April 28, 2021
Psalm 95 The Message
Laura F. Ashline
First-Centenary United Methodist Church
Scenic South District
1-2 Come, let’s shout praises to God,
raise the roof for the Rock who saved us!
Let’s march into his presence singing praises,
lifting the rafters with our hymns!
3-5 And why? Because God is the best,
High King over all the gods.
In one hand he holds deep caves and caverns,
in the other hand grasps the high mountains.
He made Ocean—he owns it!
His hands sculpted Earth!
6-7 So come, let us worship: bow before him,
on your knees before God, who made us!
Oh yes, he’s our God,
and we’re the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.
7-11 Drop everything and listen, listen as he speaks:
“Don’t turn a deaf ear as in the Bitter Uprising,
As on the day of the Wilderness Test,
when your ancestors turned and put me to the test.
For forty years they watched me at work among them,
as over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked—oh, was I provoked!
‘Can’t they keep their minds on God for five minutes?
Do they simply refuse to walk down my road?’
Exasperated, I exploded,
‘They’ll never get where they’re headed,
never be able to sit down and rest.’”
I have learned many things as a mother of now 18- and 20-year-old children, but the most important of these lessons may be the basic requirement of rest. This is naturally the need of the human body, whether for a stressed and tired mother or a fussy and anxious child, as we fall into the rhythms of fatigue and replenishment. But a more important rest, an all-consuming peaceful rest or focus, comes in the form of our leaning into God’s will. When we find ourselves secure in His love and care and we fully give into that care, a peace comes over us. We no longer need to grasp at worry and fear, but can relax as we walk His pathway and act as His hands and feet toward others. Resting in God’s vision provides a replenishment far deeper than any nap or nighttime slumber.
Children come into this world connected to the ways and timing of God. When my children were small, I became well versed in two versions of time from the Greek words: chronos and kairos. Chronos is human time, chronological and demanding and moves all together too fast, whereas kairos is “the right time,” God’s time … so perfect in its intentionality and timing. Children naturally move in kairos on strolling walks that emphasize a lengthy study of petals and earthworms and the color of the leaves with dappled light. Appreciation of others, fully listening to one another, taking time for one more story at bedtime, full engagement in the present moment and the relationships therein, tracing the shape of a child’s face with your eyes, absorbing the beauty and detail of your surroundings, taking time to connect … and really listen … all of these moments are framed by kairos.
As adults we can find ourselves easily strapped to chronos as we check our clocks and mark off lists and keep our eyes on the prize while all the time not examining the beautiful messy bits and pieces of our day-to-day lives. We rush the strolling walk, don’t examine the finite beauty around us, and miss the moment. Too lost in our own plans and disconnected to God’s plan and timing, we find we can lose, or at least muddy, our connection to God’s purpose. Suddenly, much time has passed, and we have slipped off His path. Leaning into kairos gives us the opportunity to be in awe and relationship with others and with our God. To be in relationship with our God takes our full focus on Him and laying down of our distractions and quarrels less we miss the very work He has meant for us. We can’t expect to feel His peace unless we engage with Him, focus on Him, and rest in the knowledge that He’s always held us and we’ve always belonged to Him.
Praise God in all His glory and in this creation in which He has immersed us. We are part of Him and His beautifully awesome creation. To prevent our sins and our distracted focuses from separating us from His love and care, we must lean back and rest in His plan for us. Take the pathway of kairos … do not miss the details of the flowers, the chance to listen, the ability to build relationship with others and ultimately with God. Then the peaceful fulfillment of God’s plan may wash over you and you may “… sit down and rest.”
Help me lean into your ways, O God, and feel the peacefulness of the rest that comes from my focus on my relationship with you. Amen.