In Faith Moments, Odalis Turincio shares her thoughts on living out her faith and how we can grow closer to God.
Well, good morning. Welcome to Faith Moments. My name is Odalis. I’m part of the pastoral team at Cornerstone. I’m so grateful you’re here. Faith Moments is a time for us to talk, look at some scripture, listen for the Lord, and hopefully, hear from Him together. Some things maybe He’s already been saying, or maybe new things today. I love spending time in the morning with Him. I love this opportunity that we get to spend time in the morning together pursuing Him. It’s 2021. I’m not used to it yet. I still am sort of half writing a zero at the end of the date and adjusting to a one. I hope your year is going well. I hope His grace is meeting you in each moment.
Today for Faith Moments, we’re going to spend some time talking about interruptions. It’s a weird concept I know, but I think those unexpected moments, either positive or difficult ones, are often some of the most important moments, some opportunities that are unique. When we’re intentional in them, there is space where God can work for us to see Him work. Also for us to be His hands and feet. So opportunities, interruptions, rather than being disruptions, are opportunities. If you have a Bible handy, please grab it. Use the Bible app on your phone, whatever you have, we’re going to be in the gospel of Luke. We’re going to go through a pretty big section today. Before we start, I would love to pray.
Father, we thank you for this morning. We thank you for this time that we have together to listen for your voice, Jesus. We do ask for you to speak, Spirit. We ask for you to soften us and open our hearts to listen. Lord, let us stay soft before you always. In these private moments we have and in the moments we have with others. Lord help us to love you and love others well. We pray these things, Jesus, in your name. Amen.
I’m not sure what you think of when you think of the word interruption. Maybe you think about being interrupted by the big talkers in the room. Maybe you think about when your internet gets interrupted or your data and you can’t get connected or whatever it is. Maybe like windy nights. I think it was two nights ago. We had crazy wind. It interrupted our power in the house. It interrupted our sleep. All kinds of interruptions that night. Or maybe thinking back to when movie theaters were open and a cell phone rings interrupting a movie when you’re sitting there, absorbed in the story. There’s a lot of different kinds of interruptions.
I don’t know about you, but for me, a part of me is wired to get a little irritated at interruptions. I get locked into whatever I’m doing. I can be really focused. If I’m not careful, I can be really busy-minded and just so fixated on getting things done on my agenda, booked back to back, and need to just sort of move. The interruptions throw me off and make me feel disrupted. I’ve been definitely working on it. Especially because at the end of last year I read something and tried to look it up for this morning. I couldn’t find it. It really challenged me. It was this article, this opinion blog piece that challenged the reader to consider interruptions a little differently. Especially in the context of the church. Of people doing life together as a community to consider interruptions a little differently.
It got me thinking of my own moments of interrupting others. Whether just casually day to day or those times where seasons of difficulty in my sense of need and in other’s availability to me. My interruption was met with love, hospitality, and openness. I realized that interruptions are these really unique opportunities. Sometimes we can miss them. We can miss the opportunity in them to be hands and feet. Not, as we proceed I was thinking too, of sort of the immediate interruptions I had had. I was thinking, oh, well, it can’t be about when my husband, Andrew sitting, playing video games. I ask him to hand me whatever it is. Then his character fails the level or whatever. But I actually realized it’s exactly that, in a small sense, because he does, he pauses, he drops his hand from the controller to turn on the heat or hand me the whatever. His character fails and I apologize. It doesn’t phase him at all to pause his game and be available to me.
It’s a small, tiny example, but it really made me think it’s an example of availability. I want to look at the scriptures. I have a little paper Bible here for myself. The go-to parable in my mind of interruptions is the story of the Good Samaritan. Parables being the stories that Jesus taught. He shared to teach us about what the Kingdom of God looks like. The Good Samaritan is this story of a person. I’m not really going to go into it much. He stops. He really goes out of his way, recognizing someone in need. He spends his time, resources, heart, and his energy to be present for somebody whose whole life got interrupted there. The person he helped was beaten up and all that stuff.
The story that I actually want to spend time on, which gives us a few angles on it as well, is the story of the Prodigal Son. This is one that as I’ve been in my devotions has been popping up in different ones I’m reading. All sort of around the same time and it has a lot of beauty and meaning in it. Specifically, I wanted to approach it about interruptions. I’m going to read the whole parable. So definitely if you have a Bible handy, read it. We won’t put the verses on the screen, but I will read through the whole thing as well. So you could just sit and listen. We’ll be in Luke 15. As we read, I’ll point out the interruptions I noticed. I named them for the sake of us keeping up together. Then we’ll chat a little bit about it. These interruptions are moments of disrupting the norm for small reasons, good reasons, or hard reasons. It’s a disruption to the expected way that life is moving from one moment to the next. So let’s read. Luke 15, we pick up at Verse 11.
“And he said, Jesus said, as he taught, there was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, father give me the share of property coming to me. And he, the father, divided his property between them.” Already we have our first interruption and as we name it, we’ll put it up on the screen. The first interruption, I just called it a selfish interruption. The son decides he wants his inheritance right then and there. He wants to go off and live his life.
He’s interrupting his own life. He’s interrupting his father and the whole property of the people who lived on the land. He’s interrupting to claim his inheritance and bounce. So we continue, Verse 13, “Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country. There he squandered his property in reckless living. When he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country and he began to be in need.”
Here’s our second interruption. It’s an interruption of nature, a collective interruption that everybody in the land felt. We in some ways have experienced this in 2020, and now continuing into 2021 with the pandemic and everything that’s been involved in this. It’s an interruption that we collectively experienced that no one has control over. It’s happening to us and we respond to it.
We continue, the son. “So he went and hired himself out to be one of the citizens of that country who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.” He goes to work for somebody. The only work he can get is feeding pigs. “He was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate. No one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, how many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough bread? But I perish here with hunger. I will arise and go to my father and say to him, father I’ve sinned against Heaven. And before you, I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your higher servants.” So it says, “He came to himself.” This is our next interruption. I called it an internal interruption.
It says, “He came to Himself.” We have these moments too, where we have these aha moments or these times we realize, “Man, I’m really thinking differently about this thing or this person. I feel my heart has changed. My mind has changed. These internal interruptions that change our patterns of thinking and being.” Praise God, He works these things in us, especially when we’re consistently looking towards Him and asking Him to be the one to shape our hearts and minds. Now, I’m not sure if the sun was setting and he was thinking about God. We don’t know if he was sitting, thinking, and asking God to change his heart or mind. The scripture just tells us he came to himself. But it is the beauty of how the Lord works that he doesn’t just leave His children out on their own.
Let’s continue reading. “And he rose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him, and kissed him. And the son said to him, father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants to quickly bring the best robe and put it on him. And put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet, and bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this, my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found and they began to celebrate.” This is what I called a relational interruption. We could probably break it up into two or three different little moments of interruption.
At the core of it, the relationship mattered over the interruption. The relationship mattered over the pain caused by the initial interruption when the son took his inheritance and left. The relationship mattered more than the inconvenience, more than the calf, more than the robe, or ring, or shoes. The father chose the relationship in that moment of interruption to celebrate and welcome him home.
It’s a picture of love, a picture of grace, a picture of valuing, really at the core, valuing people in the way that God values us, His people. So we keep reading. We’re almost done. “Now, his older son, the father’s older son was in the field. As he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. He said to him, your brother has come home and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound. But he, the older son, was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him. But he answered his father, look these many years, I have served you and I never disobeyed your command yet you never gave me a young goat that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him. And the father said to him, son, you are always with me, all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad. For this, your brother was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.”
This one, here at the end, I called a heart interruption. I think it’s similar to the relational one. But in this intimate interpersonal moment, this moment of vulnerability where the older son is hurt, he’s been present and he’s been committed. He opens up to his father, in his anger and also in his pain. The father meets him there to say my heart and all I have is yours. My love for you is not questioned celebrating the one that was lost and has now been found. The father presents his perspective to his older son to try to change his son.
So I know it’s a lot. I know there’s so much here and we’re just sort of scratching the surface to look at these interruptions. As we did, and as I’m hoping we’ll consider interruptions as more than just these little moments in the day, these little inconveniences, and hopefully as something a little bit more. There’s this opportunity for us to find life in interruptions, really, to find opportunity in interruptions. I wanted to ask, how is God inviting you to respond to the interruptions in your life?
I want to offer. I challenged myself with this, that like the father we’re invited to respond with open arms. With patience and availability for others, willing to disagree, willing to talk, willing to love, willing to be truly open. To celebrate other people for the relationship itself, not conditionally. To be present for people and engage them where they are. People first, schedule second.
For some, like me, slow down. Quiet mind and mouth. Fight the urge to be too busy to be available. This is my struggle. For some of us, we actually are invited to trust other people enough to ask them for the interruption. To fight the fear of rejection and embarrassment, and to choose the relationship. To be open about our needs, and to ask for help when we need it.
There are others in between. Some of us are too comfortable, one way or the other. I know that Jesus Himself allowed Himself to be interrupted. In all of the gospels, as we read about His life, He allowed Himself to be interrupted. He taught stories like these to remind us that people are worth more than our schedules. Extending our time and hearts can be worth so much more than we realize.
This year may we be interruptible. May we be flexible with our ears, and eyes wide open to the moments where we can be open arms. The open arms of the Lord sometimes for the people around us. Sometimes it’s a word of love. Sometimes it’s just the time to connect, but let’s slow down so we can actually see God at work. Not miss Him in the blur of our schedules, concerns, or our own stuff, as real as that is, let’s not miss those moments.
Let’s choose as the father in this story to be loving as First Corinthians 13 shows it. We can put this up. It says from Verse 4, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist in its own way; it’s not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but it rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
May we be loving like this to those around us. His hands, His feet, His eyes, His mouth, His heart, His arms wide open. Loving God as we love others. I would love to pray to close.
Father, we ask and we thank you for your word. We thank you for stories like these. These parables you gave us that challenge us to look at life in the way that you do. Lord, to see in the way you do, to listen in the way you do, to be open and receptive to others in the way that you are. We ask for you to help us to be more loving, to be available, to be flexible, and to be trusting. To trust other people enough to be available to them, to make our need known to them, to bear all things, believe all things, hope, and endure all things in your love and in your strength. Jesus, we thank you, and we pray these things in your name. Amen. Thank you for joining these Faith Moments. God bless you. See you next time.