Monday, December 7, 2015

And Everette clings with both hands as it goes around and around.

But as for me, O LORD, I cry to you for help; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88:14

Gary finished up the Nehemiah and Ezra teaching yesterday at Vineyard City Church.  And one of the many take-home lessons is that no matter how wise, or clever; how called, or persistent we are, like Nehemiah for instance, we cannot do it. We cannot change hearts of stone.

The Law is limited. It helps, but it cannot do the job. It only prepares the way for the Way.

I remember my first day at Grace Christian School watching Jerry Bowen write on the chalkboard, teaching Old Testament to sixth graders, and the cycle of repentance, of blessing, of sin, of consequences, of repentance. Around and around we go.

Kind of like Everette’s new favorite thing, spinning around and around and around on the old wooden chair in the living room. Around and around. Except she likes it.

Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads. Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.

You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

And they confessed their sin. They repented. They made a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document were the names of their princes, their Levites, and their priests.

And then flip, flip, a few pages later, they were back into it all again.

Newton’s Second Law points out that systems tend to disorder.

It is the nature of fire to go out. We must stir it up, give it fuel and empty the ashes. –William Booth Salvation Army

Ann Voskamp articulates the daily battle.

The whole manna lesson.

The daily gathering.

(I am) the one who lives her life in circles, discovering, entering into, forgetting and losing, finding her way round  again, living her life in layers–deeper, round, further in. I know eucharisteo and the miracle. But I am not a woman who lives the full knowing. I am a wandering Israelite who sees the flame in the sky above, the pillar, the smoke from the mountain, the earth opens up and gives way, and still I forget. I am beset by chronic soul amnesia. I empty of truth and need the refilling. I need come again every day–bend, clutch, and remember–for who can gather the manna but once, hoarding and store away sustenance in the mind for all of the living?

Bowed at the edge of the world, Jesus ask me spun in circles, me coming to, only to lapse and forget again, He asks soft of me who is yet lost again what He asked of the man who was born blind: What do you want me to do for you?

What do you want?

Yes, the whole of life, these exercise to break down the knotting scar tissue from the fall. A summer of pain. Always the running. A summer of grace. Always the revelation. Pain is everywhere, and wherever there is pain there can be found everywhere grace, and yes, Jesus, I am struggling and I get turned around but I think I know, at least in part, what I want.

This kingdom laden with glory, this, the pearl of great price, the field that I’d sell everything to possess.

I whisper with the blind beggar, “Lord, I want to see.”

And so here I am yet again. With an empty basket. The lesson plans look paltry. The TO DO list only grew longer over the weekend. I can never curl up on the couch wrapped up in the knit blanket in front of the fire early enough to pack away sufficient strength for the next day. Can’t drink enough cups of coffee from the Italian espresso pot first thing in the morning.

And so once again I bend, kneel down before my Maker, who knows that I am but dust, and wait.

I will not leave this spot until You bless me.

I whisper with the blind beggar, “Lord, I want to see.”