Monday, September 22, 2014
When The Spirit Moves Me, Do I?
The priest in his short sermon this morning said: When the Holy Spirit moves within us, God asks us to act “promptly”. That word caught my attention.
I reflected back on my response to promptings in recent days --- all sorts of promptings. There were requests for prayers; did I promptly pray? Nooooo. There were calls in need; did I quickly answer the call? Well, here at least I can say: sometimes. When the response asked of me was small, I responded promptly, but when it was large I paused, to pray on the matter. “Lord, is this what You want?” Not a bad thing to do, I guess.
But back to the sermon’s call to act “promptly:” How can I act promptly to God’s call, the opportunities He gives me to love my neighbor, and avoid (largely through procrastination) not acting at all? It’s a matter, I think, that I’ve been considering for weeks now, as I daily write in my journal.
Each day I look back on the “God Opportunities” I perceived were opened to me, and I write how well I responded to His promptings. One thing I don’t consider is how quickly I respond to Him; perhaps I should. We respond promptly to a situation when it is natural for us to respond, a habit. That is the real question here: How can it become a habit for me to respond to God’s call?
Well, like all habits, it starts with practice.
I’m doing the journeling each day. I’m meditating on Scripture each day (okay, I do that largely because it’s a class assignment --- but, still …), and tonight I join a Bible Study group (we’ll be doing Exodus). All these things are forced habits, forced time taken to look for God, to hear His call for me, so that --- perhaps --- I’ll hear His call even when I’m not focused on listening, and it will become a habit to answer, “promptly”.
Lest we forget, the key word in “promptly” is “prompt”. God prompts us, often, throughout our day. Sometimes it’s in the quiet of a church. Sometimes it’s in the cry of our baby, or in the pain we see on our spouse’s face. Sometimes it’s in the beggar on the corner, or in the anger we feel when the boss speaks to us. These are promptings for us to love our neighbor, to do as God would have us do, to be who He created us to be.
Oh, sometimes we know we DO promptly react to those situations: we get angry. But is that the prompting Jesus is giving us?
Those old bracelets everyone once wore, WWJD, had a good message, and were a good reminder. What are Jesus’ promptings in our life? How would He ask us to respond? What would He do?
We learn to “promptly” find the answers to those questions by practicing, practicing by taking the time to read His Word, or to sit in silence listening for His voice.
Practice makes perfect; practice makes prompt.
As I knelt after receiving Holy Communion this morning, I spoke to Jesus, but my thoughts were interrupted by the words being sung in the church:
Shine forth through us, Oh Radiant Son.
And a chill went up my spine.