Hiding God’s Word in our Hearts

July 8, 2010

By Erin Conaway, Associate Pastor

Sam recently became fascinated with hiding things.  He’s three and a half now and just loves to find the perfect spot for one of his cars or a bouncy ball.  That’s all fine and good until he hides his puppy and it’s bedtime and we can’t find it.  Then the whole house goes into search and rescue mode and we leave no pillow, cushion, chair, drawer, or cabinet unturned or unopened.  I remember being enamored with hiding places when I was little.  There’s just something wonderful about finding a spot out of the way, where one of your G.I. Joe men will fit or where a special Lego creation can rest without fear of being destroyed by a big brother or sister.

Now, I am finding little signs of Sam all over the house.  When I put my shoes on in the morning, there is usually a T-Rex taking a nap in one of them.  A few times I’ve opened my computer bag at the office to find a little alligator or a race car carefully perched just beneath the flap.  Sometimes I open the drawer to get a fork and there’s a dump truck sitting with the spoons.  I love it and know that when this season of hiding gives way to something else, I will miss these little signs of Sam all over the place—maybe even the occasional marble in my shoe.

The Psalmist writes in Psalm 119:10-12:

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees.

I love the idea that when we hide God’s word in our hearts there are signs of God all around our hearts.  When we go to that place in our heart that is overwhelmed with joy and gladness, we find “Rejoice it the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice!” or when we visit the place of sadness in our hearts and open a drawer of memories we find, “You do not know what I am doing now, but later you will understand.”  It is imperative that we continue to read and study Scripture, and hide verses in our hearts in various places because we need those signs of God’s presence in every nook and cranny as we journey through life.

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God is good

February 5, 2010

By Kevin Sinclair, Minister to Youth

The Psalmist in 34:8 implores us to “taste and see that God is good,” but how could this be possible? How are we to taste God? How are we even to see the Divine? We are taught from a young age that God is invisible, you cannot see the Divine, and we become more aware as we grow that God is ineffable, nor can you speak of the Divine, for our words will always fall short of the majesty, the beauty, the grace, and the power of the Numious, as Otto and Jung call it. We as Christians have a wholly different confession about our capacity to witness this mysterious deity, for we know and follow, “the image of the invisible God,” who is Christ Jesus, our Lord and Friend. But, this brings me back to the original question: how are we, in our limited humanity, to taste and see God?

Perhaps our ability to savor such a text discovers a grand impediment due to our Western obession with cognitive knowledge and rational proof. Do not get me wrong, there is a “thought-ful-ness” to faith. The Psalmist shares with us his love for meditating day and night of the laws and precepts of God, so that he might keep his ways pure. These ethical reflections are not merely on behavior and duty, freedom and responsibility, no…they are reflections on the very character and nature of God and the God-imaged-ness out of which we are all created–God commands us to be loving, because God is loving…God commands us to be holy because God is holy.

Nonetheless, our minds becomes polluted with the obsession and hubris to “figure out” or to “dissect” as if my ability to slice open a human cadavor and observe the complex systems of organs could in anyway explain to me how a human can show courage in the face of tragedy, or love in the face of hate. Anatomical understanding of a human does not exhaust the vastness that is the human. Why? Because we have to experience an-other to know an-other! We could spend the entirety of our lives with one other person and never know all there is to know about that person. There will always been experiences, memories, and stories that we have never heard, and there will always be experiences, memories, and stories to create with that other person. We must taste life with them to know them…we must witness and experience their goodness. Such is our life with God.

God invites us into relationship, not out of obligation, but out of devotion and compassion. God invites us to taste and see because life is more than rational proofs and cognitive propositions (How dreadfully boring God must think our droning of hymns sounds when we merely assent with the mind and tongue, but allow nothing to sink into our hearts and actions). Taste…and see…that God…is good. Remember the most delicious dish you have ever eaten? Remember how the flavors layered upon each other giving rise to new sensations of the palate? Remember the sense of satisfaction after the meal was finished, but how quickly our hunger builds again later in the day? God desires for us to desire God in such a way. God desire us to live life in this way…abundantly.

Jesus came so that we might have life, and have it abundantly. So let us all together share in that life by tasting…AND seeing, that God is good.


Marry Me

August 19, 2009

Erin ConawayBy Erin Conaway, Associate Pastor

Alex and I were driving around town the other day and she mentioned to me that she was going to marry me.  I said, “You want to marry me?  Why is that?”  I admit I was hoping to stretch out this particular conversation as long as it would go because we’ve already had moments when she’s told me I’m a bad dad because I’m making her clean up her toys or brush her teeth or something as awful as sharing with her little brother, Sam.  So for the sake of balance, I decided to milk this one for all it’s worth.  She responded to my question with a beautiful little phrase I won’t soon forget, “Because you’re my nuff (a cute little term of endearment we share) and I want to be with you always and forever.”  My heart just melted.  I was a puddle of daddy goo in the front seat all noodle arms from her blast of love.  Then I took it one step too far and said, “But I’m married to mommy—what are we going to do about that?”  She looked at my watery eyes in the rear-view mirror and said without missing a beat, “Okay, then I’ll marry Sam—he’s nice.”

A few weeks later we were driving around again and listening to the Indigo Girls and I could gradually hear her singing louder and louder.  At one point I looked up and saw her little face in the mirror, filled with sincerity, gazing out of the window and singing with her whole heart.  Again, I was filled with wonder and love at my little girl, singing her heart out—not always on pitch or with the right words, but singing from her soul.

I think that’s what Psalmist’s meant when they wrote about making a joyful noise to God—as our heavenly parent, I can picture God loving every minute of our singing, regardless of our ability to sing like the members of our choir or our ability to get the words right or even understand them all.  And I know that in the same way I hear behind what my sweet little four year old says when she tells me she wants to marry me, God understands our fumbling attempts to give praise and offer thanksgiving for God’s love and provision in our lives.  We should tell God of our love, even if we’re sure we’re not going to get the words right.  And we should sing…from that place deep within us that’s longing to be heard.

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