Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Yes, My Lord.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13

I stared at the blank space opening up into the TUSD website: Create a new password.

And I paused.

Joann led this week’s Sunday School through a consideration of how one actually lives in the Word. And really, it’s a little odd the things that saints through the ages have found helpful. One example that she shared is how at first she thought it was a little odd that I would choose a Chorus of the Day to echo throughout my brain during the cracks of silence up and down Speedway and waiting at traffic lights.  I then shared the odd discipline of a coworker at the ranch in Mexico: every morning he would rise up and motion his way through putting on the full armor of God, so that he would be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. And we all read through Ephesians 6 to remind ourselves of the tools at our disposal. The same tools that saints through the ages have wielded. My dad had his kids memorize 26 Bible verses written on 3x5 cards, each one starting with a different letter of the alphabet. And he would keep the stack on the kitchen table, and time and time again we would run through them. And when I had “Zeal for Your house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me,” hidden in my heart that I might not sin against Thee, we started all over with a brand new set: And be sure your sins will find you out; Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another; Casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. And a rather tattered Tau cross hangs from basically a shoelace around my neck in this world of professional dress. And the sign of the cross comes quickly to my fingertips now, asking for the wisdom of the Father, the heart of the Son, and the strength and power of the Holy Spirit. Again and again. Because so easily I gambol off into my own lost lamb ways moment after moment, distracted by the least green snacky snack of grass or a colorful flitting butterfly or most frequently of all, a buzzing gnat swarm of discouraging thoughts.

The Monday night ladies are reading The Attentive Life, and the author shared his experiences living in a monastery with the brothers who prayed the hours, starting at three in the morning. And even though we were a room of ever-so-weary working women, something tugged at our soul-strings, this church bell call of further in and farther up. And we could all set our assorted technology to ring out the hours, as a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. And my homework is to investigate nearby silent retreats for us to step into, oddly enough in this rush rush world, for we don’t want to run this race in vain.

Thus I created a new password: CauseMe2, which in the world of The District means I will have to type it dozens, and maybe more dozens of times, a day.

CauseMe2 hear thy lovingkindness in the morning, for in Thee do I trust.
CauseMe2 know the way where in I should walk, for I lift up my soul unto Thee.

My background noise from yesterday.

Odd, but, so be it.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Really, everything has changed.

Even as the sun
Arises, stars piece the dark
And sing of His love.

This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

Where charity and love are, God is there.
Love of Christ has gathered us into one.
Let us rejoice in Him and be glad.
Let us fear, and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love as one.

Our visible, created universe is not simply an object created by a wholly other God in order to manifest God’s love, but the created universe is that love itself—the very heart of God, fully expressive in the dimension of time and form. -Cynthia Bourgeault

The name in German for mercy was Barmherzigkeit—“warmheartedness.” Mercy is the holy element, the root energy out of which all else in the visible universe is made. The Mercy is “holy substantiality”—the innermost essence of being itself. It is that “river of God,” running like the sap through the tree of life. - Jacob Boehme (1575-1624)

So I did the brisk morning walk thing this morning down and back to Tucson’s river… as the Catalinas were just catching the rays of the new day’s sun. The full moon had already crossed the night sky and sunk behind the western hills, but the starlight gleamed, casting the now ancient waves of love.

He is light, and in Him there is no darkness.

My brother Tom just had a cataract cut off of his left eye. And only as he can, he articulates the power and beauty of sight:
Tracy and I walked down the dirt road, stars breaking out overhead; oncoming headlights approached.
 I closed my right eye and looked: Crisp, clear lights pierced silhouetted trees and highlighter grass stems along the roadside. 
I closed my left eye and looked with only the right: A milky-white refulgence diffused my field of vision. I hesitated in my step, afraid to step into the car’s path.
                  this morning, looking into the mirror…
Wrinkles around my eyes; some sag along my mouth; swaths of missed, unshaven chin; sparsely-covered scalp, dotted with sunspots and freckles. Some rogue nose hairs clambered out from my left nostril.

I guess there’s a lot to consider from a single-eye cataract surgery. It’s the same swap as flat-earth to round-earth, geo-centric to helio-centric, Newtonian physics to Einsteinian relativity.

Really, nothing has changed.
Really, everything has changed.

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us! -1 Corinthians 13:12

Who knew that the number one surgery in the United States was cutting out cataracts? Cataracts develop slowly, but eventually they interfere with our vision– not seeing people’s expressions clearly, making it difficult to read, to notice nature, making it even dangerous to make judgment calls.

Every year about three million people have their clouded lens that lie behind the iris and pupil removed and replaced.

Such is the state of man, clouded vision.

Mom said that after her surgery, “leaves on trees appeared as individual leaves not just a green clump.”

Jenny said that she was “totally mesmerized by the shadows underneath pieces of gravel for a long time.”

But, she added, “But it’s also true, it changes only my perceiving of things.”

Dear LORD God, wield Your truth. Slice away all that keeps me from truly seeing. Replace my cloudy lens with Your light.

May I truly see Your creation, and thus Your love.

For You are love.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full.

Steadfast love and truth and faithfulness meet together;
Righteousness and peace kiss each other. Psalm 85:10

Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it, mount of Thy redeeming love

But if we are absolutely grounded in the absolute love of God that protects us from nothing, even as it sustains us in all things, it grounds us to face all things with courage and tenderness. –James Finley

God does not protect us from pain nor brokenness nor loss. 

Flames nor bullets nor torrents nor tyrants.

And man, life is hard. And I just don’t get it a bunch of the time. But neither did Solomon.

And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.

And when we pray, “Jesus, help us to have just a really good nice day today,” that is not from Him nor His heart.

However He does promise to sustain us.

That we may face today’s pain with courage.

And our brokenness helps us to be tenderhearted.

As He is tenderhearted, knowing that we are but dust.

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll even find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

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

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

May I walk in Your courage and tenderness today.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!

O God, when You went out before Your people,
When You marched through the wilderness, 
The earth trembled;
The heavens also poured down rain at the presence of God;
You, O God, sent abroad plentiful rain;
You confirmed Your inheritance when it was parched and weary.
Your flock found a dwelling place in it;
O God, in Your goodness You provided for the poor. Psalm 68:7-10

I have seen Him in the watch fires
Of a hundred circling camps.
They have builded Him an altar
In the evening dew and damps.
I can read His righteous sentence
In the dim and flaring lamps.
His day is marching on.


Friday prayers once again, as I walk through the words that have taken root over the many, many years, perhaps pruned and snipped here and there, but for the most part, prayers that came not from my understanding, but from the Spirit within. For Colby and Karen. For Amy and Jackson. Sophie. Harrison. Even Otto the wonderful friend.

And my Friday prayer for myself stares up at me today. And I am a different person than I was just a Friday ago.

I pray that I will be a light to the nations as He declares new things. 

And new things at this moment, in a way that it has never felt before. is new things that you, Mz. Christy, do not even have the tiniest clue of what lies ahead. Not the tiniest.

And sure, I have been reading James and the admonition not to state with implied arrogance, “Next week I shall go up to such and so town and do business,” but this moment just before dawn feels much more wide open.

Even before I read Email Number 47 from Sally, Director of Mar Qardakh School.

And I have been reading Lamentations. And Ezra.

Oh yes, and I have been reading the headlines.

And God is so very beyond our small understanding as He works to will His good purpose.

And I read this morning that Abraham Lincoln wept the first time he heard “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah.”

His day is marching on.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Let no other trust intrude.

Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. I Corinthians 1:20

Again and again He speaks to us: Come unto Me.
Lay your burdens down.

And so many months ago and miles ago, He made me His challenge: trust Me, Beloved child. I AM the companion by your side. Before you and Behind you. Learn of me, what it indeed means to be meek and lowly of heart.

Release. And you shall find rest for your souls.

He will embrace me in His arms.