Saturday, June 17, 2017

And they recognized them that they had been with Jesus.

The sun comes up; a new day is dawning.
Bless the Lord O my soul; worship His holy name.

Therefore my heart is comforted and my glory is exalted; even my body shall rest in hope. Psalm 2:26

Once again, I find myself on a mini-sabbatical from the caldron of Tucson far, far below the light breezes jostling the pine needles. And this time I read The Acts of the Apostles; my life has done several flip turns since those days of The Journeys of Paul coloring sheets in Sunday School. Now Antioch and Athens and Syracuse and Damascus have faces and stories that grip my soul.

And my takeaway points were unexpected.

Well, the first one, not so much.

Christian community has been a yearning for ever so long: And all the believers were together and had all things in common; and those who had possessions sold them and divided to each man according to his need. And they went to the temple together every day with one accord;; and at home they broke bread and received it with joy and with a pure heart. Praising God and finding favor with all the people.

Oddly enough I am getting picked up at the Prague airport to be welcomed into a Christian community living in an old monastery who serves refugees in Greece and Turkey. No clear specifics yet, but my first door of welcoming after the net dropping.

…all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the world of God boldly… I am not such a bold speaker. Rather I hedge and stumble and never finish my sentences. But may the Lord’s Spirit speak through me with courage and clarity on this next journey. And maybe, just maybe that thing of tongues… I have only received this gift once actually, back in Barrio Nuesta Esfuerza in La Republica Dominicana. I was leading a Bible study of sorts, and then suddenly my pronunciation and vocabulary and context exploded, and I didn’t even understand what I was really saying, it was so clear and polished, and five women accepted the Lord as Savior, and my friend Ramona was dumbfounded because it was crazy obvious. So dear God, bless me with the gift of tongues.

Now there was in Damascus a disciple named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, my Lord…then Ananias went. And even though fear was a reasonable response, he went out the door, and who could have even begun to imagine where that simple step of faith led?

and He has appointed seasons by His command… The last two weeks has been a transition of seasons, crunching through the dry, fallen leaves, whispering goodbye to the past. I tug at my coat collar to keep out the biting winter wind cutting through to my heart as I lock old doors one last time and turn away.

But just as year after year I have witnessed the beautiful rhythms that declare to mankind that they should seek and search after God, and find Him by means of His creations, because He is not far from any one of us, I know that after the quiet fallow rest there comes a time of hope-full planting, of refreshing rains growth and of glorious harvest once more. He is faithful to will and to work His good purposes in His time.

I sit curled up on a mossy granite boulder and watched the little stream with skating water bugs bubble through Marshall Gulch.  So much goodness and delight and grace. Thank you, Father in heaven. Can I not rest in Your faithfulness? Yes.

Be not afraid, but speak and be not silent. For I am with you.

Therefore, I echo the words of Paul as he turned to Rome: But to me my life is nothing; I am not afraid. I desire only that I may finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have received from our Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Amen. May it be so.

And the Sunday before I leave on this journey, I will become a full member of good standing at Prince Chapel African American Methodist Episcopalian Church, and they are going to lay hands on me and send me out in love and joy. And we spent the entirety of one of our membership classes reviewing the lives of the Wesley brothers, founders of the Methodist Church.

And today, the Common Prayer for today was John’s prayer:
I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what Thou wilt, rank my with whom Thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed for Thee or laid aside for Thee, exalted for Thee or brought low for Thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, though art  mine, and I am thine. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Amen. May it be so.