Tag Archives: presence

Living Together

A grandiose building plan. A fabulous place to live.  Everything you could want.  And then the light dawns…

The Lord’s Message to David

King David moved into his new palace, and the Lord let his kingdom be at peace. Then one day, as David was talking with Nathan the prophet, David said, “Look around! I live in a palace made of cedar, but the sacred chest has to stay in a tent.”

Nathan replied, “The Lord is with you, so do what you want!”

That night, the Lord told Nathan to go to David and give him this message:

David, you are my servant, so listen to what I say. Why should you build a temple for me? I didn’t live in a temple when I brought my people out of Egypt, and I don’t live in one now. A tent has always been my home wherever I have gone with them. I chose leaders and told them to be like shepherds for my people Israel. But did I ever say anything to even one of them about building a cedar temple for me?

David, this is what I, the Lord All-Powerful, say to you. I brought you in from the fields where you took care of sheep, and I made you the leader of my people. Wherever you went, I helped you and destroyed your enemies right in front of your eyes. I have made you one of the most famous people in the world.

10 I have given my people Israel a land of their own where they can live in peace, and they won’t have to tremble with fear any more. Evil nations won’t bother them, as they did 11 when I let judges rule my people. And I have kept your enemies from attacking you.

Now I promise that you and your descendants will be kings. 12 I’ll choose one of your sons to be king when you reach the end of your life and are buried in the tomb of your ancestors. I’ll make him a strong ruler, 13 and no one will be able to take his kingdom away from him. He will be the one to build a temple for me. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son.

David has a sudden attack of guilt.  He has built himself a beautiful palace.  He had gone to a lot of trouble and expense, and when he thinks about it, he feels bad that he has left God, the sacred chest, out in a tent.

But God speaks to him quite clearly.  He doesn’t want a special Temple building.  He doesn’t want a special place. He has always lived in a tent, among the people.

Whilst David’s intentions might be good, God wants to be with his people, where they are, not put away in a special place.   God wants to be one with his people, living with them, going where they go – not stuck in a building.  He was where they were, if a permanent structure was built, the people would have to come to him – a huge shift in the kind of relationship God had with his people.

Later a Temple was built, and with it a whole list of rules about how God could be accessed.  He was no longer there amongst them, but behind several walls – and it took God a long time, and Jesus, to break back out of it!

As we think of our lives, how do we want it?  Do we want God in a special place, somewhere where we have to go to him, or living with us where we are.

How are you going to make that happen in your life and your community?

Thank you Lord

that you are where I am,

you are not an aloof God,

living in a special building;

but a God who is about and about,

in all the places where your people,

everyone,

is.

Help me to remember that.

That you are in the everyday,

and not just the “special”,

and to live that way.

Bringing It Home

In a great summer of sport, the nation remains desperate for someone to bring a trophy home.  Football especially seems to believe that any football trophy belongs here, the home of football as we know it.  Or look at the sheer hysteria created around the fact that a British man may have won Wimbledon – we want to bring things home.

David Brings the Sacred Chest Back to Jerusalem

6 David brought together thirty thousand of Israel’s best soldiers and led them to Baalah in Judah, which was also called Kiriath-Jearim. They were going there to get the sacred chest and bring it back to Jerusalem. The throne of the Lord All-Powerful is above the winged creatures on top of this chest, and he is worshipped there.

They put the sacred chest on a new ox cart and started bringing it down the hill from Abinadab’s house. Abinadab’s sons Uzzah and Ahio were guiding the ox cart, with Ahio walking in front of it. Some of the people of Israel were playing music on small harps and other stringed instruments, and on tambourines, castanets, and cymbals. David and the others were happy, and they danced for the Lord with all their might.

Right away, David went to Obed Edom’s house to get the chest and bring it to David’s City. Everyone was celebrating. 13 The people carrying the chest walked six steps, then David sacrificed an ox and a choice cow. 14 He was dancing for the Lord with all his might, but he wore only a linen cloth. 15 He and everyone else were celebrating by shouting and blowing horns while the chest was being carried along.

16 Saul’s daughter Michal looked out her window and watched the chest being brought into David’s City. But when she saw David jumping and dancing for the Lord, she was disgusted.

17 They put the chest inside a tent that David had set up for it. David worshipped the Lord by sacrificing animals and burning them on an altar, 18 then he blessed the people in the name of the Lord All-Powerful. 19 He gave all the men and women in the crowd a small loaf of bread, some meat, and a handful of raisins, and everyone went home.

The people wanted the sacred chest bringing back to its rightful place, to Jerusalem.

The ark of the covenant was the representation of God’s presence with them, the throne of God himself.  It had travelled with them until it had been captured by the Philistines, and they wanted it back, they wanted God back home with them.  And so the chest came back with great rejoicing.

The story of their desperation to have the chest back among them and their rejoicing when it is, makes me reflect on God’s presence among us.

Am I desperate for God to be with me?  To know his presence where I am?  Do I want the presence of God home with me?  Or am I not bothered?  Would I miss it?

Do I do all I can to make sure that God has his rightful place in my community?

Lord,

I thank you for your presence with me

every day.

I pray that I may not take it for granted,

but rejoice that your relationship with me

is personal and ongoing.

May I

do all that I can

to make your presence known

in the places where I am

that others may know your love and presence too.

Hurry Up Jesus

He’s here, he’s here at last.  He can help, I know he can.  My daughter is so ill, but I just know that he is the one who can help.

I’ve heard so much about this Jesus – the amazing things he’s done in people’s lives – freeing them from all kinds of things that have held them and crushed them.

If he can’t help then my daughter will die, I know she will.  But he’s so busy, there is so much need and so many people want a bit of him.

Yet he comes with me!

Lots of others followed too.  I suppose they wanted to see what miracle he would achieve this time.  There was lots of pushing and shoving, people wanting the best spots, wanting to talk to him as we jostled along.

Then Jesus stopped.  He wanted to know who had touched him.  Silly question if you ask me, there’s so many crowding round.  Doesn’t he realise the seriousness of my daughter’s condition, how dire the situation?  Time is of the essence here, and Jesus wants to ask daft questions.  But then I saw it was important to him.  This wasn’t just pushing or grabbing he was asking about.  He knew that someone had reached out to him in their need and their life had been changed.  He wanted to stop and talk to them.

But what about my daughter?

Come on, come on!  Time is short.

But Jesus has time.  Healing is more than about removing the physical symptoms, he wants to talk to the woman and make sure she is wholly OK.  I can’t begrudge her – It’s what I want for my daughter.

Then the worst news comes.

It’s too late.

My daughter has gone.

I’d better leave Jesus to the people he can help…

But no, “Don’t worry!”, he says.

“Don’t worry?”. that’s a bit hard.  My precious daughter is dead and Jesus says don’t worry?!

But he insists it isn’t too late.  My daughter is not going to suffer because he stopped to help someone else along the way.  Jesus has time for everyone who needs him.

So he carries on with me to my house.  What a commotion there was, but Jesus pushes through it.  He takes my little girl by the hand and told her to get up.

And she did.

He was right.  She was not beyond his reach and his touch.

I wondered if Jesus had time for me and my daughter; I thought it was too late – but it wasn’t; Jesus was just in time, his time.  I thought others were getting in the way with their needs, but Jesus gave them the same time he gave me and my daughter.  He met them in their need – and he met me in mine too.

Mark 5:21-43

A Dying Girl and a Sick Woman

21 Once again Jesus got into the boat and crossed Lake Galilee.Then as he stood on the shore, a large crowd gathered around him. 22 The person in charge of the Jewish meeting place was also there. His name was Jairus, and when he saw Jesus, he went over to him. He knelt at Jesus’ feet 23 and started begging him for help. He said, “My daughter is about to die! Please come and touch her, so she will get well and live.” 24 Jesus went with Jairus. Many people followed along and kept crowding around.

25 In the crowd was a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had gone to many doctors, and they had not done anything except cause her a lot of pain. She had paid them all the money she had. But instead of getting better, she only got worse.

27 The woman had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him in the crowd and barely touched his clothes. 28 She had said to herself, “If I can just touch his clothes, I will get well.” 29 As soon as she touched them, her bleeding stopped, and she knew she was well.

30 At that moment Jesus felt power go out from him. He turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 His disciples said to him, “Look at all these people crowding around you! How can you ask who touched you?” 32 But Jesus turned to see who had touched him.

33 The woman knew what had happened to her. She came shaking with fear and knelt down in front of Jesus. Then she told him the whole story.

34 Jesus said to the woman, “You are now well because of your faith. May God give you peace! You are healed, and you will no longer be in pain.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from Jairus’ home and said, “Your daughter has died! Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Jesus heard what they said, and he said to Jairus, “Don’t worry. Just have faith!”

37 Jesus did not let anyone go with him except Peter and the two brothers, James and John. 38 They went home with Jairus and saw the people crying and making a lot of noise. 39 Then Jesus went inside and said to them, “Why are you crying and carrying on like this? The child isn’t dead. She is just asleep.” 40 But the people laughed at him.

After Jesus had sent them all out of the house, he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples and went to where she was. 41-42 He took the twelve-year-old girl by the hand and said, “Talitha, koum!”  which means, “Little girl, get up!” The girl got right up and started walking around.

Everyone was greatly surprised. 43 But Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened. Then he said, “Give her something to eat.”

Thank you Lord

that you have time for me.

You know my need –

and how to meet it.

Forgive me when I get impatient

that you aren’t doing what I want

in the time I want it.

Forgive me

when I think you are looking after others,

when you could be doing something for me.

Thank you that you care for us all,

and are present in our lives,

when we see it and when we don’t.

Reach out,

Lord I pray,

to those who especially need to know your touch this day,

let them know you are there with them,

as they see all that you can do.