The Brendan Liturgy is named for the 6th century (484 –577) Irish monk who’s travels were written down in the form of an epic poem. Christians have used Brendan’s story for inspiration and reflection for centuries. It is divided into 16 “chapters”. I was reading the 9th at the end of November…
Brendan Liturgy Part IX: “Year after year they continue in circles over the waves…then, as they journey exactly the way they had before, waiting a glimpse of it’s beautiful, far distant shore, darkness intensifies until before their eyes the land of promise they saw…”
The question we are confronted with in this part of the Brendan saga is: “Can I trust God’s timing?” I suppose all of us would like to say, “yes”. I also suppose that if all of us were honest with ourselves, we would have to add, “but I rarely do.”
It’s not that we don’t WANT to trust God’s timing. It’s just that any timing which is indexed to anything other than our own desire feels like a burden if not a flat-out personal offense. It is the nature of fallen man.
Therefore – one must be willing to endure this sensation of offense if one is to truly surrender to God’s timing. A fascinating thing occurs, though, the more one endures: Like most efforts of this kind: it builds up a strength. Over time the sensation of burden gives way to a sensation of growth. Like building a muscle group through weight training or cardio-vascular condition through exercise, painful sensations in the body give way to feelings of euphoria.
Two weekends ago we had what some of us around the office like to call “A Big Ministry Weekend”. It’s short hand for saying that we were witness to multiple events in which the promises of God were being fulfilled. We saw people baptized, families coming together, wounds healed, people becoming inspired, all kinds of good stuff…
…it was that sensation of euphoria that comes at the end of many hard workouts. God delivers what is needed, exactly WHEN it is needed. Not before. Not after. It came together for me in a moment which I should have expected, but I didn’t: Communion.
I rushed into the Auditorium as the last song of our worship time was being played. I had been chasing something down or stomping out a fire somewhere else (I don’t remember now what it was) and I saw the elements waiting for me at the front of the room.
I fell into one of those movie special effects where everything around me blurs, or freezes, or in some other way differentiates itself from the object I have fixated on (see the scene from the Tim Burton movie “Big Fish” when the Ewan McGregor character first sees the love his life.) I then found myself sitting; elbows on knees, looking at the tiny plastic cup with the deep, purple liquid in one hand, and the tiny octagon of bread in the other, and the thought quickly but gently bloomed in my mind:
“This is what connects it all. There was a moment in time when God’s body was broken and his blood shed. Whether you’re convinced it happened 6,000 years after God spoke light into the universe, or 14.7 billion years after he did doesn’t really matter in a moment like this – because it is enough to know that it happened exactly when it should have…when it MUST have. This moment of realization for me – could not have happened before it did. As I gaze into that little pool of rich color trembling in my hand, I am aware that somewhere else on planet earth, other hands hold the cup, other eyes perceive the same color, share in the same moment – God’s moment, placed exactly where it should be.
All the moments that lead up to this “big ministry weekend” are now passed. I watch them recede into the darkness of the cup and disappear. The moments to come are concealed from view in that same darkness. The light will shine in that darkness and I will see it exactly when and where I should.
There is only now.. “I AM Present to you NOW”, He said to Moses.