You know if we ask God to make us aware of our surroundings He will teach us so much. I know I have missed out on so much just because I don’t ask to be made aware of those things around me that could teach me. This time He taught me a very valuable lesson.
One weekend I was in Waco with several United Methodist Women. It was a Saturday morning when the lesson occurred. I had stayed overnight in a hotel with a friend. She had gotten up earlier than me and took her shower. As I was waking up she mentioned there was a cricket in the bathroom. I am not sure if she knew where it was, but we could definitely hear it. We or maybe she located the cricket in the overhead light fixture that was in the shower room. It was one that was open at the top so there was a space between the fixture and the ceiling. He had gotten himself inside and apparently couldn’t get out or chose not to. I am not sure which one it was. Anyhow he would chirp and then quit and then chirp again.
I asked my friend how he got in there. She seemed to think the cricket might have flown in there, but for whatever reason he couldn’t get out. He’d chirp again as if to say, “help me please I can’t get out. I’m stuck.” I know it’s just me; I’m strange, but at least that’s what I was thinking he was saying. He’d chirp and then quit and then start up again.
Then the thought occurred to me. How we often are a lot like the cricket. We fly into messes and often can’t find our way out. How many times have I flown too close to danger and got caught? How many times have I had to yell for help from family and friends, or for God to come and bring me back?
All of us have sinned and strayed from Christ at one time or the other. Romans 3:23 reminds us very clearly, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” There is not one of us that have at one time or another flown too close to danger and got caught. Someone has come alongside us to help us out.
A really good example of this is the story about the woman who the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought to Jesus. She had been caught in adultery. They were telling Jesus the Law of Moses said she was to be stoned to death. They wanted to know what Jesus would do. Finally, Jesus said the one without sin was to throw the first stone. After a few minutes Jesus looked up and all the accusers were gone. You can read the story in John 8. She had flown too close to danger and got caught. She needed someone to come and pull her out of a messy situation. Jesus came upon the scene and rescued her.
Now I didn’t rescue the cricket. Truthfully speaking I am not a cricket person. I doubt if anyone else rescued the cricket. My best guess is he stayed there until he died. At some point I am sure someone removed him from the light fixture.
There are two sides to this story. First, we need to be careful about flying too close to danger. I once told someone if you play with fire you will get burned. He didn’t listen to me; he continued to play with fire and got burned really bad. He lost his family and created chaos for himself and those around him. “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13; The Message) If temptation comes our way there is always a way out of it. God provides a way out of some of the messes we create before they happen. It’s our choice to walk away, go through the door God has provided or fly to close and hope you don’t get trapped. This woman chose to fly too close and got trapped.
The other side of this story is we need to be aware of those who have themselves trapped and need a way out. We need to be listening for those who are crying out, “Help me, please! I need rescued.”
Read the story in John 5 about the man who was sitting at the pool. This pool was near the Sheep Gate. Many people surrounded the pool every day. On occasion an angel of the Lord stirred the water. After the angel stirred the water the first person to get in was healed. This man had sat there for 38 years waiting for someone to come alongside him and help him in the water. No one came until Jesus came and offered to heal him. How many people heard this man cry out for help and did nothing? How many times do we hear people cry out for help and we do nothing?
We are all familiar with the Good Samaritan story in Luke 10. Jesus is describing what a good neighbor looks like. A religious man and a priest passed by the one who had been beaten and robbed. The third man, an unlikely candidate stopped and helped him. The victim probably was not flying too close to danger. He probably did nothing wrong, but was just at the wrong place at the wrong time, but people did not stop and offer him aid.
Great God of Presence and Promised Coming,
We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have failed to fulfill your desire for us to love one another.
We have not followed the paths you have given us,
Choosing instead to follow our own.
We have broken relationships,
We chase consumer desires,
We treat those who wait on us as less than human.
We have rebelled against your love;
We spend our time and money,
on gifts for those who give us gifts.
We have not loved our neighbors, we spend time
With family and friends out of obligation rather than sincere love.
We have not heard the cry of the needy,
The mouth of the poor is still hungry for mercy,
The cause of the oppressed is still thirsty for justice.
Free us for joyful obedience, through the Advent of Christ,
Our Lord, Our Messiah, Our Hope. Amen.
(A Confession for Advent
A 21st Century Worship Resource by the Rev. Nathan Decker)
I know it’s not Advent, but I think this is a good reminder that once in a while we need to confess that we have not heard the cry of the needy. Those of us who have experienced suicide in our families often beat ourselves up because we think we might have missed something. We might have missed the cry for help. Most of the time that is not the case, but what it does is makes us more aware to be alert to those who are crying out. We are more aware of those around us that want to be rescued and saved.
A simple cricket with such powerful messages; first be aware of flying too close to danger. I may get into something I can’t get out of and will need help. Second, I need to be more aware of those around me crying out for help. I maybe not be able to help them, but I can offer Jesus. I can offer them someone who will come and help them out of the mess they created and I can offer to walk along side them.
I think the next time I hear a cricket I may not try to save him, but I will become more aware of just what he might be teaching me.
Dear God, who would have thought a cricket, could teach me so much? Who could have thought a chirp from a cricket would be a whole lesson from you. Please make me aware of my surroundings and those things you bring in my path to teach me, grow me, and to help me help others. Let me never fly to close to danger I can’t get out. Let me take the open door you offer me when I am tempted. And may I hear the voices of those crying out. Let me offer you to them and then help me as I walk alongside them. Thank you for crickets and their chirping. Thank you for being such an awesome teacher. Amen.