Tuesday, March 31, 2015

And the balloons spun around and around and around with high-pitched screams.

Call to Worship For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:20

Well, there was nothing peaceful about my classroom or the center patio yesterday when we poured out through the door with fishing line, balloons, meter sticks and scotch tape. And I felt all the teachers’ and monitors’ head-shaking pity, Doesn’t she know better?!?!?!?!?

And like I wrote my mom this morning, Mondays are often the worst days because the kids are coming off of a weekend of pain, anger, confusion, sleeplessness at home.

So just before I left yesterday, I shoved the tables around into a new, boring configuration and redid the class setup yet one more time last night, printing up the seating charts and inserting them into plastic page covers.

But what is most helpful, besides a wise pep talk with Nicole, is being reminded of what is true by ol’ Ann Voscamp as she is wandering the goat pastures outside of Bethlehem: Are our lives really bearing real fruit — or are we duct-taping on fruit to really impress others with our lives? 

We’d all sat with that here, shaken.

For weeks, we’ve all been shook with what Jesus said: “I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.”

And it doesn’t make one iota of difference if you’re living in the middle of global war zones or some battle zone in your own church, community, kids or marriage — or if you’re fighting a battle inside yourself — you can either ruminate like a beast over the injustice of it all, till you feel some literal heartburn and the scorch of the whole thing searing off real layers of your soul — or you can plow the pain into purpose.

Where there’s conflict — we don’t have to condemn the other, we don’t have to curse the future, we don’t have to circumvent the circumstances.
Where there’s conflict, there’s an opportunity — to practice being like Christ.
The world would change if, like Jesus, we chose
a donkey over a steed,
a cross over a crown,
a palm branch over bitterness,
and grace over guilt.

And Carlos Azarte and the Kind Souls have a new song about injustice, and a sixteen-year-old black kid who was wrongly thrown into jail for most of his life accused of  setting the Pioneer Hotel fire. Yeah, the world is full of injustice. Even in the midst of glory-filled sunsets.

Yeah, the world is full of conflict.

And condemnation.

And circumstances.

And for this we have the cross and His reconciliation.

Glory.

Contemplation All of our shortcomings related to Lent are but a microcosm of our ragged and duplicitous selves. We are far more sinful than anything we are willing to admit here. Indeed, far worse than we know or could even imagine. But the grace of God in Christ Jesus is far more lovely and powerful than we have ever dreamed.


Prayer: May I be filled with Your grace today, far more lovely and powerful than the world could ever dream.