Monday, November 18, 2013

The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. Romans 15:5-7

So it was a lovely Sunday because I got all of my schoolwork done on Saturday and I went to the Vineyard Saturday night because Alan had a morning soccer game and thus Sunday stared at me totally and delightfully wide open and empty. 

And I finished Romans and read the paper and ate my oatmeal and forgot to meet with Nati and I was already to walk the dogs around the park when Nicole arrived from a sleepover on Mt. Lemmon so I ended up going to a nearby church that I have been driving past for twenty years and was always just a little bit curious what went on inside those doors. 

And what happened is that we sang “We Glorify You LORD” over and over.   

And the pastor was one of those people that believe that we are all going to stand in big choirs in heaven singing praises for eternity to Him Who Sits on the Throne, and I don’t particularly agree with him, but I sure got a good glimpse of how that could be sweet.  

And Nicole’s friend from Minnesota led us in prayers for healing. And I prayed for the worship leader who was a dad of some of my students so long ago and had gone to Mexicali with me, and my hand on his knee burned and he was healed and could cross his legs pain free for the first time in years and years. But nothing on the entire checklist that Cindy the nurse had made the day before on our hike to Sabino Canyon for me to go see a doctor about and she emailed me a good doctor that very afternoon seems to have changed for the better.  And we went out for date and goat cheese pizza afterwards and hung around the living room and told stories of the adventures of life with God especially the bit about welcoming one another as Christ as welcomed you and that was good.

And we prayed for Juan Gabriel. 

And then over to Heather and Dustin and Everette’s for yummy fish and beet salad and Breyer’s vanilla ice cream last night. So very delicious especially when we dwelt on the idea that being thankful has rippling repercussions. But the conversation turned a little discouraging as we talked about the living in harmony with one another part because that is really hard because we are all a little off-key. And really I would just love to tell some people what I think and take back my toys and march away. Far away.

And He is a God of endurance. Which reminds me of Tom Copp’s remaining under that entered just about every sermon he taught for so many years. Endurance or steadfastness or patience are all translations of hupomeno, from two words: meno means to remain and hupo means under. The testing of your faith produces the ability to remain under. And in Gordon MacDonald’s book When Life is Hard he says The thing we most want to do when life is hard is to jump ship, but staying put is the very thing God wants to teach us. This is key: If God can get you to the the ability to remain under the pressure, He can give you every other good thing He wants for you. All of the character qualities God wants to pour into your life are coming through the funnel called “remaining under.” He wants you to stick with it, hang in there, and in NO circumstances give up.

And ol’ Peter says, Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you. Remain under the pressure by God’s grace and in His strength and when you meet the test by perseverance, a lot of great things are in your future.

And James says, Let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be complete, lacking in nothing.

And I was editing a devotional by Matteo yesterday, since I had so much delightful free time, and Matteo says, And here it is the point: Your Kingdom come: HIS WILL. His will is not the easy happy ending Walt Disney movie, but a man who dies, bleeding and with nails. His will is, from our perspective a sacrifice, from God’s perspective a gift. 

Thus God seems to fulfill step-by-step His to do list: I was in prison and he promised me a land of freedom, He nourished me with food and gave me drink, new clothes for the new life and then He washed my feet.

Pila, Italy, August 1, 2013, 22 p.m. During the 130 miles march of this summer toward Assisi we celebrated the ritual of the washing of the feet. Yes, He washed my feet. They were quite sweaty and smelled of hours of walking under the boiling sun. Our monks washed the feet to everyone while singing Maranatha. I could also emphasize the poetry of the moment...under the pines..the sun going down, crickets starting to sing...but it was not at all about that. It was a loving touch: those hands with water, that kiss on my feet. Oh Creator, you take me as I am, your promise is fulfilled, you give me eternal wishes, you give vocations of love.

And He is a God of endurance and encouragement. May He grant me to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together we may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And somehow hospitality is all tied up with this. 

And remaining under.

Thank you Father God, for this very specific word of encouragement, a word to endure, to remain under, until your good work is accomplished. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

And this morning the very full moon rose high in the pre-dawn blue sky full of black almost-full-of-rain-but-probably-not clouds. But the moon still held forth promise, bright and shining.