I came home from work one evening recently to a note from Janine. All it said was, “Hi dear. We’re having spaghetti for dinner tonight. XOXO, Janine” I thought to myself, “That’s nice, Janine is preparing my appetite for dinner.” Then I began to open the mail. After about 20 minutes I noticed that it was getting on to nearly 6:00pm. It was then that the note began to look different to me. What if she was not telling me what we were having for dinner, but in fact asking me to make dinner? Should I start supper? What if she wants a specific recipe? What if she really wants to make it herself because she has a special love of making spaghetti? Slowly and tentatively, I began making spaghetti. As noodles began to boil, I vaguely recalled a discussion the night before about her running some errands and being home late and I felt a little better. Maybe I was on the right track.
I know Janine better than any other human being on earth. She is “flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.” I have lived with her longer than I have lived with my parents or my siblings. In this instance, I happened to guess right. Dinner was ready just as she and the kids arrived back from an errand. I sat down to eat with my family, grateful that I acted with apprehension rather than been passive until I had clarity.
If this, the most intimate human relationship possible, is fraught with weekly miscommunication (and miscommunication just once a week either means we’ve had a great week of communication or I’ve been traveling and we’ve not had as much chance to talk), how is it that we expect the voice of God to always be clear and unmistakable before we act? This is the God who loves parables and stories and mystery. His thoughts are not our thoughts. We must live in the tension of hearing God’s voice about life and love and service, without always having complete clarity on his particular will for us in a particular matter. And so I find that action is almost always implied in his love notes.
“Dear Ones: My Kingdom is near and we’re having a great banquet. The poor and marginalized are my honored guests. Evil won’t be tolerated any more and justice will roll down like a river. It’ll be great. XOXO, Dad.”
So after years of looking at these promises of the coming Kingdom I slowly begin to act. There is some apprehension. What if God wants to do everything himself? Maybe he’s got a special recipe or way of making his Kingdom come. What if I mess up? Nonetheless, I think that acting with a bit of uncertainty is better than passively waiting for an angelic visit or out of the body experience.