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Posts Tagged ‘potential’

I amSo many times I have read about the great “I AM,” the God of all Gods, the one God who cannot really be named or explained. When Moses asked who should I tell the Israelites in Egypt sent me to them, and he was told:

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord [I AM], the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ [Exodus 3:14-15]

But in the notes, this I AM phrase has alternative meaning: I will be what I will be. And decidedly, in English at least, this brings up a whole new array of possibilities.

I am still working on a full engagement with the present. This idea crosses over into a variety of disciplines both Eastern and Western. It is accepting the now, being full in the now, and living it without remorse for what is past or fear of the future.

But now I am challenged to consider as well this more open-ended God who is and will be. Not that I didn’t know that of course, but I find it intriguing to ponder God, perhaps as a point within me for the now and then stretching outward my center self in an ever growing, ever widening funnel of “God Self.” God is now but also God is potential, forever.

God is telling Moses, “No worries: here now and here tomorrow.” All of time is God’s now.

How can we not be grateful for the invitation to be in relationship with this God of today and forever? There are not enough songs to sing, poems to recite, or words to say that can capture the wonder of God in me and in the universe, a personal God and a cosmic One. This is the reason we glorify God. This is the reason we praise. This is the reason we surrender.

Who sends you?

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ImpossibleIt’s been the word of the season at Restore Church this year: impossible. And it’s a word that all believers must hear, should hear, need to hear and understand. This word is about us today and our faith. This word is about the extent to which God will do something from nothing. Thanks Pastor Jess Bousa for this word, now illuminated.

It sounds impossible, but listen—you know your relative Elizabeth has been unable to bear children and is now far too old to be a mother. Yet she has become pregnant, as God willed it. Yes, in three months, she will have a son. So the impossible is possible with God. [Luke 1:36-37, The Voice]

The concept is a simple one, that the impossible cannot be expected: it is a miracle after all. And yet these miracles are among us every day but we fail to give them their due. Isn’t it a miracle that a man, like Jess, could be transformed from full-blown drug addict to pastor of a thriving church? Or that I, a self-indulgent, pot-smoking, foul-mouthed actress wannabe could become a follower of the Christ? Or that my children, all adopted, would be “the ones” out of a million orphans to come into our family? All of our lives are filled with the miracles of impossible when God takes the raw material of “nothing” and makes something. Whether one sees the Genesis story as word for word real or symbolic, the message is the same: Creator God is a Maker God, who uses building blocks that none of us can really fathom. Something from nothing. Possible from impossible.

In Greek, impossible is adynateō with meanings that bridge the distance between weakness, inability, and powerlessness to the bottom line: it cannot be done. And God asks me, when will I see and understand the adynateō in myself? Not weakness in what I want to do, my dreams and ambitions. No. This is the weakness in the face of what God wants to do. In Corinthians 12:9, God speaks through Paul saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God is talking about the God Plan in Paul’s life and ultimately, in my life too.

God’s power manifests in doing God’s plan. 

impossible triangleOh, silly me. I have missed this obvious all along. I keep trying to get the blessing (and success) for my ideas, my plans, my ambitions, my projects. But there has been little room in my masterminding for the impossible, the unexpected, the miracles of God.

How many sermons and teachings have we heard about knowing God’s will for our lives, as though we might be able to figure out the impossible?

This is the only time I can truly say that the cliche, “whatever,” used by teens for the last decade or so, is truly the correct word in this situation. Our surrender to God is a “whatever.” That is, whatever God wants to do, whatever the Holy Spirit wants to manifest, whatever is possible in God’s cosmos, I choose to embrace today.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am sure this is not a passivity where we simply lie down on a bed and wait for a miracle. If anything, it’s a reckless abandonment of my narrow views in favor of the expansive potentialities of God.

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It’s a baby, a little, little baby. How sweet. How cute. What potential!

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. [Luke 2:12, NIV]

babyIn Greek, the word is brephos, which can either mean an unborn child or a newborn child, but interestingly enough, this word is gender neutral. As a result, this is the same word that is used for the baby that Elizabeth carries in her womb and “leaps for joy” when Mary came to visit [Luke 1:41], along with six other references. And my favorite reference is in I Peter 2:2, where brethos is used to describe young believers who should crave “spiritual milk,” and cast off the food of the world.

But I’m getting off track. I wanted instead to talk about a baby’s potential. You see, from the outside in, we do not know what is in store for every baby we see. Facebook is filled with pictures of babies, taken by proud parents, who are full of hope and expectations for their baby. They want to give this baby the best of everything, the opportunities, the nourishment, the foundation. They love this baby so much.

And yet, how many mothers collapse in grief when their child becomes a murderer or a drug addict or an abuser? How did this happen? What happened to all that potential?

We know that prophecies abounded about the Christ child who would come into the world innocently enough, but who knew his life would only last 33 years? Who knew he would be mostly rejected? Who knew, really, that it would all happen to this particular baby? Not even the mother knew for sure, despite the miraculous circumstances of his birth. She continued to ponder all those things in her heart [Luke 2:19]

A baby depends on the “village” around him/her to grow and become. If we succeed, if God’s intent is encouraged and prevails, we have a saint. But if we fail that child, what then?

Hitler’s First Photograph
——-Wislawa Szymborska

And who’s this little fellow in his itty-bitty robe?
That’s tiny baby Adolf, the Hitlers little boy!
Will he grow up to be an LL.D.?
Or a tenor in Vienna’s Opera House?
Whose teensy hand is this, whose little ear and eye and nose?
Whose tummy full of milk, we just don’t know:
printer’s, doctor’s, merchant’s, priest’s?
Where will those tootsy-wootsies finally wander?
To garden, to school, to an office, to a bride,
maybe to the Burgermeister’s daughter?

Precious little angel, mommy’s sunshine, honeybun,
while he was being born a year ago,
there was no dearth of signs on the earth and in the sky:
spring sun, geraniums in windows,
the organ-grinder’s music in the yard,
a lucky fortune wrapped in rosy paper,
then just before the labor his mother’s fateful dream:
a dove seen in dream means joyful news,
if it is caught, a long-awaited guest will come.
Knock knock, who’s there, it’s Adolf’s heartchen knocking.

A little pacifier, diaper, rattle, bib,
our bouncing boy, thank God and knock on wood, is well,
looks just like his folks, like a kitten in a basket,
like the tots in every other family album.
Shush, let’s not start crying, sugar,
the camera will click from under that black hood.

The Klinger Atelier, Grabenstrasse, Braunau,
and Braunau is small but worthy town,
honest businesses, obliging neighbors,
smell of yeast dough, of gray soap.
No one hears howling dogs, or fate’s footsteps.
A history teacher loosens his collar
and yawns over homework.

— Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavenagh, translators
from The People on the Bridge

 

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