Kingdom of the Crickets

I’m in the metropolis of Greenville, NY tonight.

There are virtually no people in Greenville, but as I sit, learning still how to be silent before the Lord, it becomes clear to me that there must be 100,000 crickets and frogs here with me.  We are not alone here.

And the Lord is here, too, as I keep silence before him.  Not for any impressive period of time, mind you, as I am again re-learning how to shut off the sound of my world and let the voice of the Lord enter into the conversation.

Today is a day that I need in particular to listen to that voice.  I need it most every day, but today is a day that even someone as thick as me recognizes my need to quit with easy answers and quick responses.  Today is a day to be as silent as Job’s friends should have stayed.  Today is a day to barely even ask “why?”, but to simply hear.

To remember that even if I were to ask “why?”, it might just be that the answer would be incomprehensible to my foolish ears and my untuned heart.  Before I listen to the Lord, really listen, and let his word enter me in ways I am not accustomed to letting it, even my “why” – let alone the answer I would then turn and offer to the masses – would mean less than the crickets and their chirping.

So, silence it is.  Lord, you are, and it is a miracle that you would speak to us at all.  But please, do speak to us, even if it strips us bare as the cedars of Lebanon.  We need your word, even here, in the kingdom of crickets and frogs.

Preaching about Singing, Singing about Suffering

Yesterday’s sermon came out of Jeremiah 31:31-34. It’s a passage of hope and beauty about the New Covenant. It’s also a text that’s pointing the reader forward. The original recipients, exiled Judah, were being pointed to a promise that even though they were going back into a wilderness, there was going to be something of God for them on the other side. In fact, there would be something better; unfortunately for them, we’re still waiting for that something. For us, too, we are wilderness walkers, even the best of us, on our way to a place where God’s law courses through our veins and worship is worship, not 3 songs and a prayer that we might learn something new from the preacher today.

So, having looked at that text yesterday and still steeping in it today, I was caught by surprise to realize that i was listening to the old song “Wilderness” by The Choir, one of my favorite bands since, well, pretty much forever, as far as musical tastes go. Here’s the chorus:

Is your faith so right
Are you so blessed
Everybody wanders in the forest
Is your heart so true
Are you that good
Everybody wanders in the woods
Everybody wanders in the forest
Everybody wanders in the wilderness

It’s true. Every one of us. Thank you, God, that we’re not alone.