Most of my life I have known the protection of the Cloud. I have poignant stories to tell about seas parting for both myself and those I love. I have lived in various communities who drink from (and draw me back to) the Rock who is Christ. Sometimes – even usually – it’s easy to feel caught up in the current of these “in-groups,” all chosen and royal, you “Children of the Most High God” you.
This is precisely why I need the Church calendar to bring me to the Savior-waiting season of Advent and today, to the self-excavation of Lent. The fasts and feasts make monotony impossible and make way for both gratitude and humility.
So if you think you’re standing – all satiated by the spiritual and tucked into the cozy hug of that cloud – not so quick. Watch your step. In fact, you might already be down. These are the messages of Scripture that startle me from the secure (along with Matt. 21:31 and Rev. 3:17). The plot switches and we, chosen cloud-dwellers, have to take pause. Just being here, at this table, just having the right juice in my chalice may not be enough? Have my hymnsings become more lullaby than worship? Is my service more about me than the Other? What I do when I get up from this table, the places I crawl for comfort, distraction, ego-soothing may reveal more about my gods than I care to let on.
So if you think you are standing…
Now these things occurred as examples for us, so that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not become idolaters as some of them did; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.