Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On the portals He’s waiting and watching.

Sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things. Psalm 98:1

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:11

In Western Christianity, September 21 is the feast of St. Matthew. Jesus’ calling of Matthew, a publican and tax collector, scandalized the Pharisees and left the Church lasting proof of His saving compassion.

As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him. Now while he was at table in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice. And indeed I came to call not the upright, but sinners.’ Matthew 9:9-13

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

So yesterday I got a surprise Skype from Matteo. Well, Skype wasn’t working so we googled whatever. And I think the purpose of the phone call was to simply say, “God makes beautiful things. He is making me new.”

He has done, and is doing marvelous things.

And Matteo said an odd thing yesterday, “ I could die now.” But upon consideration, he is exactly right. If he died now, it would be a pretty seamless transition into heaven. He lives in a Christian community, nestled in the top
floor of an ancient something or other overlooking the two towers in Bologna. And I got a brief tour of the room, of the small chapel set up for worship, of the skylight that glows over where he practices his violin, of the small bed tidy in the corner. And they do the Acts Two thing, cooking and cleaning and sharing. Matteo’s job is to maintain the organic compost pile.  The streets outside are filled with music and food and stories and then there is this little nest when he needs to curl up under His Father’s wing and be still. And this is what we were created for, relationship. Relationship with God. With each other. And with our self.

And before he hung up, Matteo asked if he could pray for me. And he prayed over me the very verses that I had just read moments before: Sing to the Lord a new song. And may our loving God fill my heart with a new song. And later, in morning chapel, Imago Dei read together Psalm 51 yet one more time, repeating in community: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. And Sunday, when I went to City Vineyard to hear Mary Anne teach on Haggai and God’s call to build His temple, we sang You make beautiful things out of the dust, and when Cameron Hood sings that song, I weep for joy.

And that is what Jesus is all about, seeking to save that which was lost.
Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

And Mary Anne’s teaching was all about this call word too.

How did the LORD help His people overcome the enemy and get them out of their rut?
He was patient with them.
He lovingly disciplined them
He sent His world through the prophets: what they were doing wrong, and how to change it.

He calls us to prepare our hearts: We must forgive in order to be forgiven.
He calls us to be filled with His Spirit.
He calls us to know our spiritual gifts and use them.
He calls us to build His house together so He might more fully dwell among us

And now, thanks to google.com which now permeates every aspect of my life, I have a clear image of what my heart, His home, might look like. The room with a view looking outwards.