I'm not a bone fide Dr Who-head. I like to watch it if it is on and am not unduly upset if it gets missed. I was born in the exact same time dimension as Russell T Davies (he who rejuvenated the programme in 2005) and we shared 50th birthdays last weekend (not literally because obviously I don't know him and was too geeked out to introduce myself when I saw him at Manchester Piccadilly station.)
Last Sunday in church we were singing the song 'The splendour of the King' during worship. Lately I have often felt God has been highlighting certain words in songs for attention. Sometimes it will be clear in an instant what that means but not always. Last Sunday during the particular song the words in bold were:
time is in His hands, beginning and the end
These specific words have often put things into perspective, when things are going either well or badly, the equation of in everything God > me so it's OK and I thought this was just another reminder He wanted me to hear, because He loves to love us. The loving message that God is not constrained by time in the same way we are, He is so much greater.
But during the week I have found myself again considering comments made frequently by someone about their dissatisfaction with corporate worship at our particular church. Being on the worship team it is difficult not to take such comments personally and on the spot I find it hard to discuss things in conversation.
In essence I think the person is saying that God will bless in a particular way if we 'allow' it when people worship together. I do agree that this does happen and that we all need to have genuinely open hearts to fully participate in worship. But hearing the same criticism repeated regularly is uncomfortable and also coveys the opinion that the person thinks this is the only way God will speak in corporate worship (since they seem to be generally dismissive of the regular weekly approach.)
A finger pointing that tries to invoke shame, that fault of this perceived failure lies with someone else. I too have done this at times when services have been dry and dusty and devoid (to me) of the voice of God. When the song choices/musicians could have been better. Do I look at my own heart first? Nearly always not..
Thankfully God is not constrained by time, place or human action.
He can speak anywhere, anyhow and anyway He chooses.
Just who are we to determine how and when God speaks?
Are our hearts really fully open?
Are we always listening?
In corporate worship God might be illuminating for us something that happened years ago or puts a past event in its place. He may say a word or phrase that speaks in a single moment. Words that might be something we need to go away and think and pray about, before meaning becomes clearer. Or He may be saying nothing to us and speaking to others.
Past, present and future, beginning and the end.
And it is not just in corporate worship that He speaks and blesses. It is in our run of the mill, every day living that He does so just as clearly (if we are listening.)
Last autumn God spoke very clearly through a photo that I had taken two years previously, where I noticed a heart shaped snow flake for the first time. I wrote about this in even when the photographer is an off-colour amateur God can still sing His freedom song.
I was preparing potatoes for baking one day and a lump of earth as I scrubbed became heart shaped. It stayed heart shaped until the very end.
During a recent walk in the Peak District, Derbyshire, I took some photos of a sinkhole, just with a feeling that they might come in useful for an unknown future abstract art work at some point. The next day the preacher in church spoke these words 'dreams borne of God don't have to die in the pit' which spoke very clearly to a number of people in different situations, in the service.
That is why I am convinced that God is not constrained by time, space, place or humanity and that time is in His hands, not ours. His concept of time is way beyond ours.
I am returning to full time work next week, temporarily for the time being, with up to a one hour commute on two trains at either end of the day (cheers for extra reading time!) There have been hardships in the last two years, but above all I have valued the time God has given me as a gift to re-engage with Him. I also value the people I have met on twitter and interact with in tweets, blogs and prayer.
I am not sure what direction the blog will take from here and what lies ahead. I am sure it will not entail getting vertigo from spinning in a blue box but I am certain whatever that He the Alpha and Omega, is in it all.
Every last little atom.