Have you seen Legend? Do you remember the scene when Tom Cruise’s character has to cross the swampy waters outside of the dark sorcerer’s castle? Or what about all the stories where one embarks to cross some dark, misty waters alone. I feel as if I am about to embark on such a journey. But it’s not the presence of evil that terrifies me so much as the wide, open empty that lurks ahead and seems as if it will invade my own life.
Page CXVI has been releasing albums associated with the seasons of the church year. As the Church gears up for Lent they are releasing a new album, “Lent to Maundy Thursday.” I’ve always been excited by their church calendar project and enjoy their energy as they remind us of the creative power of music.
I know I’ll be listening to them this Lent and may even write some devotions to pair with the album. Release date is tomorrow, March 4th just before the start of the Lenten season.
Last month I was blessed with the fortune to travel to Dublin for the Encounter Culture gathering with 24-7 Prayer folks. There I encountered friends far flung in different corners of the globe, met new God lovers, had sweet times of encounter with Jesus in worship and extravagant generosity poured out by brother’s and sisters. Saturday I encountered Jesus in profound ways at St. Mark’s, in the prayer room with Dayne, at lunch with friends, in a fire tunnel, banquet in Trinity College, in a ceilidh, scarf auction, poi and in a pub with my friend Danny. These were magic moments. Thank you Jesus!!!
I took this photo and wrote the tanka imposed on it, if I remember correctly, over eight years ago. The energy bound up in the tension of this photo is trying to balance two sets of paradox. In a peace studies sense I was trying to balance the individual’s need to contribute and offer a perspective of life and the need for the individual to give itself away into a larger whole so there can be harmony. On a personal level I was struggling with the tension of holding on to the sense of community and meaning I was finding in the human relationships among my fellow students and the reality that I was not willing to admit, that the course of life would take that particular togetherness and scatter it.
“A thousand grasses” among the fields of people that cover the earth. There are individual blades but grass is never properly understood as a single blade, its part of a larger patch at least and in this case a field. The field of human “being” is always in this bundled tension where boundaries blur amid the winds of life.
“Waving, spitting out the earth.” We all consume something from earth and give something back. Something like the circle of life. But as we each participate in life’s energies our contribution, our respiration, our reciprocity is markedly unique among sentient beings. How we do this and whether it is constructive and life giving or not lies within our boundaries. The person who understands wholeness understands that we are kings under our own umbrella. Within these boundaries we are called to contribute to the creation from the unique position we occupy in the world.
“They will all stand together.” This is a human hope. It is a prayer. We don’t stand together now and we will subject ourselves to various kinds of unjust and dehumanizing systems in order to stay together in false harmony. We are driven by insecurity; unless we have found the only satisfying security. “As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the Lord Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.” (Psalm 48:8, NIV). True harmony is in conformity with the truth and such a reality may demand us to suffer in dying to our old paradigms and ways of gaining security but it will bring deliverance from violence. Where I was once afraid, and continue to be so amidst the impermanence of life, I recognize that God alone is the remedy for all of my inconstancy.
“In the midst, together.” In the midst of what? In the midst of that hope of resurrection and a new heavens and new earth. “The Church . . . will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ” (LG 48).
The ache of impermanence suggests we live for a better country and a city, a kingdom that will endure and hold us all in love. A city in which God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Predicated on such a hope I can firmly declare amidst the winds of life there is a greater, divine wind that is gathering people from among the fields of the earth and establishing secretly in their hearts such a kingdom that cannot be shaken and in which “‘love one another” is the rule. The incarnation of hope or the future reality of our hope stands in comes to us in the form of joy. Of the many responses to joy in life I think dancing together is among one of the more authentic responses we can have. Dance away.
I’ve felt like tumbleweed lately. Blowing through life, blowing from here to there and losing pieces and catching treasure and garbage on the way. The last six years of my life has seen a lot of movement.
Now that I’ve finally finished my college degree I find myself hinged between two incessant demands— to buzz with more energy and dynamically step into long anticipated vocation and then to stop, rest, recuperate and reevaluate the particulars and stations of life my vocation might take me for the next pivotal steps of my adult life. Somewhere lodged in between these two desires is the desire to run like hell away from vocation, away from pressure, away from growing[up].
After a series of many transitions I find myself yet in a time of great transition. The future looms uncertain yet exciting. I’m tired and feel as though I shouldn’t be.
,,, So many shouldn’t bes; I shake them off like the false accusations they are. ,,,
I think about my roots and where I’ve been and how every time I’ve had to uproot I’ve had to rip somewhere and leave some behind. I feel their pain in memories and missed dear ones and fond places. I remind myself that God prepared my roots for transplant and it’d hurt so much more if I hadn’t allowed him to work in me. Will I let the Father prune me now?
This is where I tap in. I get myself wet in the living water of His presence. I drink in from the generosity that the Father has lavished on his kids. This is where I resolve not to give into fear as I let him make His home within me; I live in perfect love—I must never forget it.
Withdrawing from the world and taping into the Vine, this is what is so essential now and often. Taping into life, taping into God, taping into what makes me radiate with life and vitality, withdrawing from the need to answer it all, to chart my course and spell out all the logistics, this is what I must do—I must wait and rest and therefore be patient and obedient that I may grow and not stagnate, that I may bear fruit and not shrivel up. This where I repeat the oft said words at the conjunctions of life— Jesus I trust you. I’m taking these roots, with whatever they’ve got, and I’m taping in.
Well, after almost ten years of using Xanga I’ve made the transition to WordPress. I’ve actually been thinking about making my primary blog here but the possibility of Xanga closing sealed the deal. Perhaps I’ll write more often now.