, and let God speak through you.

There is so much to be embarrassed about, and it's so tempting to defer to other people's opinions, that I (we)(you) need to just go ahead anyway, opinions be damned. Let ourselves be spoken through.

I am a Quaker, of Friends General Conference, of the Friends of Jesus Fellowship. I am a member of Pittsburgh Friends Meeting although I live on the other side of the state and haven't visited for a while.

I am on a turning point. It takes only a tiny motion to get where I need to go. Shifting my whole focus to God is what I'm called to do, and I'm trying to make that shift. It happens in bits and pieces, in spurs of the moment, in a quiet, gradual, inward reworking. I don't know where God wants me to go. I have my ideas and hopes, but it's likely that God will take me through my fears instead. Mostly this is fear of embarrassment. In theory I don't care, but in practice I've spent years building a wall to save me from this kind of thing. Now God is commanding: let the wall fall.

God is here, and we worship God in spirit and truth. Somehow God is working in me even though I don't know what to do or say. This blog is an answer to a call.

All my ideas about how I think the blog should be, I turn them over to God and trust that the way will be revealed to me. Thank You, God, for planting this seed. I trust You'll water it and help me water it, and my life will curl around to fit.

This is new; this is new. This abandon at the beginning of a project is new. I'm so used to strong-arming, fretting, micro-managing until the creative flow is totally stifled and I go slogging along, despairing over how it isn't going the way I wanted. This time is different. I want to every day, every minute look to God for guidance. If I let go constantly, God will work in me.

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