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Tick tock

Pastoral Messages | November 28, 2017

Nestled into the northwest corner of our building here on Brady Street is a grand old house. While offices take up much of the house these days, the living room of that house continues to be called the living room. Various groups of people meet there on couches and solid chairs for study and conversation. Couples are married in front of the fireplace with intimate collections of family and friends. Funerals are planned as sun streams in the big windows.

I have spent a lot of time in our beloved church house living room, so I was surprised to have recently discovered something about that room that I’ve missed. It’s not some unique aspect of the architecture, or the beautiful tile work around the hearth. I had never noticed that the clock on the wall ticks, and ticks loudly.

I noticed it for the first time a few weeks ago. Every fall I help lead a grief group of support and care for people stepping into new life after a loved one has died. I had been rushing around, as often happens on a Sunday morning. I came in late to a room that was already loud with conversation and connecting. So we lit a candle and the room quieted as we opened with prayer. I took a deep breath before speaking those words of gratitude and hope, mostly to still my own rushing mind and quickly beating heart. And in that silence, I heard it. The clock was ticking. Loudly.

I’d never noticed it before. But there it was, making each second known. After that prayer, for the rest of our time together, I couldn’t stop hearing it. As we talked, told stories, laughed and cried, I kept on hearing that simple, repeated pulse of the tick and tock. It wasn’t distracting, just there, persistent and regular and dependable. A steady undertone of our conversation.

God’s love is like that constant rhythmic undertone in our lives. It’s always there, ready to assure us, encourage us, and guide us. But we so often fail to notice it. Our lives become noisy and loud, making it nearly impossible to hear the whispers (and sometimes shouting) of our God who says, “I love you.”

But just because we can’t hear it, doesn’t mean that love is not there. God’s heart keeps beating, pulsing in love for us and this world. These are busy days for many of us, as we rush between our regular stuff and all the extra things of the holidays. There’s not only worry of our own expectations and longings but fears for our world and future. In the midst of all of is, God’s love for you keeps on going, like the tick tock of that living room clock. Steady and dependable and so very present.

When we make it a practice to stop and listen through prayer and worship, we’ll be able to hear that abiding tick tock of grace even in the noisiest of time. So take a minute or ten, or a full hour this weekend, and open your heart to listen. You’ll hear what’s been there all along, the ticking and tocking of grace, permeating every second of our lives with God’s love.

Sara Olson-Smith, associate pastor

4 Comments on “Tick tock”

  • Bill Klinkenberg

    December 4, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Great message! As it reflects back to Jean and my getting married in the Living Room 8 years ago. It warms my heart to hear that the room has touched so many people in significant life events. We participated in grief groups in that quiet space, along with meditation groups. Remembering also the new member groups that gathered there, once a month, before coming into the church sanctuary together. Also, remembering the funeral of our beloved Bud Fox and how we gathered there before the walk into the service. With this many memories from just one person, it speaks volumes just how many “ticks and tocks” that old clock has seen over the years. What a special “living room” it is.

  • Rosita Tendall

    December 1, 2017 at 8:05 am

    I thought your focus on the clock would be about the brevity of our lives as the clock “tick tocks” away the seconds but THIS…this is the truth we need to remember. Ditto to Priscilla Hull above!

  • Carol Seitz

    November 30, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Thank you, Sarah for hearing God’s love in the mundane things of life. Sometimes I feel His presence in the heartbeats.

  • Priscilla Hull

    November 30, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Such a comforting message…thank you for living in the moment and showing me ways to be mindful of God’s presence in my everyday surroundings.

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Isaiah 53:4-12

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered

That He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied;

By His knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors.

Psalm 91:9-16

9For you have made the LORD, my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place.

10No evil will befall you,

Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11For He will give His angels charge concerning you,

To guard you in all your ways.

12They will bear you up in their hands,

That you do not strike your foot against a stone.

13You will tread upon the lion and cobra,

The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

15“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will rescue him and honor him.

16“With a long life I will satisfy him

And let him see My salvation.”

Hebrews 5:1-10

The Perfect High Priest

1For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;2he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;3and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.4And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.

5So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,

“YOU ARE MY SON,

TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”;

6just as He says also in another passage,

“YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER

ACCORDING TOTHE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.”

7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,10being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Mark 10:35-45

35James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, *came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”36And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”37They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”39They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.40“But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.42Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.43“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;44and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.45“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Bartimaeus Receives His Sight