We didn't have a plan, and I strongly believe that when worshiping the Holy One a "plan" is not ever necessary. In fact, far too often, "the plan" turns into the very thing that limits us from even connecting to the One in the first place. Joel started to play his guitar. The movements of his fingers became a song which turned into typing on a keyboard to look up the lyrics, and soon we began to sing together. One song led into another song and then he cued me to open my Bible. I opened it to where it was marked. I marked it long ago and I cannot remember what lesson I was marking it for or what stage of life this passage was referring to, but I read the first words where my eyes fell.
Isaiah 43: 18-21
This week, I had the pleasure and honor of working alongside a talented young Youth Director who hired me to consult her as she planned out her year of youth ministry. After a few conversations about creativity and art, it wasn't long before she decided that she wanted her theme for the year of Youth Education to be, "Creative Mess". I actually have a sign in my kitchen that reads, "A creative mess is better than an ideal neatness". God uses everything and everyone as material for his work. His work is the remaking of the mess we have made of our lives...the re-creation of our lives. The recreation of our lives in Him.
Peterson speaks to Isaiah's message about God's work in the world as a "Salvation Symphony". This symphony is a fusion of simplicity and complexity as human beings grapple with our need to connect to The Holy while still hoping to fill that void on our own.
I believe that my life is a living expression of worship. That in all that I do and become, I am living in worship of God. When I am not actively engaged in living this way I feel disconnected, disjointed and off base. The longing that I have described above is to be connected to the Holy all the time. I ache for an experience, a knowing of holiness that is a revolution, that is powerful, that is entirely REAL! Peterson, again, says it better than I can:
"The more hours we spend pondering the words of Isaiah, the more the word “holy” changes in our understanding. If “holy” was ever a pious, pastel-tinted word in our vocabularies, the Isaiah-preaching quickly turns it into something blazing. Holiness is the most attractive quality, the most intense experience we ever get of sheer life—authentic, firsthand living, not life looked at and enjoyed from a distance. We find ourselves in on the operations of God himself, not talking about them or reading about them. Holiness is a furnace that transforms the men and women who enter it. “Holy, Holy, Holy” is not needlepoint. It is the banner of a revolution, the revolution."
I long to be living first-hand, authentically in the operations of God himself. I long for a sheer life of blazing holiness, a revolution of love and Oneness in the world. This morning, I heard myself saying to Joel, "I don't believe that God would allow this to be the desire of my heart if it is not possible or if there are not others who long for this with me." I know there is more to life than what we experience in the pews, in our surface readings of scripture, and in our good-person to-do list's. I want more. I long for more. Don't you?
How will we begin this journey with the Holy One together?