Quiet Please – Lent 5

Lent Letterpress

I crave silence. I crave a peace-filled moment.

Sometimes when I visit my parents’ graves, I sit on the bench and I am still. I sit and do nothing other than glory in the quiet and peacefulness. The occasional birdcall is welcome as is the gentle breeze on my face. But for the most part, I just sit. It is glorious.

Pretty soon we will celebrate Maundy Thursday watch. This is a time when we sit in prayerful silence in the sanctuary. It is a time to reflect upon the night that Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane; the night His disciples could not watch with him for just one hour without falling asleep. It was a night that Jesus spent alone in prayer with the Father.

I haven’t missed a night watch in over 20 years. Next to Christmas Eve Mass and Easter Sunday, it is my favorite day on the church calendar.

There is something so holy about sitting quietly and pausing from this busy life to seek the face of God. If you sit quietly enough, you hear the creak of the church, the scurry of feet, the groan of the building as it sways with the earth. And sometimes, just sometimes, you hear a still small voice in your soul saying it will all be right with the world. Jesus has overcome the world.

Somehow we are reminded that without a moment of silence, words can lose their meaning. That is the moment when silence really is golden.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV)

Holy Batman!

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Yesterday in church I had the honor of sitting next to Batman. Not the real caped crusader…but a sweet little four year old boy who kept flashing his Batman figurine at me during the sermon. I continued to react in surprise just to see how long he would bring out the Dark Knight. Not surprisingly, my sweet little guy could sustain that game for some time.

I can’t think of  a better place for Batman than in church. Batman has a strong moral code by which he lives and he is always ready to vanquish bad guys. You only have to flash the bat signal and Bruce Wayne changes into a super hero. Just the man you want to protect you when needed. He’s Batman.

I think Batman can teach my sweet young pew-mate a great deal about Jesus. You only have to signal Jesus via prayer and he’ll hear you. I can’t think of anyone who I would want on my side more than Jesus. And Jesus is always on the side of right. He’s the ultimate white knight. I could go on forever about our real super hero.

The difference of course is that Batman is fiction and Jesus is fact. I am certain this young boy will grow up to know the best friend and hero anyone could ever ask for in this life. Jesus will be there for him.

No bat cave, no fancy car, no bat wings, but a fierce God who protects us against evil all the days of our lives.

Pretty cool stuff.

 

Psalm 91 “God Our Protector” 

Whoever goes to the Lord for safety,

whoever remains under the protection of the Almighty,

can say to Him,

“You are my defender and protector. You are my God; in you I will trust.”

He will keep you safe from all hidden dangers

and from all deadly diseases.

He will cover you with His wings;

you will be safe in His care;

His faithfulness will protect and defend you.

You need not fear any dangers at night

or sudden attacks during the day

or the plagues that strike in the dark

or the evils that kill in the daylight.

A thousand may fall dead beside you,

ten thousand all around you,

but you will not be harmed.

You will look and see

how the wicked are punished.

You have made the LORD your defender,

the Most High your protector,

and so no disaster will strike you,

no violence will come near your home.

God will put His angels in charge of you

to protect you wherever you go.

They will hold you up with their hands

to keep you from hurting your feet on the stones.

You will trample down lions and snakes,

fierce lions and poisonous snakes.

God says, “I will save those who love me

and will protect those who acknowledge me as LORD.

When they call to me, I will answer them;

when they are in trouble, I will be with them.

I will rescue them and honor them.

I will reward them with long life; I will save them.”