Trish Sammut is an elder at the Open Door Community of Christ and coordinates BJ's cafe.
Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-6, John 3:1-17, D&C 164:9
Be still and know that I am God.
These beautiful scriptures all describe our journey towards what God is calling us for.
How can I know what direction I’m going in if I don’t listen – to God, my instincts and my fellow brothers and sisters? I must take time to be with God – quiet moments when I can connect with God and myself, and take time to listen to each other. We often pray for direction and help, but then we often don’t stop to listen to the spirit in response.
Part of the reason for this is that there is often lots of noise, not only around us, but inside – in our head…. Noise is stressful!!
I’d encourage each of us to take time to stop and reflect …. Quieten the noise. I know when I haven’t taken enough time out – I become stressed and can’t see things clearly. It can be difficult in our busy lives, but it’s to our detriment – both psychologically and spiritually – if we don’t. We must take time out before we’re forced to.
We can take time while we’re doing the relatively mundane things in life – I often think and pray when I iron early in the morning before everyone else gets up. And when I’m in the car alone I turn the radio off so I can be in quiet. So we can often fit some quiet time in – we just need to be mindful of doing it.
And take time to absorb the scriptures – we had a great time on Tuesday night looking at these same scriptures. It’s a wonderful thing to be in a group that is so diverse, with different viewpoints, and being ok with that. We can learn so much from each other.
The sacraments of the church are another way we can connect to God in a special way – in sacred community.
And when we connect to our outer world, and see it through God’s eyes …….. in the midst of the beauty of creation, we see brokenness, pain and suffering; and in response we say “Here I am, Send me”.
I don’t need to be perfect – we are all called. Yet it’s the nature of things that I can’t give of myself if I don’t know who I am giving away. I can’t give of myself if I don’t know who that ‘self’ is. It can be painful to let go of our old way of thinking, or reacting, especially to a perceived threat, but take heart – be courageous, because we can’t and shouldn’t try to be someone we’re not. And we never stop learning and growing – growing is cyclic …… I remember the first time I became aware that I over-reacted to some things (and became somewhat irrational) - I booked in to see a counsellor …. I had 6 issues I wanted to look at, so I figured it would take 6 weeks to work through. Here I am 30 years later and still at times confronted with some of my old ways of thinking and reacting.
However, as we become more authentic, we reflect those things that set us apart from most of the wider world - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - in increasing measures.
The miraculous happens when we take time to connect to the God who is Love and has the ability to transform us. I think of the woman at the well and Mary Magdalene – just two of the women who stopped and spent time with Jesus – they saw God in him and their lives were transformed. And the other disciples spent so much time with Jesus, and wanted to share that new reality with the lost and broken. This too is our journey – what we are called for – Christ’s mission is our mission.
In closing I’d like to read a poem that was written back in 1974, based on one of Jack Spong’s sermons:
Look at him!
Look not at his divinity,
But look, rather, at his freedom.
Look not at the exaggerated tales of his power,
But look, rather, at his infinite capacity to give himself away.
Look not at the first-century mythology that surrounds him,
But look, rather, at his courage to be, his ability to live, and his ability to love,
And the contagious quality of his love.
Stop your frantic search!
Be still and know that this is God:
And when you are accepted, accept yourself;
When you are forgiven, forgive yourself;
When you are loved, love yourself.
Grasp that Christpower
And dare to be yourself!
And may God’s peace be with us all.
Elder Trish Sammut
presented at the Open Door Sunday May 3st, 2015