January 16, 2014
Have you ever been to Worship and the saints with which you sit seem to insight an unholy chastisement from you? I was visiting on of the more traditional churches on the Island where worship takes on a somber and conventional mood. The hymns were beautiful and, as a worshipper, you were careful not to smile too wide least it be misconstrued as a frivolous grin. The organ and piano left no room for you to miss the percussion instruments and the deaconesses in full white waited on your incidental need for assistance.
My mother was visiting and I was more than pleased to know that her need for conventional worship would certainly be met. Then I heard a mutter and noticed a visitor, obviously so by his casual dress, speaking animatedly to his neighbours, also visitors. When the chatter continued for more than a few sentences, I flashed a disapproving glance. I hoped my mother would not have noticed, spoiling my bid for a perfect worship experience.
But it continued, stopping only for singing and the responsive reading of the scriptures. As the speaker begun the sermon so the chatting continued. What was even more disconcerting was that the man was doing all the talking and the others just seemed to be facilitating his incessant chatter. The more animated the preacher got the more so he became. My body language was sure now louder than his gab as I was incensed with holy indignation. How irreverent could one get?
As the sermon came to a close the pastor acknowledged the guests visiting from Brazil and hoped they too received a blessing. That is when it dawned on me…the target of my fury, that ‘chatting visitor’, was actually interpreting all this time. I need not mention how embarrassed I was at my intolerance of this worshipper who was using his gift of tongues to bless others. Without his aid the visitors would not have understood a word of that beautiful English sermon.
Am I alone in my impatience with other gifts when I cannot see the big picture?
God has plans for each of us and it is not always his wish to reveal the whole picture to each of us. Let us be patient with each other knowing that God has given us all different talents and in time He will reveal the working of all things together for good. The Brazilian guests sure got the blessing I missed but I learnt a great lesson. - Patrice Williams-Gordon
December 05, 2013
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Rom. 2:1-2 (Message)
As I sat along the artistically chiseled rocks of the Inagua Island, All my senses savored the awe of nature. The tranquility of being surrounded by the mighty blue ocean with the sounds of water tumbling over rocks, rushing into cracks then splashing against the narrow shore line was simply captivating. The last rays of the sunny cast an impressive silhouette against the clouds that threatened rain and I thought, “What beauty!”.
In the distance, not far across the water, I could see the heads of mountains that belonged to another land where the concept of freedom and equality was starkly different from mine. The people of that nation saw the same sunset, heard the same ocean, felt the same balmy breeze but had a different rhythm in their heart. The unfairness of it all distracted my evening’s meditation. However greater disturbance was yet to come as the Holy Spirit impressed me with a new thought: “You don’t have to cross the ocean to sense this pitiful contrast. There are many persons on the same land on which you sit that have not the sense of freedom and beauty you now discern.”
It got even worst as I considered that just moments before I too, a few steps away from this altar of inspiration, was locked in a room surrendered to the redundant information on TV and the Internet. I too was oblivious to the beauty that surrounded me. It’s a choice one makes everyday. Though we breathe the same air, serve the same God, sing the same hymns, our experience of freedom in Christ is so vastly different. The extent to which we are free is the extent to which we choose to be free.
So as I tasted the saline splashes of the ocean on my face, I prayed a simple prayer; “ God give me the consciousness of my need to choose and the wisdom to choose aright. May I choose praise over pity. I want to always choose contentment over covetousness. Help me to see challenges as the fitting room for triumph and disappointment as the waiting room for my glorious destiny. - Patrice Williams-Gordon