Not Omnipresent... But He's Pretty Fast...


As I stated yesterday I do a monthly slot on Downtown Radio's "Just a Moment" every morning for a week and about four days a year when I am on Radio Ulster's "Thought for the Day". Today was one of those days when there was a conjunction of the two and so at 6.55am a fair chunk of the listnership in Northern Ireland couldn't escape my dulcet tones, as I was apparently in two places at the same time talking about two different subjects. Actually if truth be told I was in 3 places at the same time as I was lying at home fast asleep, since both talks had been pre-recorded.
However, this time last week I had a bit of a diary disaster resulting in the difficult task of trying to be physically in two places at the same time.
I have a weekly event every Thursday morning, but a few weeks ago I got a message asking me to speak at a local Primary School Assembly last Thursday morning. I said yes, but totally forgot to put it in my diary or rearrange my other appointment. Ooops.
I only discovered my error the night before when my colleague John asked whether I was going into the school… But by that stage it was too late to rearrange either appointment.
In his recent follow-up to the "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" series, Eoin Colfer portrays the Norse god Thor as some sort of immortal, alien, celebrity superbeing for hire… When his agent Zaphod Beeblebrox is asked whether Thor is omnipresent he says “No… but he’s pretty fast.”
There are times when I think I'm some sort of immortal, (minor-)celebrity super-being for hire. But at times it doesn’t matter how fast I move, I can't be in two places at the same time... and last week I had to make do with being late for one appointment. I’m not omnipresent and I'm not omnipotent… Only God is… And its about time that I stopped trying to move so fast that I give the impression that I’m God…
A few weeks ago a friend gave me a talking to on the same subject... But she didn't just lecture me, she told me about an experience she had once when on holiday in Kenya… One day a guide took her and her husband out into the Masai Mara game reserve. They drove out into the middle of the wilderness, and then the driver switched off the engine. “What now?” asked my friend. “We wait” was the reply… and wait they did… Now my friend is not the most patient of people herself. She's always on the go, but she said
“we sat totally still for 3 hours and for the first half hour - I was cross and bored and hot - and then I watched Africa happen in front of my eyes like I wasn’t there… I’ll never forget it.”
All of the animals that had been hiding just out of sight at the sound of the approaching truck emerged and went about their business… While my friend watched in wonder…
Now I doubt that I'll ever have a similar experience in the heart of Africa... but it can happen in our own hearts if we let it... As we stop amidst the hurly burly of everyday life.
In Psalm 46, towards the end of a Psalm that speaks of natural disaster and international conflict, God says through the Psalmist...
"Be still and know that I am God..."
I often sign off these thoughts with the Hebrew word "Selah". Most commentators think it is a musical term in the Psalms meaning "Pause." Maybe its time I listened to myself, my friend... and of course God himself...


(This is an adaptation of two talks for Downtown's Just a Moment, for yesterday and today.)



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