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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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Daniel 12:1-3

The Time of the End

1“Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.2“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.3“Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Psalm 16

1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.

2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;

I have no good besides You.”

3As for the saints who are in the earth,

They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.

4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;

I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,

Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;

You support my lot.

6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;

Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;

Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.

8I have set the LORD continually before me;

Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will dwell securely.

10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

11You will make known to me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Hebrews 10:11-25

11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD,13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HISENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

16“THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM

AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD:

I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART,

AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,”

He then says,

17“AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS

I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”

18Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

A New and Living Way

19Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since we have a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Christ or Judgment

Mark 13:1-8

Things to Come

1As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”5And Jesus began to say to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.6“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.7“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end.8“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

Daniel 7:9-14

9“I kept looking

Until thrones were set up,

And the Ancient of Days took His seat;

His vesture was like white snow

And the hair of His head like pure wool.

His throne was ablaze with flames,

Its wheels were a burning fire.

10“A river of fire was flowing

And coming out from before Him;

Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,

And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;

The court sat,

And the books were opened.

11“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire.12“As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.

The Son of Man Presented

13“I kept looking in the night visions,

And behold, with the clouds of heaven

One like a Son of Man was coming,

And He came up to the Ancient of Days

And was presented before Him.

14“And to Him was given dominion,

Glory and a kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations and men of every language

Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed.

The Vision Interpreted

Psalm 93

1The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;

The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;

Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.

2Your throne is established from of old;

You are from everlasting.

3The floods have lifted up, O LORD,

The floods have lifted up their voice,

The floods lift up their pounding waves.

4More than the sounds of many waters,

Than the mighty breakers of the sea,

The LORD on high is mighty.

5Your testimonies are fully confirmed;

Holiness befits Your house,

O LORD, forevermore.

Revelation 1:-4-8

John 18:33-37

33Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”35Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?”36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”