Category: reflections on the journey (page 1 of 38)

Ponderings about moments from my everyday life.
Moments that have caused me to think about who God is, how He is active in the world, or who He made me to be.

Opening my heart to hear what I know

you are loved

Photo Credit: Weird Beard on Flickr Creative Commons

 

Stop fighting with yourself, child.

There is grace for you when your head knows what your heart does not.

You are loved.

I know that you know that. But I also know you need to hear it.

You are loved.

Let me repeat it to you as often as I chose. It sometimes can take a few slices of those words to get through the thick skin of your heart.

You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.

Not only that, you are enough.

Right now, in your struggles, you are enough.

You are loved. You are enough.

Is there anything else your heart needs to hear today?

Instead of using your strength to beat it up with attacks about how you should know better, how about simply opening it up to Me?

Receive My grace for you in this moment. I AM here. Holding your hand.

Can you feel it?

Let go of your desire to solve and fix and do something to change. Sometimes you need to simply be. And receive.

Receive My love.

It is unconditional. And it is yours for the taking.

This is not a lesson you have to be done learning. I don’t mind repeating Myself. I will tell you as many times as you need it.

You are loved.

 

 

I Still Believe in the Bible

With all the failures of the Church, with all the mistakes of leaders, with all the confusion across years and cultures, I still believe in the Bible.

I believe the heart of the Bible beats wild and free inside its binding, no matter how many times it is held down or torn apart or thrown across a room. It is a living Word whose breath bursts through any attempts to suffocate it.

I believe when the living Word joins forces with the living Spirit and flows into living hearts, something is unleashed unlike any other power in this world.

I have been afraid to admit this. Fearful of this belief being my voice. Unsure what box would be placed around me after this sort of declaration. Nervous about saying things in such a way that I might drive the nails into that box myself.

But my fear is no longer strong enough to hold back this fire within my bones.

I still believe in the Bible. I still believe this ancient Book can speak new things to humanity, even on the thousandth reading of a text. I still believe the Scriptures have power to change lives, transform hearts, and speak into the deepest crevices of our souls.

I still believe in the Bible

That doesn’t mean I believe the Bible is easy. Or clear. I believe the Bible is often frustrating, and usually confusing, but absolutely worth wrestling through. We cannot give up.

Which is why I believe we need each other. We need a community that reads and shares about the Scriptures with one another. We need academics to show us context, artists to show us beauty, doubters to show us questions, servants to show us surrender, and visionaries to show us inspiration.

I believe the life surging from God’s Word is meant to make its way into the world through every wrinkle, mole, joint, muscle, and bone of the Body of Christ. I believe the Bible is meant to be the lifeblood for each of us: anchoring us, encouraging us, and spurring us forth to the beautiful lives God desires for His beloveds.

I still believe in the Bible. I intend to spend my life cracking it open, breathing it in, and letting its life flow from me.

How do you feel about the Bible these days? Have you seen it change lives?

Life after Easter

He is risen

Not so many days ago
We heard the phrase repeated
Again and again.
“He is risen.”

What does that mean now
When the Easter holiday has passed
And regular life has begun again?

Is it a phrase that means something on other days?
Or is it only for the one time a year
When we speak it with conscious awareness
Of the celebration?

After Easter,
Is Christ now back in the grave?
Like a religious jack-in-the-box
Waiting for us to turn the crank
And set Him free
To the tune of
“Christ the Lord is Risen Today”?

That’s how we treat Him sometimes.

I don’t think we know what to do with the resurrection.

It sounds all happy and victorious
For a day.
But go much longer
And it can start to sound a little too
Supernatural.

“He is risen.”

It is much safer to confine that phrase,
Those words,
That reminder,
To one day
Than to keep its thought
At the forefront of our minds
And force us to wrestle with its weight.

It is a statement that asks a question.
If Jesus is risen, then what will we do?
And what will Jesus do in response?

If we hide,
Cowering in the upper room
Of our own fears,
Jesus breathes on us
And tells us to
Receive His Spirit.

If we walk away,
Traveling far from what it calls us to,
Jesus strolls beside us
And quietly explains
The Scriptures concerning Him.

If we go back to our old jobs,
To the boat that feels constant under our feet,
Jesus calls us out,
Makes us breakfast,
And pushes us
To live out our love.

He is risen
And He is relentless.

Jesus is calling us to live
As a risen people.
A people who
Find the hiding.
Walk with the hurting.
Seek after the truth.
Deliver grace.
Cook breakfast.
Live boldly.
Love.

He is risen.

“Why have you forsaken me?”

Artist: Edvard Munch Source: WikiPaintings

Artist: Edvard Munch
Source: WikiPaintings

Is all this really necessary?
This cross? This consequence borne by Christ?

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

Things are not that bad.
Are they?

We can only grasp a fraction
Of the immense weight
Crashing down upon Jesus
That day.

The unimaginable burden
Of not only our individual misdeeds
Or our personal omissions,
But the iniquities
And atrocities
Of generation
upon generation
upon generation.
The entirety of wickedness
Since evil invaded the world.

The sin of human history
Creating a distance beyond our understanding.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Christ is forsaken.
Dropped in the chasm
Of overflowing corpses.
The bodies of those who have been massacred.
The hundreds murdered every day.
Every day.
For years stacked upon decades stacked upon centuries.

Christ is forsaken.
Adrift in the gulf
Of echoing wails.
The cries of those sexually assaulted.
Every two minutes.
Over
And over
And over again.
Shrieking in their violation and pain.

Christ is forsaken.
Standing in the abyss
Between oppressor and oppressed.
Taking the beatings of the millions,
Millions,
Who have been
And are
And will be
Imprisoned, exploited, and enslaved.

Christ is forsaken.
Experiencing the void
Of lost generations.
Entire people groups wiped out
When neighbor turns against neighbor
When former friends slaughter one another
As nations collapse into genocide.

It’s too much.
It’s all too much.

Too much for us to hold.
Too vast for us to grasp.

This is the great burden borne by Christ.
Taking iniquities beyond imagination
Upon the only shoulders broad enough to carry them
And loving enough to be crushed by their weight.

From the chasm of evil,
For the sake of humanity,
Jesus cries out,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”


This is another reflection I wrote for my church’s Good Friday service. In honor of this day of waiting, as we sit in the waiting space before the resurrection, it feels appropriate to continue pondering Christ’s death. I hope it helps you do that today.

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