Thursday, June 6, 2013

Praise Our Consuming Fire

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.  Hebrews 12:28-29 (English Standard Version)

I have been doing some battles with moles in the yard.  The pesky creatures are blind and they dig around just under the ground.  Every now and then they push all the dirt from their tunnels out into these big mounds that the lawn mower doesn't like and they ruin the smooth flow of my verdant green lawn.  Sometimes when cursing these critters I am pulled up short by a random reflection that human beings are not a lot different.  We keep our noses to the ground and stay focused only on our tunnel business.  We get all stressed out by the rocks and roots we run into and stumble around with very little awareness that there is a much larger world filled with light and beauty.

The Apostle Paul felt the coming of the kingdom -- that larger world filled with God's light and inestimable beauty.  He didn't express the coming of this heavenly realm in futuristic terms, but more in language such as: "LOOK!  We are receiving this sacred place NOW and it can't be shaken."  The ONLY response to this event is to worship.  God is our consuming fire who is refining all that's wrong in life; the dross and chaff from the world is being burned up and making it as the Prophet Joel proclaimed:
  " I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.  Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit."  Joel 2:28-29 
 This transformation from moles to a redemptive celebration is happening!  It is where God is steering this boat; the course of it should result in reverence and awe.  St. Ignatius of Loyola believed that we had but one purpose in life and that was to praise God.  "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what are humans that you are mindful of them?  (Psalm 8:3)  Praise is all we can return to such a magnificent God.  Come out of your tunnels and look up.  See!

To you O God, be all power, majesty, and honor.  To you, blessed redeemer. we give all our small pettiness and ask for you to open to us the strong sense of your sacred presence.  Amen.

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