Most Wednesday mornings, I go down to a local coffee shop called Coffea. I’ve been hanging out there since it opened. I’ve even worked there… twice. Now, I just go down there with a sign that offers a cup of coffee and conversation to anyone who needs it. I don’t get a lot of takers but I do get some good work done, I get out of the Chapel, and I get to make friends with the baristas and regular customers, most of whom are students, faculty, and staff at UK. I look forward to it every week.
Sometimes, like today, I am fortunate enough to have a long conversation with someone. Today it was one of the baristas. She and I got to talking about the prophets, Paul and the letter to the Romans, and midterms. We got to talking about the fact that we both think that God is still speaking and still listening in our world. Some of the stuff in the Bible is a bit esoteric or may not feel relevant, but the arc of the Bible, the fact that the God of the universe cares enough about humans and this earth to be involved in its history is central, and is still true.
We live in an age of polite atheism. Many folks think, as the Psalmist wrote, “Why do you stand so far off, O Lord, and hide yourself in time of trouble?” or “The wicked are so proud that they care not for God; their only thought is, “God does not matter.” or The innocent are broken and humbled before them; the helpless fall before their power. They say in their heart, “God has forgotten; he hides his face; he will never notice.” (Psalm 10:1, 4, 10-11) We may say “We believe,” but when pressed, we forget God or think God has forgotten us. But it is we who have forgotten, we who stand so far off.
We have forgotten that we are participants in God’s work of creation; we are participants in God’s work of redemption; we are participants with God’s work of sanctification. God has given us the ability to be co-workers in the salvation of the world but we must be willing to do more than say “We believe” on Sundays. We must be willing to bring God’s holiness into our every movement, every thought, and every action, from how we worship, to how we work, to how we eat, sleep, and think, because God is the one “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). God is speaking and listening. Are we listening? And then are we acting on God’s word?