Sunday, November 28, 2010


It is Advent Sunday today!

The first Sunday in Advent, and my Daily Devotional today entitled "Shaping a Silence" fits well with the theme of preparing ourselves for Jesus.

My daily devotional is called "Encounter with God" and is published by Scripture Union [2]. I think it is kosher (regarding copywrite) to publish the whole thing as it is only one page out of three months (about 130 pages), so it is certainly less than 10%; besides my motive is to promote their materials.

"The apprentice who learns to hear the whisper of God in the silence of prayer will soon learn to hear that same whisper in the clamour of a broken world' [1]
The reading is Psalm 131 taken from the New King James Version (NKJV)

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

(1) LORD, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty. 
Neither do I concern myself with great matters, 
Nor with things too profound for me. 

(2a) Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
(2b) Like a weaned child with his mother; 
Like a weaned child is my soul within me. 

(3) O Israel, hope in the LORD
From this time forth and forever.

Back to the text from the devotional ...
One of the questiops that runs like a thread through the Bible and hovers just below the surface of the Psalms is that of God's acceptance. Whose prayer does God hear? Whose offering is received? What kind of worship does God accept? This is a profoundly human question.
If God is the all-powerful Maker of the world, how do I reach him? David's answer in Psalm 131 is threefold. Knowing that these words are written by a successful king, surrounded by the pomp and ceremony of political power and religious ritual, the three attitudes he mentions seem counter-intuitive.
The first is humility (verse 1). To know my place. To accept the limitations of my perspective. To know that there are things I don't know. I come to God not on the basis of power and pride, but of humble self-awareness. To enter his presence, I leave my awards and achievements at the door. The second is stillness (verse 2a). There is movement and activity to be stopped, and there are noises to be silenced. Unless I create a space in which to meet God, I will not meet him. This is the meaning of Sabbath - sacred space carved out from our stressful and self-focused activities. 
The third is trust (verse 2b). David, the warrior-politician, chooses the unexpected image of a baby in the arms of its mother. Fed, satisfied, replete, the child leans with total trust into the mother's embrace. Without such trust, how can I come into God's presence? 
In the place of pride, I come humbly. In the hunger of my soul, I trust. Such is the spirituality of the poet-king. Such is his desire for the nation (verse 3), and such is the promise of Jesus: 'Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.' [Matthew 11:28-29 NRKJV]
'In the frenzy of a frantic day, 
I shape a space called silence. 
Only moments long 
but wider than the world, and deeper. 
Meet me here, my God.' 

[1] [1] Gerard and Chrissie Kelly, "Intimate With the Ultimate," Authentic, 2009

[2] [1 About Scripture Union
Scripture Union is an international mission movement that was founded over 140 years ago. We work in over 120 countries making God's good news known to children, young people and families and encouraging people of all ages to meet God daily through the Bible and prayer. Our goal: that all may come to a personal faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, grow in Christian maturity and become both committed church members and servants of a world in need.
They have websites for all over the world; here's  Scripture Union Canada

Gurth Whitaker
Calgary, Alberta

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