A man whispered, “God speak to me,” and a meadowlark sang – but the man did not hear.
So the man yelled, “God answer me,” and the thunder and lightening rolled across the sky – but the man did not listen.
The man looked around and said, “God let me see you,” and a star shined brightly – but the man did not see.
And the man shouted, “God show me a miracle,” and a life was born – but the man did not notice.
So the man cried out, “Touch me God and let me know that you are here with me,” whereupon God reached down and touched the man – but the man simply brushed the butterfly away and walked on in despair.”
How often do we miss hearing the voice of God, miss feeling the touch of God, miss seeing the presence of God because the entire world looks too ordinary? Yet if there is anything to learn about the story of Jesus it is this – God comes in ordinary ways to reveal what is indeed extraordinary. The gospel tells us that God is made visible in an ordinary carpenter’s son, and the church is birthed by ordinary fisherman, and the kingdom is proclaimed through ordinary parables. God uses the ordinary to proclaim the extraordinary.
I suppose this thought has been on my mind this past week as I’ve suddenly realized that the Holiday Season has already come and gone and 2009 is now a memory. In my prayer this morning I asked myself how I’ve spent this past year – this gift from God that will never come again. I must admit that I haven’t listened well to the voice of God, or looked for God’s face, or felt God’s touch in the ordinary. Rather, I’ve moved through this year more annoyed with the chaos of my schedule, or the noise of the construction project, or the decisions that need to be made. There have been so many times that I was simply irritated by the cries of my children. I have been overwhelmed by the responsibilities that come with marriage. I have not always been graceful handling the demands of being a Dad and a spouse. I’ve complained about winter snowfalls and have run hurriedly through summer rains and I have been very much like the man in the story – and the thunder and lightening rolled across the sky – but the man did not listen.
How often this past year have I been like that man – Lord let me see you! And the snow sparkled like a billion diamonds, and the hot chocolate smelled divine, and the Christmas tree shimmered in beauty – but I did not see! How often I have been like that man – God show me a miracle! And I’ve witnessed a family surviving a death, and the courage of a little boy with cancer, and a dozen marriages and multiple baptisms and such laughter and joy on Sunday mornings – but I did not notice! How often I have been like that man – Touch me God and let me know that you are here with me! And Ben and Joey and Rachel snuggled with me on the couch, and Melissa held my hand, and a butterfly touched my cheek – and I simply carried on as if there were a thousand tomorrows!
We have come to the New Year and 2010 gives me a chance to begin again. These are my New Year’s resolutions. In the laughter and cries of Benjamin, Joey and Rachel, in the conversations with Melissa, in the singing of this congregation I will listen for the voice of God. In the warm breezes of August afternoons, and in the snowfalls of January, in the hazy stillness of summer evenings, and in the howling winds of winter, in the thunder and lightning, in the calm and the storm I will feel the touch of God. These are my resolutions – this now is my new beginning!
Every moment of every day is filled with such ordinary miracles. Let’s remember the story of Jesus. God is revealed through the ordinary. God uses the ordinary to reveal what is indeed extraordinary!