The Word You Are

"In the book of Isaiah (55:10-11) the word of God is envisioned as the rain God sends to earth, and the prophet declares that it will return not empty, but bearing good fruit. If we are made in God's image, perhaps we are also words of God in this sense, and our life's pilgrimage is to determine what our particular word is and how we are to bring it to fruition. Within this frame of reference, we can envision the whole of our life as a journey home."  Kathleen Norris in Acedia and Me

Is it so? Am I with all my fumbling and stumbling really a word of God? I am evaluating Kathleen Norris' statement but as I read it, it is the kind of thing that, whether true or not, I want to be true. I would like to know that like the raindrop, one of God's simplest creations, I come from him and when I return to him I will have accomplished what he sent me to do, that my journey home will be completed with hearing the words, “Well done, good and faithful…”

If Norris is right then part of what it is I am sent to do must be to search because much of the time I do not know why I have been sent. I do not often have the sense of having been aimed. I more often have the sense of figuring it out as I go. Unlike a raindrop, which plummets from the heavens on an unvarying straight line toward the accomplishment of its mission, I, like the hymn writer, am prone to wander.

But I suppose even in my wandering God is saying something, that there is a message to be found. To believe such would be the counsel of not only Kathleen Norris but also Frederick Buechner who says we must listen to our lives, every single moment of them in the thrill and excitement of them and in the humdrum and tedium of them. We must pay attention to what is happening in us and to us and through us, because the moments and the days we live form a kind of alphabet, an alphabet of grace, in which the word that God is speaking to us can be found. The moments are pouring forth speech as surely as the heavens declare the glory of God and the earth is showing his handiwork. We, too, you see, are God’s handiwork. Ephesians 2:10 says “we are God’s workmanship.” Some of translated the word workmanship as masterpiece. The Greek word behind our translations is poiema. You’ll immediately see we get our word poem there. We are God’s poem. Our lives have an unseen, by us so often, rhythm and rhyme. God is speaking in us.

Listening, paying attention to whatever it is we are paying attention to in our lives is hard work. It requires abiding in Christ, being watchful and thankful, redeeming the time. Or in other words, staying with it every moment. Even though our course may wander we can’t let our attention to Christ do so. Not this year.