Saturday, July 12, 2014

And in case you did not hear Me the first time

Porque como están de altos los cielos sobre la tierra,
así es de grande su misericordia para los que le temen.
Como está de lejos el oriente del occidente,
así alejó de nosotros nuestras transgresiones.
Como un padre se compadece de sus hijos,
así se compadece el Señor de los que le temen.
Porque El sabe de qué estamos hechos,
se acuerda de que somos sólo polvo. Salmo 103,11-14

For as the heavens are high above the earth, so is His mercy great upon those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our sins from us. As a father cares for His children, so does the LORD care for those who fear Him.  For He Himself knows whereof we are made; He remembers that we are but dust. Psalm 103:11-14

Yesterday in Large Group I read aloud a piece begun on El Camino to answer the essay prompt, Is man good or bad? And I do remember sitting in that little café in Istanbul, and God whispering, “This one, and this one, and yes that one too. Each one is my beloved, yet broken child. For we are but dust.”

And as my way continued its way through Italy, France, Spain and back again, that presence of Love was with me, pointing and centering. And Matteo’s parting prayer was a declaration of truth: "Oh Lord, our short life is just a lesson for us to finally learn how to Love."

The big thing in our writing workshop is pointing and centering. And it is really, really hard for us teacher-types to avoid evaluating words like good and bad. And the phrases, “I like…” and “…needs more development.” We even get dinged for things like “powerful” and “effective.” Pointing involves listing words or phrases that stand out. Noticing. And Centering is focusing on the unifying truth or heart of the piece. And we practiced a lot, yesterday.

And yesterday I was able to pause, like my Savior, and look at the eyes and listen to the stories and poems of aching dusty souls. Stories of condemned yet innocent brothers and stepping outside of the family faith and being fat in middle school.

Nicole told a story yesterday, about a very straight-laced Wheaton football player type whose work companions were smirking at him in the background as he stepped forward to serve a very obviously and towering tall transvestite. And all he had to do was look her in the eyes, and his heart flowed with God’s love without a hint of awkwardness.

And as I work my way through Stott’s The Sermon on the Mount: Christian Counterculture and weigh the words that prefaced the lament of Jesus, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?” I am faced with a high calling: Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

And one thing about all of this traveling, I have a much better sense of how far the east is from the west.

So be it.