Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Fortunate Fall.

For God alone my soul in silence waits; truly, my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken. In God is my safety and my honor; God is my strong rock and my refuge. Put your trust in Him always, O people, pour out your hearts before Him, for God is our refuge. Those of high degree are but a fleeting breath, even those of low estate cannot be trusted. On the scales they are lighter than a breath, all of them together. God has spoken once, twice have I heard it, that power belongs to God. Steadfast love is yours, O Lord, for you repay everyone according to His deeds. Psalm 62:6–14

There’s that refuge word again. And again. Twice I have heard it, that power belongs to God.

And last night at the annual Gingerbread House Event in which the Louvre, a pickup truck, an outhouse and even a dumpster on fire were constructed out of graham crackers, bowl upon bowls of icing, and an ancient gathering of gumdrops, licorice sticks, and pretzels, I overheard a conversation about this waiting thing.

Is this God is Love thing something that we humans have constructed out of scavenged fairy tales and shaky longings like that beautiful Rapunzel tower covered with bright green vines and flowers that tumbled over into a sweet heap with a slight shift of the plastic-covered table?

I pushed my way into the conversation with my go-to guy Puddleglum who, after stomping out the foggy-witch-lies with his bare webbed feet, comes back, limping, because of the pain, and looks the Deceiver in the eye and declares: Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it.

And I think of ol’ John the Baptist, stuck in prison for speaking the truth, staring at the sturdy rock walls around him, with only a slight glint of outside sunlight, sending this same message to Jesus: Are you the One we have been waiting for? Is this what is looks like, all of this hope and glory?

And Jesus replied, “Yep. This is it. Look and Listen. Blessed are those that do not stumble.

Happy is she who does not stumble.

So I choose the Joy Dare, and look carefully and listen carefully for the miraculous, the manger-small, and angelic song.

As I sit quietly by candlelight and quilt a Christmas stocking for Simone, which means She Who Listens.

Almighty God, who of Thine infinite wisdom has ordained that I should live my life within these narrow bounds of time and circumstance, let me now go forth into the world with a brave and trustful heart. It has pleased Thee to withhold from me a perfect knowledge; therefore deny me not the grace of faith by which I may lay hold of things unseen. Thou hast given me little power to mould things to my own desire; therefore use Thine own omnipotence to bring Thy desires to pass within me. Thou hast willed it that through labour and pain I should walk the upward way; be Thou then my fellow traveller as I go. –John Baillie

Stir up Your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let Your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory now and for ever. Amen.

His power. His grace. His mercy.
Heaping and overflowing, poured into our lap.


The fullness of the Godhead knit with our humanity
Flesh and bones sewn in the heart of God inseparably
I know, I know, and I believe You are the Lord
I know, I know, and I believe You are the Lord
Help my unbelief.

Strange and sweet collision of justice and mercy
Your burden is light and your yoke is easy.
I know, I know, and I believe that You are the Lord
I know, I know, and I believe that You are the Lord
Help my unbelief.

O happy fault that gained for me the chance to know you, Lord
to touch your wounded side and know the joy of my reward 
I know, I know, and I believe that You are the Lord
I know, I know, and I believe that You are the Lord
Help my unbelief.

My Lord and my God
My Lord and my God
I know, I know, and I believe
I know, I know, and I believe
Help my unbelief
Help my unbelief.  –Audry Assad