Thursday, December 11, 2008

a faith in the crowd

Read Isaiah 7:1-9; Luke 22:1-13

For me, the problem is not that I betray Jesus when there is no one around; no, for me, it is precisely the way I deny him in the midst of the crowd.

There is a group huddled around the bar at the wedding reception, and someone tells a joke concerning a blonde, or a person with a disability, or someone of color. And that's usually when I grab my drink or move over to the chocolate fountain.

I am sitting in a meeting and once again, the same person is making the same weary comments/accusations about someone who is not doing their job the way it 'should' be done, and I pick up the minutes to read through them again, hoping the chair will move on to the next item on the agenda.

I receive an email from someone who is sending it to a whole bunch of people, one of those notes that has an inaccurate, yet highly titillating and even more inflammatory, story about a famous person, and I hit my delete button, rather than moving the cursor up to the Reply All button, so that folks know the real facts, and exactly where I got the information.

Even for someone who likes silence as much as I do, I know deep down inside that these are not the times and places to practice that spiritual discipline. Why is it that I (we) have so much trouble standing firm for others (and for the One who cares so much for the other) in such moments and situations?

Then I recognize those sins I commit in the shadows of the day, and in the privacy of my life, and realize that if I cannot stand firm in my faith when it is just me around, I am not going to be able to be able to do it in the crowd.

Prayer: Help me to stand more firmly in faith: to stretch my prayers, to strengthen my heart, to feed on your words, to practice all those disciplines that will draw me closer to you. Then, Advent Blessing, I can stand firm, not just on my own two feet, but in the midst of the crowd. Amen.

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman

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