Tag Archives: Isaiah 29

Reflecting on Life Changes

The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth

    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me

    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”
Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)

Thanksgiving is a day of reflection. Wendy and I certainly felt all the normal moments of gratitude yesterday. We are so abundantly blessed in so many ways, and we are so grateful.

I found that my reflection in recent days has stretched beyond the normal annual checklist of family, friends, community, provision, and regular blog readers. With my 50th birthday still relatively close in the rear-view mirror, I’ve been reflecting on the ways I feel my entire life changing this year.

I’m sleeping more, which is a huge paradigm shift for me. I’ve spent my entire life struggling with insomnia and being a chronic early riser. Instead of averaging 5-7 hours a night of sleep I find myself sleeping 8-9 hours a night and being much slower about getting out of bed in the morning.

The loss of 1-3 of waking hours, on average, has also changed my daily routines. For almost a decade I’ve rarely missed writing a blog post (or two) each weekday morning. I suddenly find my daily routines struggling to find equilibrium with my changing biorhythms. I’ve had to allow myself grace in the shift. If there are any regular readers out there who have noticed the more regular lapses in my posts, I beg your grace as well. It is what it is. My routines are increasingly whacked out.

There are also spiritual paradigms shifting along with the physical ones. I find myself being far less religious and more deeply Spiritual. I’m increasingly open and less uptight with just about everything. Rules increasingly matter less to me than relationships. My understanding of God is expanding rapidly in unexpected ways while I feel my own admitted sense of self-importance receding. I feel as though I’m just beginning to understand what Jesus meant when He said that the entirety of the law is summed up in the command to love God fully and love my neighbor as I love myself. I’m feeling a bit sheepish about it taking me so long to get here.

As I read the words the ancient prophet Isaiah penned (pasted above) this morning I was reminded that Jesus quoted this passage directly*. I feel like I’m just beginning to understand the heart of God’s message to me. More heart, less lips. More heart worship, less rote ritual. More heart relationships, less rule keeping. I’m beginning to experience the differences, and it makes me excited for where my journey is leading me (in my shorter waking hours :-))

In a little synchronicity, I received this quote from Fr. Rohr in my inbox this morning:

Evolutionary thinking is actually contemplative thinking because it leaves the full field of the future in God’s hands and agrees to humbly hold the present with what it only tentatively knows for sure. Evolutionary thinking agrees to both knowing and not knowing, at the same time. To stay on the ride, to trust the trajectory, to know it is moving, and moving somewhere always better, is just another way to describe faith. We are all in evolution all the time, it seems to me. It is the best, the truest, way to think. —Richard Rohr, “Evolutionary Thinking”

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*Matthew 15:9-8; Mark 7:6-7

Chapter-a-Day Isaiah 29

Where's Waldo. The Master said: "These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their hearts aren't in it. Because they act like they're worshiping me but don't mean it…. Isaiah 29:13 (MSG)

Sometimes, I step back and try to see a bigger picture. I look at my life and everyone in it like a Where's Waldo book in which everyone I know is walking around on one big opened, panoramic page. I look and see believers who say all the right things and are sure to be seen in the right evangelical circles and settings, but then I listen as they make contemptuous observations about others and pass judgment as if their butts were big enough to occupy the Judgement Seat of Christ. I see the blissfully ignorant. I see hard-hearted standing in their own form of judgmental obstinance. I see the runaway. I see the rebellious. I see the broken, and I see genuine hearted searching.

Looking at the broad mental picture of these different individuals and groups, I remind myself that it was the religious establishment - the good, and upright followers of God that received the lion's share of Jesus' angry rebuke. While it was the sinful, the broken, and the hard hearted who received a generous portion of Jesus' time, attention, love and grace.

Where am I in this big picture? If you look for me, where will you find Tom? Am I with the judgmental religious establishment? Am I found in the picture where I'm most comfortable? Am I found where Jesus would be (and is)?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and silvery