Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cling to the Lord

My child, when you come to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere of heart and steadfast, and do not be impetuous in time of adversity. Cling to him, do not leave him, that you may prosper in your last days. Accept whatever happens to you; in periods of humiliation be patient. For in fire gold is tested, and the chosen, in the crucible of humiliation. Trust in God, and he will help you; make your ways straight and hope in him. You that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy, do not stray lest you fall. You that fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not be lost. You that fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy. Consider the generations long past and see: has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon him and been ignored? For the Lord is compassionate and merciful; forgives sins and saves in time of trouble. -Sirach 2:1-11

What an uplifting and inspirational reading! So much wisdom is provided by means of the Holy Scriptures. It is wisdom from God that challenges, encourages, inspires, uplifts, confronts, and moves. Where is it moving you? 

You see Scripture calls us to MOVE! Not just settle for a nice saying that we recall throughout the day or to simply share occasionally with a friend. Scripture through the inspiration and movement of the Holy Spirit calls us to action. The primary action leads to an on-going relationship with the Lord. It is through our life giving relationship with God that we understand our calling to serve. We are called to serve: service of God and service of one another.

So are you ready to serve the Lord? Or if you are already serving the Lord, are you ready to re-evaluate your commitment? In today's world there needs to be a deeper reflection on the nature of our commitments. What does it mean to commit? Unfortunately in our day and age we have a tendency to place conditions on our commitments. Whether it be with others or ultimately with God. Before we evaluate our relationships with one another, let us first focus on our relationship with God. A important reflection question for all of us, whether we are contemplating serving the Lord or are already in service, could be: Will I or do I place conditions on my service to the Lord? Conditions such as: I will serve, but only if it goes my way or I will serve as long as there are no challenges and I meet no resistance or I will serve but only until something else comes along or grabs my attention! Are we really called to put such conditions on our commitment of service to the Lord? Are we not called to give it all while not counting the costs?

You cannot serve the Lord with one foot in and one foot out. Often times this is easier and many would rather do so, but this is not discipleship. Scripture says you cannot serve two masters, you will either hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other (Mt 6:24). When a decision is made to serve, we must do it with our whole heart. As the reading says we must serve with a sincere heart and a steadfast spirit while we cling to the Lord. I have witnessed on numerous occasions my nieces and nephews clinging to their parents. Their parents can't go anywhere without their child being so close to them and following their every move. One definition of the word, cling, says to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence. This is the type of relationship we are called to have with God. A dependence on God that calls upon us never to abandon His embrace no matter the cost. Whether things go our way or not. Whether we feel happy or feel sad. Whether it be good times or bad times. The reading above reminds us when we follow and serve the Lord there will be challenges and difficulties. There will be moments when we feel humiliated or just plain, beat up. There will be times when things are not meeting our expectations. Nevertheless, God's word encourages us not to give up or turn back, but to move forward with hope and trust in His presence and faithfulness.

Commitment in any form requires being sincere of heart and steadfast. It requires us not to become distracted nor impatient. It is having an awareness that situations will arise that will cause us to waver and ultimately test our commitment. Yet, through it all we cannot be consumed with the pain, anger, resentment, sadness or disappointment of the moment. No, it is in those trials that we are invited to cling even tighter to the one who asks us to Trust and to Hope. To cling to the one who is faithful! To cling to the one who is compassionate and merciful! To cling to the one who forgives us of our sins and saves us in times of trouble! We must remain faithful and cling to the God we serve!