If you could design and name any phone app you wanted, what would you call it and what features should it have?
I got a new phone the other day, ‘cause the old one was, well, old. (= 2 ½ years old = ancient). If you don’t know, phones these days have all kinds of programs built into them or that you can purchase which are called applications (or apps for short). You can turn them on or off, to suit your needs. One app will recognize the song title and artist of any song you record into it. Another one gives you the nearest Catholic mass, times and directions. Another one will let you know where the cheapest ibuprofen is after last night’s adult dodgeball game at St. Ann’s. (Here’s one that names the best Campus Ministry directory in St. Louis. Wow – look at that – it’s me! Who knew?)
So that got me to thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app named: “Behold” (short for Behold the Lamb of God”) – whose sole function was to let you know the God moments in your life? And if there was one, what kind of features do you think it would have? I thought of a few.
- The “get your attention” features sports different ring tones for different kinds of God moments:
- [Play “Light” sound] This one gets your attention for “beauty moments” – sunsets, art, music, your child as he slumbers, etc
- [Play “Instance” sound] This one alerts you for life changing moments. Take this job, do this task, meet this person, volunteer this service, forgive this mistake, etc., and you will know God is near.
That’s the one that went off in today’s gospel. John, who didn’t have the luxury of a cell phone, had something better. He had the Holy Spirit App going off inside of his life and prayer, telling him: THERE! – this is the one, this is the moment, all that we have hoped and dreamed for is now present in THIS MAN named Jesus. DON”T MISS IT FOLKS! Can you imagine what that did among those listening? How it already began to change lowly fishermen into evangelists, prostitutes into saints, and people without hope into bold proclaimers of a new kingdom?
- A “Deepening your faith” feature. Every time the app went off, you would become so aware of how good God is to you. You would imagine God, not as this doting, indulgent grandfather, bouncing you on his knees, but rather as a God who is a great lover of your soul, passionately pursuing a relationship with you, desiring you to know his purpose, his dream for your life. And the response would not be a tepid, “Ho-hum, another Saturday night/Sunday am liturgy,” but a rousing: “Look at how much we are loved?” kind of experience.
We’ll hear about that app next week – of Jesus calling his disciples and how that completely changed their lives.
- A “raise your expectations” feature that lets you know when you are selling yourself or God or both short. Though I haven’t completely figured out the sound –the closest is when John McLain in the Die Hard movie says: “eeeengh! – wrong answer” sort of warning. “It is too little for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Israel.” I have so much more in mind for you – a LIGHT TO THE NATIONS I make you. That is who you are and what you are called to do. That is what I want you to know with every breath you take, every choice you make, every bit of energy you expend upon this planet. Don’t sell my dream short – either for this world, or for you. Rather, dream big and bold and loving and life changing. That is who I am for you and in you and through you.
I was thinking about that app. a lot this week. Our former 8th grade teacher, John Wiedmann was a man who had that ‘raise your expectation’ feature going off all the time in his world. On the cover of his funeral liturgy was a poem by Walt Whitman that pretty much summed up his life:
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy; devote your income and labor to others; hate tyrants; argue not concerning God; have patience and indulgence toward people…
The good news we celebrate today – that app does exist. Only you won’t find it on your I-phone or in the ‘droid’ market place. You’ll find it going off like crazy wherever people gather to listen to the scriptures, where they break and share the bread of the Lamb of God who takes away their sins, and where they then go forth, to love and serve the Lord and each other…That’s where you’ll find that app. If you believe, it is going off right now. And all through the week. Listen for it. Wait for it. Expect it. “Behold!”…