Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Velcroed Keens to keep from slipping.

Let them give thanks to the LORD for His mercy and the wonders He does for His children. Psalm 107:21

One who has loved is never quite alone,
though all the hills declare our solitude.
Having known you, I am no more afraid,
the essential singleness of blood and bone
when dispossessed, comes never in return; 
one who has loved is never quite alone. -Jane Tyson Clement

The wonder of it all. These last few days have been filled with pillared stones of the LORD’s marvels piled high around me, a fortressed home no matter my soujourn.

Thank You.

Never quite alone.

So many souls have shoved aside my blood and bone and crowded into my heart, essential singleness forever busted.

Having known you, you all my beloved.

The myriad you who embrace with both strong arms wrapped all the way around who laugh looking downward who send yet another silly meme who have eyes that crinkle in the corners or whose soft white hair tumbles over shoulders.

The beloved.

Having known You.

The Belover.

I am not afraid. The trail leading out the front door towards the tumbled eastern Rincon hills may look long and alone.

Fear not, for I AM Here, Yahweh-Shammah.

The name of the LORD God is a promise. A promise made in the wilderness of despair with but a stone for a pillow, a stone that became a pillar of promise.

And reading the crazy antics of Jacob and Rachel and Laban and what, suddenly Esau is the good guy? reminds me that we are but foolish spotted and speckled and banded sheep. Each and every one of us.

But Your mercy endures forever.

Blessed be the name of the LORD.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The physical manifestation of The LORD Who Sees.

My friend Meg Newberg has some of the most open eyes I know. With her paintbrush she can capture every nuance of desert sunlight, and yes, every corresponding desert shadow. And just this week she reminded me of her favorite name of God, El Roi, The One Who Sees.

And yet again, it is the heathen outcast, this time Hagar, the Egyptian slave, who encounters God.

Then Hagar called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, "You are God Who Sees"; for she said, "Have I not even here in the wilderness remained alive after seeing Him who sees me with understanding and compassion?" Genesis 16:13

The God Who Sees sent Hagar back home, to live in humility and service, but in the confidence of His promise that her blessings would be too many to count.

And literally, it was the Angel of the LORD who found her by a spring of water. Many Bible scholars believe that this Angel may be a theophany, that is, a physical manifestation of God, in which case the word Angel is capitalized. The Angel of the LORD may, based on context, be the pre-incarnate Christ, the Son of God.

And "literally" is the big go to word these days, and falls out of lips carelessly and without consideration all day long.

But here the term is weighted and potent.

Literally the Christ, who leaves the ninety and nine and pursues the lost and lonely sheep. And reaches down and binds her wounds and lifts her up and carries her home in His gentle embrace.

And yesterday I read about Hagar and this being seen. And literally once again Hagar's empty water skin was empty, drained and crusty. And literally the heat of the desert sun pelted down around her, once again. And literally Hagar had abandoned her joy and her dreams and her hope of a future once again, under a bush to die.

She lifted her broken cry up to YHWH Jireh, and once again The Angel of the LORD responded, "What troubles you? Do not be afraid."

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the empty skin with water. Genesis 21:19

Literally, Hebrew YHWH jireh. Literally the LORD will see (in the sense of "see to it").

Not only does YHWH Jireh see. Not only will YHWH Jireh see to it.

YHWH Jireh also opens eyes to see His provision. 

His daily water, splashing and bountiful, enough for yet another day.


Monday, January 15, 2018

He split rocks in the wilderness.

He split rocks in the wilderness
And gave them abundant water to drink like the ocean depths.

Yet He commanded the skies above
    and opened the doors of heaven,
 and He rained down on them manna to eat
    and gave them the grain of heaven. Psalm 78


Enough echoed throughout my thoughts yesterday: on the steep before-breakfast walk-a-round with momma, on the straight forward drive across dry plains to Bisbee, and here again this morning, at the The Rooming House watching yet one more sunrise climb up the surrounding slopes, just before I head up Cross Hill with the workaway volunteer, Amy.

Actually, what I heard was the Spanish or Italian translation, ¡Basta! with a much stronger exclamation: to implore someone to stop their train of thought or dialogue. I'm not hearing anymore of this! I'm not listening anymore! That's enough. Stop!

Another example of when you may use the word basta is when someone is filling your plate and there is enough food on it. One thing about traveling with Rachel is that we pretty much eat tasty food nonstop. Especially chocolate. A sweet reminder of what filled up and overflowing really feels like.

And the LORD God Almighty is very, very weary of His beloved Israelite children in Psalm 78. Of their moping and mumbling instead of rejoicing in the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, instead of telling of His great might and power and the wonderful works that He has done; forgetting His incredible works And His miraculous wonders that He had shown them. And in their hearts they put God to the test By asking for food according to their selfish appetite.

Therefore, when the Lord heard, He was full of wrath;
A fire was kindled against them,
And His anger mounted up,
Because they did not believe in God; they did not rely on Him, they did not adhere to Him,
And they did not trust in His salvation, His power to save.


Dear, dear child Christy.
Cannot you not understand?


Lay down your lists and expectations, your longings for leeks, and open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

Listen, O my people, to my teaching;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth and be willing to learn.

I am the plate of deliciousness.
I am Enough.


Monday, January 8, 2018

The will to obey.

Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands His steadfast love,
    and at night His song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:7-8

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus 
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free 
Rolling as a mighty ocean 
In its fullness over me.

Lord, we pray not to get lost in the reality of our own depravity, but rather to find ourselves morning by morning in the light of Your mercy and redemption. Amen

New every morning, great is Thy faithfulness.
I shall not want, when I taste Your goodness.
When I am bowed down with sorrow I will lift up Your name
For You are good to me, good to me,
And I lift my eyes to the hills from where my heart is from
Your goodness and Your mercy shall follow me all of my life
I trust in Your goodness,
I trust in Your promise.

You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos
From the chains of a lesser law You set me free
In the silence of the heart You speak
And it there that I will know You and You know me
You satisfy me till I am quiet and confident
In the work of the Spirit I cannot see.
In the silence of the heart You speak.

So yesterday momma and I helped out at the Interfaith Packathon, two hundredish people at the Muslim Community Center measuring exactly 388-390 grams of rice and beans dried vegetables and vitamins and spices into then sealed bags, 50,000 meals. And the event began with prayer, and there was a break for the two o’clock prayers as well.

And the heart-piercingly beautiful call to worship brought back so many memories of dusty skies over wide rivers.

And as the men knelt down on spread out carpets, I joined them in their prayer: Dear LORD God of heaven and earth, please reveal Yourself.  And may we have eyes to see and ears to hear.  And the will to obey. 

Dear LORD God of heaven and earth, here I am once again.

And I find myself much like Meg and Jo in Little Women, murmuring about once again shouldering the daily burdens after the holidays, “Oh, dear, how hard it does seem to take up our packs and go on,” sighed Meg the morning after the party, for now the holidays were over, the week of merrymaking did not fit her for going on easily with the tasks of every day life.

And me, huh. I had two weeks of beyond-imagination merrymaking, full of dinner parties and bouquets by my bedside from my beautiful sister, and parties and a lovely drive home and reading and resting and not working, because washing dishes is not work.

But of course, good old Marmee spoke truth into the story, “We are never too old for this, my dear, because it is a play we are playing all the time in one way or another. Our burdens are here, our road is before us, and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes to the peace which is a true Celestial City.”

The will to obey.

Audrey Assad has sung truth into my morning as well.

You dwell in the songs that we are singing,
Rising to the Heavens, rising to Your heart, Your heart.
Our praises filling up the spaces
In between our frailty and everything You are
You are the keeper of my heart
And I'm restless, I'm restless
'Til I rest in You, 'til I rest in You

I am restless, I'm restless
'Til I rest in You, 'til I rest in You
Oh God, I wanna rest in You

The peace.

And because momma and I are a little crazy, we start off Sundays eating breakfast together over the both the New York Times and The Arizona Daily Star, and then we go on over to Trinity Presbyterian for the breaking of the bread and the passing of the peace, before we head off to our other places of worship.

The peace.

May it be so.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

He anoints my thoughts with oil.

He revives my soul, and guides me along right pathways for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3

A Christian is one who points at Christ and says, “I can’t prove a thing, but there’s something about His eyes and His voice. There’s something about the way He carries His head, His hands, the way He carries His cross–the way He carries me. –Frederick Buechner

Overlooking the bay in Pacifica, in peace.

In His peace, He who has carried me thus far, His tenderness and grace, His lovingkindness. “Standing in the shadows of love” is pulsing in the background, part of Andrew Jones’ Motown soundtrack while he works on Nicole’s website, And Andrew also replaced my windshield wipers and checked the car oil and air pressure. Lovingkindness. 

And just a few days ago, Jenny was commenting to me that at dawn, shadows are created by the rising sun, a visible image of light taking over the darkness.

And each morning as we face the still-shadowed path of His love, what is true is that I this path is Known. For His name’s sake.

And one cannot even make up the past few days of connections across the years and miles yet woven tightly together in the Spirit.

Who knows?

He knows.

And Carla, Nicole’s team partner in Bali is at this very moment being admitted to the local hospital with dengue fever. And I know how much fun that can be, three days of absolutely mind-blasting pain. The folks at the Clinica de Alamos had handed me a brown paper bag of morphine shots and told me to wait it out. But I didn't have to pop those needles into my own thigh because Dr. John Shaw was visiting that week, running a clinic in Osobaumpo. And with each whack of each needle into my thigh, Dr. John sadly shook his head and said, "It's not supposed to be like this."

And Carla’s WhatsApp texts affirm the embracing arms of Christ, full of His peace and laughing emoj’s, plotting yet another chapter in the sometimes quite even humorous blog of His faithfulness.

And in just a bit I will pop into faithful Rabbit and head over to the Sacramento airport and pick up Clay Pell and begin the journey home. I look forward to even more stories of Knowness, albeit through dark valleys. More oil dribbled down over my soul.

The healing powers of oil are fresh in my body and spirit, since Vivian gifted me with an ever-so-deep tissue massage, so profoundly deep that Joyce’s strong fingers even reached my aching soul.


Be about the Father’s business.

For His name’s sake.

And tomorrow, LW, when the bestickered and now quite bedraggled VW pulls into her new parking space in front of 911 N Sixth Avenue, may my soul rejoice in today’s slightly modified prayer for the journey:
May the peace of the Lord Christ be with me, wherever He may send me.
May He guide me through the long dry wilderness of droughted California desert, protecting through whatever dust storms and traffic jams may await me.
May He bring me home rejoicing, at the wonders He has shown me.
May He bring me home rejoicing, once again into the doors.