God as 'O my God" is opening the front door and greeting the youngest children on Halloween evening. There is the wonderful expression on their faces and the look of confusion when they have candy dropped into their bag and greeted with kind word. Our world needs to be surprised by joy so that all of us are momentarily left spinning and caught up in fun and fantasy and hopefulness. God as "O my God" is just enough to tip over the day and thrust a bit of joy into what may be a joy-less moment and make us re-frame what is going on. Joylessness can be overcome - joy can make us look again at what seemed so hopeless - we may even be drawn to call out God's name as "O my God." So don't wait for something outrageous to shake us and move us - it is in the smallest wonders that we are caught right in front of the presence of our God - wow.
O God of love and new life, treat us to you joyous Reign. Amen.
God as 'O my God" is having the lion and the lamb right there in front of us - not merely in words - within reach and as real as can be. God as "O my God" brings promise right in front of us and somehow it is real - no longer a dream. God is the power for life that makes the unheard of - readily available and therefore we begin to spin a bit. God as "O my God" is like the window being open wide and we are hit in the face with a blast of wind that can momentarily take our breath away and then fills us with fresh breath - a gift. God as "O my God" is the sound and feel of the room when Jesus helped the bent-over woman stand straight up and be able to look everyone in the eye - OMG. Yes, the Reign of God comes through the doors of our lives and is able to change what has always been accepted as the way it is to be. It is not a controllable moment - it pushes itself into our lives - it disobeys the rules - it frees people for new life - it twists our tongues and makes us look at the day with wide eyes - like the eyes of a young child.
O God of love and new life, we long to be swept up into the amazing power of life that you offer to us this day. Don't wait for us to jump in - grab us and pull us in so we can spin and dance within the creativity of your Reign. Amen.
God as 'O my God" is the sound of amazement. The amazement takes place whenever the peace and loving kindness of our God become visible among us. It is an exclamation point. That's it, God as exclamation point. God as look at what can be - look at what is promised - look at what just tipped over the powers of the world - OMG. God as "O my God' may simply be one way that the Spirit of God makes us speak in tongues. We cannot bring together the words to express the incarnation of God's Reign and therefore we bring forth the wonder and amazing wealth of God's visible Reign as a simple "O my God. I think we all need to be ready to experience this God who pulls us out of our way of seeing things from day-to-day so we can stumble a bit - into the hopefulness we once thought was merely a dream.
O God of love and new life, be the amazing power of new life that never stops offering us another glimpse of the grace and love that comes to life within your peaceable Reign. Amen.
This is not the meaningless and ever-present OMG - although I might have to say that it surely can be that when that exclamation is authentic. God as "O my God" shakes the floor and makes us pay attention to what is taking place. Within God's Reign - people are being forgiven and brought home and it is truly shaking up those now welcome and those who do not want them to be forgiven and brought home. God as "O my God" is the movement of God's Spirit that does not let everything keep spinning as it has been. It is the realization that the life we so easily enter everyday often denies and ignores the peaceable Reign of our God so that things can stay as they are. Our only response to seeing these two things side-by-side is to say "O my God.' It is as though a secret is revealed and now everything may change. Quite like saying, 'How the hell did I get here?" Too often, the powers of hell and brokenness have been able to win us over and therefore when we see the healing wholeness within the promise of God's Reign - we simply say "O my God."
O God of love and new life, we long to see your Reign among us but we are not often for the surprising way that it cracks open the day. Help us to greet the day with open hands of welcome. Amen.
God as a visible acting out makes all of us a part of the action. There are no out-of-this-world sightings that crack into the routine of things and shake us up and make us wait around for another crack to take place. God as a visible acting out turns us into those sightings. It is then that the world may stop looking for something else to happen. The only waiting that is needed with this God as a visible acting out is waiting to see what the impact will be when God calls us to act out and empowers us to go for it. God as a visible acting out takes hold of the moment at hand and the people at hand and we become a part of the revelation of God cracking open what is often left for dead. This leaves us with an abundance of life - eternal life - at hand. How will we be a part of that life that will be acted out for the well-being of all?
O God of love and new life, let the drama begin and have us jump into the action that makes up the fullness of your Reign. Amen.
God expects us to act out - act out of the promises of God. Take risks that may mean the world will see something new in us - something that may not been appreciated - something that transforms - something that approaches the rest of the day from a position of healing and forgiveness. God as a visible acting out is when we do no leave it to storytelling of that which once was. Rather, it is the substance of the storytelling about that which is taking place now - that which is pulling us into new life. The story telling of Jesus and the story telling about Jesus invites us to take on a part in the eternal unfolding of this God as a visible acting out. This does not mean we are going to be ones who are puffed up and think we are God's gift to the world - but rather, God's gift to the world ( a Reign of peace and non-violence and forgiveness) gives us an alternative way to live within the world of our day. God as a visible acting takes ordinary folk like us and makes the ordinary actions of our lives the vehicle that acts out the vitality of God's Reign - even when it is not expected or appreciated.
O God of love and new life, make us into the characters of your faithful storytelling so that even within the days around us that can become so routine and old will become a part of the vision of your Holy Reign. Amen.
Pressing for new life is part of that acting out. God invites us to actively press for new life. God as a visible acting out is a blessed reminder that we are in the middle of the wind of the Spirit - the life of Jesus coming alive among us - the inventive and creative imagination of the followers of Jesus who find within the ordinary moments of the day an opportunity to open up our lives and show the world around us how life is lived within God's peaceable Reign. It has a history of being inspiring to others - take a look at Scripture.
O God of love and new life, encourage us to wander into your Reign and do so in the midst of things - thinks ordinary - things today - things that may take us out of control. Amen.
We might wonder how the Holy Spirit does this - how are we encouraged by the Spirit to - act out? Do we have to feel something? Do we have to have a special experience that will give others proof that we are - spirit-filled? I like what I just read. The act of giving the Holy Spirit was 'the whole process by which Jesus went to his death as a real, historical, conscious act of subversion of violent human practice.'' In other words - keep reading the story - keep listening to the story as one that marks the end of the violence of the world - keep being caught up in that Jesus event that is as human as the humanity we enter each day. God as a visible acting out is as visible as - you and me. I think we may all be a bit frightened by that. It is an invitation - an empowerment - that bids us to let go and take God at God's word - a word that helps us turn the cheek as we persistently press for new life.
O God of love and new life, let your Reign move us into this day. Amen.
Last week I ended by throwing in the Holy Spirit. I do that quite a bit in many and various ways. James Alison notes that God's giving of the Holy Spirit is 'a historical and creative staging, a visible acting out.' God as a visible acting out is God no longer separate and above - as is often the thought of many folks. Rather, we are talking about the God who is acting - now - among us - through us - as us - with an agenda. That agenda is nothing short of the expansiveness of the Reign of God that we have seen through the imaginative acting out of Jesus. It is a life. It is a life that may not be the life we would plan for ourselves if we let our 'common sense' rule us - for common sense makes sense to the world and the end of death makes no sense. God as a visible acting out is the power to open up our own minds and lives and hearts and begin to enter into the adventure of life that is free to follow in the way of Jesus even when it makes no sense. Remember, love your enemy makes no sense - and yet - it is the life we are invited to enter.
O God of love and new life, as you invite us to act out, we give you thanks for the Spirit of Life that is our coach and inspiration. Amen.
I am finding it important to remember that as I am called to be a follower of this God as violence out of control - a follower of Jesus - I am invited to stand up an put my life on the line in the face of a violent world. That may be the only way we show that violence is out of control and God's Reign is at hand. This may done at a great price to us. I don't mean we will literally be nailed to a cross. I do mean that we may face ridicule and rejections or simply be ignored and labeled as odd. God as violence out of control may mean that we risk saying and doing things that we usually would not because we are anxious of what violence might be directed toward us. And yet, we have been promised a gift - a Spirit - one that will stand with us and empower us through all things.
O God of love and new life, make us a bold witness to your loving Reign that daily puts violence out of control. Amen.
How can it be!? How can violence be out of control of the life that will face us this day? The witness of the day is too often that of violence shaping everything from the events that fly by and the words that shoot through our lives. If we hold the notion of God as violence out of control, then where is this God and how can we become a part of the reality we are taught is promised to us all? So I will sink back and ask a favor of you all - be a witness to nonviolence so that I can be encouraged. It is much to easy to fall (ha! the fall) into pay-backs - retribution - retaliation - bad-mouthing - envy - jealousy - etc. And yet, one little movement of God's reality showing itself - in you - is enough to move me. And if me, who else will be moved and then - for a moment violence is out of control and you were the inspired trigger that changed the reality of violence into the blessedness of peace. God as violence out of control does exist - I have seen it in you and I have been moved to walk that way - even when I am known for stumbling over and over again.
O God of love and new life, thank you for visions of your Reign right within this day through the lives of your beloved saints. You place us on a journey of peace with others so that we can help each other along the way - that is salvation. Praise to you, O God. Amen.
God as violence out of control means there can be other powers - other things that are will swoop in to lead and guide us. When violence is out of control are the cycles of life that so often overcome us and become us. Within the life of the followers of Jesus we say that the power that overcomes us and becomes us and leads us and guide us is the power of the Spirit of our Lord, Jesus. That is a spirit of healing and wholeness and nonviolence. God as violence out of control brings into our day the life of this Spirit that is constantly working to move us away from the life over which violence claims to be in control. God as violence out of control is like reading the sermon on the mount from Matthew or Luke. It is a strange read that seems to be beyond us and not a part of the usual run of things in life. That's right! God as violence out of control does mean that enemies can be recast into characters with whom we may enter into a loving relationship even if they insist on staying our enemies. Violence is out of control - love your neighbor and your enemy!
O God of love and new life, pull us - pull us - make us anew this day. Amen.
As I read a few lines this morning, 'violence out of control' stuck out for me. Was not sure why. Then I realize that when God is God - as God always is, God's graciousness and forgiveness and mercy and peace and nonviolent relationship are at hand and 'violence is out of control.' That is, no longer are the powers of evil the powers of death and the power of violence able to be in charge and able to control us. God as violence out of control is a statement of faith - God Reign - no other power - violence is OUT OF CONTROL. It is not easy to think like that - let alone live as though that is true. I was wondering about the articles this week in the Columbus Dispatch. They are focusing on teens and gun violence. It all seems as though violence is in control. I wondered about being a teen and living without that reality. Imagine what it would take to walk with our God as violence out of control. It would mean a different walk. It would mean we are asking our young people to not follow the way of 'an eye for an eye' or the way of destructive control of others. God as violence out of control means that we - along with our young people - must not let the violence that comes too easy to us - claim our hearts. For when that happens, our hearts will ache forever until they come to rest in God alone - where nonviolence creates life.
O God of love and new life, continue to bring us into the company of those saints who will remind us of the way you take the control of the world out of the hands of violence. Then help us rest and live and boldly live in peace. Amen.