In one of the earlier posts called "Distracted Disciples," Freddy Taul opens our eyes to just how distracted we are due to all of the recent advances in technology. Technology, like our phones, are like a loud, rude, intrusive person, who barges into our conversations and quiet moments. Freddy bravely quit social media, and, reflecting on his experience, observed;
"A relief I felt was immediate and palpable. I was free to be present with my family, present at work, and most importantly to be present with the Lord. "
Like Freddy, I am not asking you all to give up social media, but to consider its impact and how you should respond. This challenge to "be present" has been, for some time now, bouncing around in my mind, a melody reverberating in the echo chamber of my soul. Just like a loud, clear musical note played into the strings of a piano, the correlating strings begin to vibrate showing the note played is in tune. The melody ringing in my soul has transformed into this thought of "being present" so that when another note is played nearby in tune with that, it resonates within me.
One such note faintly began ring while studying John 1:1-2 (ESV).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”
Twice, John makes powerful and pivotal points saying that the Word was "with" God. There are many great and foundational truths that our faith in Jesus is built on in these first two verses of John. What began to resonate with me was the vision of a perfect intimate community within the triune nature of God. Commenting on these verses, Kyle Beshears has brought up that "the Word," Jesus, is in loving, relational proximity to the Father, and that we, who are in Christ (Eph 1), share in that same eternal blessing.
Out of the burning bush, God revealed to Moses his name, "I AM,” declaring that God was “present" there with him and everywhere. That ringing melody of God's presence within Himself and with us bolsters my soul. When I pray through Psalm 23, and read, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I don't have to fear evil.” Why do I not fear evil? The Psalmist uses that very personal pronoun saying you, are "with" me. Throughout the metanarrative of scripture plays this glorious song of God being with us. He was with us in the garden, later providing for Abraham a sacrifice, then dwelling with his people in the wilderness, The Word putting on flesh and dwelling among in the gospel of John, obedient to death (Phil 2), and sending His Spirit, the Helper, to help us understand all that he has said to us (John 14:26). If what comes from the mouth does indeed proceed from the heart (Matthew 15:18) and “the Word” is the God-breathed word from (2 Timothy 3:16), then we have been shown the heart of God in his Word that we may know Jesus and believe, that He may be “with” us and us “with” him.
Consequently, we must then be “with” one another in response to His presence with us. We have to do . . . I must do a better job at being present with those around me. To follow the great missionary Jim Elliot’s words, “where ever you are, be there.” Elliot, like Jesus, embodies this to perfection all the way to death and, Jesus comes and lives in our heart. As we begin this new year, starting the study of the Gospel of John, we all have an opportunity to take part in this grand song. To not only be present during church gatherings, or with our families, but also to seek out a community group to join here at Mars Hill Church. A community group to be truly present with, to share life with, with which to walk through the Word of the Lord, growing together in Holiness.
May the Lord Tune our Hearts to sing of His Grace, of His streams of mercies never ending and call us to songs of loudest praise.