Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Earthquakes and srong foundations

I'm speaking at Forest Home this week, and I always enjoy the chance to spend time with Ridge Burns, my friend who directs this ministry. Today, after returning from lunch with Ridge, I was sitting in my room, doing some writing when I felt what I'm pretty certain was an earthquake. It was short. It was small. But it was still an earthquake. Ah, it's good to be back in California.

Earthquakes always remind me the passage in Hebrews, where we're reminded that God will once again shake the earth, so that the things which cannot be shaken might remain. Of course, the writing is cryptic enough that none of us knows exactly what is being spoken of, but it certainly has many applications. Anytime things unfold differently than anticipated, we say we're shaken. Health, finances, relationships. We'd hoped for, or expected things to unfold in this certain way and instead they are unfolding along a completely different path, and suddenly we feel adrift - the future feels uncertain.

The promise given to us is that Christ is the source of security in the midst of shaking. He is really the One thing which can never be shaken, our Rock, as He's named in the Psalms. The shaking today was mild, and the cold I'm fighting this week is a mild kind of shaking. It means I won't go swimming in the morning, and I'll eat less junk. But real shakings rattle things loose, shaking away the superficiality so that we can cling to that which really matters. I wonder if there are any thoughts about how best to prepare one's life for future shakings? Prayer and Bible study, fellowship, simple living, moving to Montana and living in a bunker with a cache of weapons? Maybe we should just pretend that things will alays go on as they are now, buying and selling, building and planting, harvesting and enjoying life? Oh wait, that's been addressed. What's your take on preparing for the shaking yet to come?


At 27/6/05 23:58, Anonymous lee said...

I often think of what my mother would do were there ever a large earthquake that would destroy her house. She long ago prioritized things - first to be saved would be the family members; if time permitted the family album and a few cherished heirlooms.

The specifics of what she would take is not the point of course, it's that she has stopped and considered her life, creating in advance a sense of what has value.

It's in the places where my life has been shaken that I see my priorities laid bare before me, the things I grasp onto immediately as my life begins to collapse are the things I have put my faith in. Relationships, my own abilities, success in work, possessions - I find myself clutching for and focusing on those things in times of trial rather than on Christ.

Being in that place is striking and every time it calls me back into a place of making Christ the first thing I reach for when my life starts to go wobbly in small and large ways. Is there any better preparation than that?


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