Wednesday, August 2, 2017

And Ana, the three-year-old Czech girl next door has a favorite Bible story: the story of the resurrection, The Sad One, Happy One.

But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love Him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. I Corinthians 2: 9-10

Blessed is the time of waiting, when we stay awake for the Lord, the Creator of the universe, who fills all things and transcends all thought. How I wish He would enkindle me with that fire of divine love. The flames of His love burn beyond the stars; the long for His overwhelming delights and the divine fire ever burns within me! –Columbanus

Lord, You are coming in glory to bring the fullness of peace, healing, and justice. Teach us to wait when You would have us wait. And teach us to act when You would have us act. Fill us up with so much expectation for Your coming kingdom that we cannot help but enact it now. Amen.

An example of the teacher mantra of “beg, borrow or steal,” I stole from Jay Winslow a long time ago, and would often start out my beginning of the year tirade with his question: Can you think without words?

I just got back from Prague. And I didn’t go in to wander the cobblestoned streets or marvel at the ancient astronomical clock or wend my way up to the castle on the hill, Rather I went into a Starbucks for some reliable internet and I downloaded a ESV Bible and some Richard Rahr and Thomas Merton in preparation for a silent retreat, either in Taize, France or here in the forest. And as I prepare for this silence one way or the other, I consider the request: May the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You oh Lord.

Wonder if there are no words of my mouth?
And it seems as if all of my readings these days lead to Jonah and the whale belly. Jesus’ primary metaphor for the mystery of transformation is the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:39, 16:4; Luke 11:29). As a Jew, Jesus knew the vivid story of Jonah, the prophet who ran away from God and yet was used by God in spite of himself. Jonah was swallowed by a “big fish” and taken where he would rather not go—a metaphor for any kind of death. Then and only then will we be spit up on a new shore in spite of ourselves. Isn’t this the story of most of our lives?

It is indeed. I am quite sure that each soul wearies of scratching at his dragon-hide and longs for Aslan to rip it away once and for all. To receive Him with the joy of the children, the joy of the community children having a full blown screeching and laughing water fight in the garden next door.

And maybe, just maybe, it is about silence. With no sputtering protests or finger pointing or excuses. Just a simple, Yes, Lord, search me. Your servant is listening.

I don’t think it is supposed to be very complicated.

Except you are born again you shall not see the kingdom of God.