"Our Holy Conversations?"
by Pastor Haught
from the August newsletter
“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone . . .” (Genesis 2:18)
“In holy conversation We speak to God in prayer, And at His invitation Our deepest thoughts we share. We come, His will obeying, As children bringing needs; And to support our praying, His Spirit intercedes . . .” (Lutheran Service Book #772 “In Holy Conversation”)
Greetings to all the saints of Atonement! As I sang these words a few weeks ago with you in worship, I was caught up in the idea of conversations. I have had many in the past years; they are happening every day. Of late, they have been focused on COVID, laced with fear and guilt. Fear for self, fear for others, fear of offending, fear of being offended, rejected. Then the various array of resulting guilt or lack of it— arrogant pride. In conversations, thoughts deep and shallow have been discussed. Worries and fears more often than not, are allayed.
God knows about this in each of us. It was His declaration in Genesis that we are “not good alone” in our thoughts, our worries, and our fears. He provided a “Helpmeet,” someone with whom to share everything. We watch as Adam and Eve share with one another, Adam shares the Words of God to Eve, Eve even tries to converse with the Serpent. She is deceived, and in their conversations, Adam and Eve both fall together into sin. Interestingly, the first fear is of God, which results in hiding from Him, compromising the Holy Conversation with which God had designed to bless them. The conversation goes from worry to fear to blame, and the fall into sin ejects them from Paradise and brings them to death. Thankfully, the Holy Conversation continues with them and in faith they receive grace and hope in and through God’s words of promise.
We all know this Holy Conversation is the Gospel. Fulfilling His promise, the Father sent the Son, and the Holy Spirit continues the Conversation. We even understand that our prayers and our worship are our Conversation medium to God. Yet in our time of crisis, we still worry, and we still fear, and we react by doing what we do best, turning into ourselves. Our internal conversations echo and magnify our worries and our fears, we get more self-centered and anger builds the walls of “them and us,” “them and me,” and the innermost fortress is just “me” - its all about me. We forget how bad it is to be alone, alone with our fear. This is not good. Many are the studies of how detrimental to our mental and physical health, isolation and withdrawal can be. In my careers before my ministry, no matter the job, I always found myself drawn into conflicts in the office as a mediator, which is a fancy word for getting people to talk honestly to each other, how to listen openly, without judgement and fear, to care, to care more for the other person than ourselves.
This is where God meets us, and it is where He wants us to be with others. (“Be reconciled with one another” - Matt 5:24, “speak the truth in Love” - Eph 4:15, “Love one another as I have Loved you” - John 15:12) The conversation God has with our hearts each day is very much about His care for us and our care for one another. Holy Conversation begins in Love. “These three remain, Faith, Hope, and Love. The greatest of these is Love” (1 Cor 13:13). Lots of conversations these days are based in fear. Do not fall into the common trap of these days; use the language your Father has spoken to you and taught you from infancy to speak, in care and love. Prepare to be amazed where His words will lead you.
In Love, Pastor Haught