Monday, May 31, 2010

Excess is not abundance. Joyful choose the better part.

Idols once they won you, charmed you,
Lovely things of time and sense.
Gilded thus does sin disarm you...

Arm yourselves, therefore--Been back in Naperville a week now and will stay until the end of this week. Starting to be militant against two decades of clutter, the result of parents who never permitted throwing stuff away. It's exhausting; realizing clutter for what it truly is--putting something off to evaluate, sort out, deal with later--be it mental or relational or any other kind of clutter, I feel its weight and entanglement like I've never before. Of laying up our security in all the wrong homes, of passively holding onto stuff or retaining habits because change takes gruel.

But it all adds up and chokes the abundance right out of life, the purpose out of a house/home, the wholeness out of relationships.

Purge, purge, purge. Confront all this stuff and the memories that are evidence of where my heart has been and what it has contained, and the closets of misplaced affections or mistakes or hurts or distraction that I have held onto--to let go of later.

All of life is repentance--repentance now. Lord let me choose You, now. Help me to stop putting off the choice no matter who tells me it is right to do so, or how sentimental or comfortable or attached or overwhelmed I feel. When I say I'll choose You later, I'm choosing not-You now.

Luke 10:41-42. I have accumulated much to be anxious and troubled about.  Much that belies true security and value. Heart, see true worth. Learn to live more with less.

This hymn keeps playing through my head to remind me of hope. My favorite rendition of it is a mash-up to the tune of "Tis so sweet."
Have you heard Him, seen Him, known Him?

Is not yours a captured heart?

Captivated by His beauty,
worthy tribute haste to bring.
Let His peerless worth constrain thee,
crown Him now unrivaled king.

What has stripped the seeming beauty from the idols of this earth?
Not a sense of right or duty,
but the sight of peerless worth,
the beaming of His beauty,
the unveiling of His heart.

What have we who have companied with Him to do with idols?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Peace among ourselves.

We overcome the accuser of our brothers and sisters, we overcome our consciences, we overcome our bad tempers, we overcome our defeats, we overcome our lusts, we overcome our fears, we overcome our pettiness on the basis of the blood of the Lamb.

// D.A. Carson via Of First Importance  1 Thess 5

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Thank you.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Forever firmly fixed.

Every time I read it I wonder that I'd read it before.
Either it keeps changing, or I do.

Forever, O LORD, your word
is firmly fixed in the heavens.
// Psalm 119.89

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Good morning, blues.

When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had already been there a long time,
he said to him,

"Do you want to be healed?"

Do you want to be healed? Why did He even have to ask. Duh of course I want to be healed. Or do I more often refuse to see myself as He does, invalid and in need. And nakedly cling to panhandling rags and deadly cures, while to His remedy saying "Eh... nahh."

Do you want to be healed? What, I need to be healed?! This is what Leadbelly was in on. You gotta first admit and greet your blues, and then ya gotta sit your blues down, get acquainted with and befriend them.  Even when we are spectacularly blue, tangibly battered, visibly bruised, we try to outrun the specific brokenness, if we even recognize it. Rather than face the pain frontally and walking through--not around or over--it.  Most spontaneously we react by avoiding, ignoring, denying, or suppressing the suffering... We? Or maybe this is just me.

Do you want to be healed? But how ever will I accept myself, and claim that uniqueness, until I also accept the suffering as mine? Our many bugouts these last weeks say again that there is something intimately individual and accordingly revealing about the way you and no one else breaks and about the way that God purposes that brokenness to serve your good. Would you be healed, He asks, because He wants to take the stripes and the burden and be my Healer where I've settled for anesthesia or waited to be carried by all sorts of lesser-than-Him things.

Befriending your blues sounds a bit twisted, I guess. Maybe more accurately... I gotta stare down the anguish squarely. Courageously, not masochistically. Face it. Until I step into the pain rather than away in retreat I'll just remain paralyzed "lying there... a long time" as the sickness and soreness fester, metastasize, and the eyes grow dim to hope.

That day by the Sheep Gate, the invalid found after 38! years! that his affliction was not an obstacle, but the very vehicle, to life and joy and peace.

I want to be healed, Lord Jesus.

Take me to Bethesda, your house of mercy, where you will stand me up in and grow me strong through the pain, where joy and sorrow are not opposites. I need to be healed.

Thank you for this Family that loves me when I'm blind, lame, and paralyzed. You give them to keep me standing here as they encourage me to not resist your healing by running away from my blues, and as they stand by the broken and as they step back to let your pruning run its full course.

Where I suffer, heal my unbelief, so I would suffer with you and thus enter into your glory: Into the peace deeper than anguish, the life stronger than death, the love that conquers fear.

By your saving, healing name Jesus,
YES! I want to be healed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

faith is a verb.

living faith,
an active faith,
a faith of verbs:

to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.

to seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.

// terry tempest williams