Sunday, July 2, 2017

The east began for me as soon as I boarded the Royal Jordanian airplane at Chicago O’Hare yesterday. Or perhaps, the day before yesterday. You know what they say about time flying, and we were headed into the sunrise.

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

Calcutta is everywhere, if we only have eyes to see. –Mother Teresa
Yesterday as I wandered along the very tattered sidewalk and roadways of Erbil, I had to keep half an eye out for protrusions and tripping points. Yet my heart was focused on seeking His face, His face reflected in the light of His imagebearers here in this eastern place.

And I met Fathel who runs the small market just at the end of the block and we discussed yogurts and cheeses. It’s always best to buy fruits and vegetables early in the morning because the heat of Iraq has a density unlike that of Tucson’s, that sits heavy, crushingly. Young men cluster into air conditioned shops for their weekly very sharply edged styling, jostling over small cups of coffee and small stories. Massive diesel-fueled generators rumble on every street corner, loosely connected to splattering swamp coolers and tangled webs of swaying wires. Nathan the country director assures us that there is no systemic rhyme or reason for the outages; they just happen.

The sunrisen gold and pink are familiar however this morning. The wispy billowed clouds. The old man next door is watering his shrubs that line the sidewalk. In Ankawa, crosses rise up above the apartment rooftops, marking the Chaldean Catholic churches.

Rise up.

Search for the LORD and His strength; continuously seek His face.

Rise up.

And while I can only hear this call as sung by Hamilton and company, it is nevertheless a call to seek the Lord, His strength, His face.

Rise up.