Tuesday, October 25, 2016

And yesterday afternoon there was a brief rainstorm, whipped up winds quenched by spattering drops.

Happy are the people whose strength is in You! whose hearts are set on the pilgrims’ way. Psalm 84:4

For my part, I will sing of your strength; I will celebrate your love in the morning; For you have become my stronghold, a refuge in the day of my trouble. To you, O my Strength, will I sing; for you, O God, are my stronghold and my merciful God. Psalm 59:18-20

I woke up as usual this morning, without the alarm. Four o’clock it is. I lay there is the dark stillness spinning gently around my head. And in the distance, deep within my heart, I heard a song, a chorus over and over: torre fuerte es el nombre del Señor. Torre fuerte es el nombre del Señor.

A song that I haven’t really thought about for ever so long. That little chorus was the background track of my over-the-top crazy Rancho La Argentina world… the volunteers, the villages, the broken well pumps and rattlesnakes in every corner… and three beloved tousled-headed daughters, one of whom, Bam Bam Dre determined to save the cattle by stomping on all of the locusts with her pointy-toed cowboy boots.

A strong tower is His name. To Him, and to Him alone will I run.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Each day is a journey through the desert.

Search for the LORD and His strength; continually seek His face. Psalm 105:4

If all of our human crucifixions are leading to some possible resurrection, and are not dead-end tragedies, this changes everything. If God is somehow participating in our human suffering, instead of just passively tolerating it and observing it, that also changes everything. –Richard Rohr

 Once again the Cry Out newsletter arrived to my inbox.
At 1:45 am early Monday morning, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi along with his entourage of advisors and military colonels announced in a nationally televised address, "The hour has come and the moment of great victory is near. I announce today the start of the operation to liberate Mosul."

There are somewhere between 700,000 and 1.5 million people who have been held captive by ISIS's brutal regime for over 2 years in Mosul. This is the largest city that ISIS has controlled and it was the place they declared the Islamic Caliph on July 4, 2014.

And I sit quietly before my LORD God. The One Who So Loved the World. Humble and helpless is okay, because He promises His strength. And somehow a memory bubbled up on my blog, a true story of some young Kurds who crossed the desert. And this story ties my heart up into a knot, bound with their pain.

In this way, I can be like Jesus. I can have His heart, His heart flaming with divine love, tender and broken.

May it be so.

Lord God, we come before you and ask you to turn our hearts and minds to you alone, to you who have power over the whole world and who can do everything in our hearts according to Your will. Let there be light in our time. Hear and answer the many prayers that have already come to you, rising for centuries before your throne, prayers for Your kingdom and for Your will on earth. This earth has become the prey of evil. We are poor and needy, and You alone can help us. Help us, O Lord, our God and Father. After this misery let Your day come, Your great day over all the world and over all peoples. Amen.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

And overhead the birds welcomed the sun rising up behind the Rincons

“Be still, then, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:11

“Before you speak of peace, you must first have it in your heart.” —St. Francis of Assisi

Richard Rohr spoke of imagining myself sitting on the shore of a river with boats floating past, boats piled high with thoughts and feelings. And while acknowledging them with a nod, yes, this is indeed one of my thoughts, I allow them to continue to float on down the river without jumping on the boat. Just let it float away. This is a practice in un-possessing, detaching, letting go. With every idea, with every image that comes into your head, say, “No, I’m not that; I don’t need that; that’s not me.”

As I walked down to the Benedictine Monastery this morning to spend some time remembering my crucified Savior, the one who chose to become what you fear: nakedness, exposure, vulnerability, and failure. . . . He became the crucified so we would stop crucifying, another image came into my heart, that of a rolling sea.

Waves are indeed real. And they have force and strength, but if I don’t fight them, if I duck down under them, they dissipate into a quiet soothing surf. And a peace surged through me. A profound peace, perhaps that same profound humility that I have been asking for.

It’s not about me.

It’s the we, the beloved sheep stumbling through life.

The ones He came to seek.

Jesus became the sinned-against one to reveal the hidden nature of scapegoating. Jesus says from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

I sure don't know what I am doing.

But at the end of it all, He will be exalted.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases. His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning. New every morning.
Great is His faithfulness. 
Be peace.