Bigger

Fort Steele Presbyterian ch church winter fisher DSC_0145.jpg

It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping God may wake someday and take offense, or the waking God may draw us out to where we can never return.
– Annie Dillard

6 thoughts on “Bigger

    1. Thank you. This cute church is in a ghost town near us. It used to be full of ladies in straw and velvet hats. Now it’s used for weddings and a weekly 15 to 20 minute service for tourists in the summer. Most of the time it sits empty in a kind of museum slumber.

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  1. Lois Martin

    Psalm 121:4
    Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
    Hebrews 13:8
    Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

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    1. He’s wonderful, isn’t he?
      Actually it is not God who slumbers, but us. People have a tendency to project onto God their own lack of attentiveness and I think that was the point of the poetic language of Annie Dillard. But there are times when he starts to move in power and gives our comfortable pews a shake. The character of Jesus never changes, but his methods do.
      Zechariah 2:10-13
      Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.
      Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

      The Psalmists used the same imagery when people called on him to respond in times of trouble:
      Psalm 44:23 Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
      Psalm 59:5 You, Lord God Almighty, you who are the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations; show no mercy to wicked traitors.
      We know God was not asleep, but to the people being quoted it felt like it. Perhaps what people have interpreted as “sleep” is actually his patience and letting natural consequences play out.

      Just before the verse you quoted the writer of Hebrews did also mentioned a whole lot of shaking.
      Hebrews 12:26-29
      At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
      Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

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  2. Lois Martin

    Thanks so much, Charis, for taking time to provide further explanation. Certainly, “God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform,” as William Cowper’s hymn says (http://www.hymnary.org/text/god_moves_in_a_mysterious_way). I totally agree that people tend to complacency, and your last quoted paragraph from Hebrews 12 presents both positive and negative incentives for making sure not to fall asleep spiritually.

    I also agree with Wondering Celt’s evaluation of your content. It blesses me immensely and regularly!

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    1. Sometimes I write way too much and sometimes I post and run. Some people dear to me pointed out this week that not everyone processes in the same manner as I do and I need to connect the dots for linear thinkers. I called this one “Bigger” because we tend to focus on the cute decently-and-in-order little box church and miss what is going on in the background entirely -God’s bigger, wilder ideas. I’ve been working on an article with that theme for another blog site for women, so it was clearer in my mind than it was on this post.

      Love those song lyrics. Blessings on your head, Lois!

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