Saturday, March 24, 2012

Eager Anticipation

I knew a pastor once whose congregation would scream and yell when he would open the Bible, celebrating, with eager anticipation,  what the Word of God would tell them.

I have never opened my Bible with eager anticipation. Instead, I dread my time in the Bible.  I often find myself reading just to say I did it, comprehension thrown out the window.  I let the phrases of condemnation pile on me as fresh wood on a fire and quickly move over the truth that should set me free.  I choose this cage of guilt and shame each day as I contemplate the eight Bibles that reside in my home.  Each a different version, a different view of His word.  All motionless and unread.  I take for granted the ease with which I pull this Sword out in times of crisis, and I leave it to rust in the scabbard in times of peace.   

Recently while I watched one of my favorite movies, "Luther,” a scene showed the eager anticipation to read the Bible I long for. Martin Luther was the first person to translate the Bible into German so that the common people could read it.  The Pope then put a price on his head and excommunicated him from the Catholic Church.  Prior to his translation, the Word of God was only read in Latin, and only read by a priest. After years of labor to produce the Bible in the German language, Luther approaches his prince with the first copy as a gift. During Luther’s conflict with the church, his prince has risked his own life to protect Luther.  They talk for a while since they have never actually met; during the conversation Luther is holding the Bible. The prince waits eagerly, yet patiently, for his gift. Finally the prince can contain it no more and asks for his present. A smile spreads across Luther’s face, and he hands the Bible to the prince. With trepidation, the prince takes a deep breath and opens the Bible.

In the movie, the scene ends, and the story progresses.  Last night I paused and tried to imagine what the prince felt in that moment.  Think about it: you are in your 40’s, your entire life you have only heard His Word through someone else’s mouth, and someone hands you the very Word of God in your own language.  Can you taste the excitement as he drools over time that he will spend in the text?  Can you envision the anticipation to hear the words of God as if spoken from a Father instead of an unapproachable deity.  God is now present, and the prince can commune with him anytime he wishes.

For now, my many Bibles sit on the shelf collecting dust; they call for me to open them, to dive in, and to drown in His Word.  I can imagine the power that is at my very fingertips.   Power left untapped because I choose to remain in the shadow of death instead of the light of grace.

In Ephesians, Paul describes the Word as a sword.  The Sword is constantly at my fingertips, but am I able to wield it? 

Monday, March 12, 2012

My thorn

My every step is haunted by him.

I pray for Him to fill the void;
Instead his presence taunts me as an unsteady rhythm.

Dawn, brings his breath to wake me for the day.

For these dreams, all day I pay.

Unsent texts, pierce the silence and echo in my head.

As the sun sets, his presence fills the bed.

The nightmare of unknown love echoes in my soul
But I turn to Him, and plead once more.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Upside Down

7 Days ago, about this time, I was settling into my chair amidst 4,000 of my closest friends. It was morning, and my brain was already loaded with new information. I was wired from the mocha I had been sipping on, and my stomach was starting to growl. My attention was quickly waning.

Over the course of the past few hours, my understanding of biblical justice had expanded, and I had learned how crucial each thread of love is within the garment of justice. Little did I know how much the next 45 minutes would change my view of the world.

Richard Twiss, took the stage, and I could feel the Spirit stir. When I was little my mother had instilled in me a love and appreciation for Native American culture. But he was not here to tell me about his culture.   Instead, Twiss described the enslavement of Native Americans by imperious white people.  For the first time in my life, I was not proud to be an American.

Twiss continued by explaining the European doctrine of discovery.  This stated that any land, without allegiance to a Christian government, was empty and void.  On this premise the 13th colonies were built.  The European settlers began to view the natives as savages, and desperately in need of conversion to their brand of Christianity.  Tribes were desecrated in the name of Christ.  New converts were made to believe that Christ could only be worshipped the way of the Europeans.

I began to squirm in my skin.

Questions tumbled through my mind.

The guilt ravaged my soul.  The truth that I am the ‘majority’ settled into my soul. How dare I see the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve as anything but co-equals in the battle against evil! We are all equally sinners, and all given the same chance at grace.

My blue eyes never saw

The pain my white skin causes.

Can I scrape off my skin

or tear the blonde hair from my head?

What if I ripped out my eyes,

Could I ever see the world as you?

Twiss’s words were sharp with truth and pierced my soul.  But through it all Christ shone from this man.  In grace and friendship he said come and know us, “don’t come and paint our church buildings”

For weeks I have asked myself these questions:

How often do I still view other cultures as less than mine, or merely the mission field?

I have even questioned my motive in going overseas.  I have spent thousands of dollars and met some amazing followers of Christ.  I spent time with kids who were dying of aids, and loved on some girls who had never seen white skin.  But doesn’t that make it more about me?

I am still journeying down this path and seeing where it leads.  Will you join me?  What are your thoughts about this? 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Have you ever?

Have you ever looked at the creator and told Him, He isn’t enough?

I have and I lived to tell about it!  Not only did I live, but He wrapped His arms around me and whispered in my ear all the reasons He loves me.

Wow what a God we serve!