February 22, 2012
I like Ash Wednesday. For me it is kind of like New Year’s Day in the same way that for many people New Year’s Day is the opportunity to begin again, to get back on track. That is what Ash Wednesday is for me: A reminder of who I am; and a call to get back on track in following Christ Jesus. It is an opportunity to begin again.
On Ash Wednesday I am reminded of who and what I am:
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
There is something rather freeing in all of this.
Ash Wednesday embraces humility. Contrary to what many think, I see “humility” as a positive. The author Esther de Waal writes, “…our immediate reaction is to think that it (humility) means somebody who is somehow limp and ineffectual; in church circles it conjures up the picture of the obsequiously pious, altogether the non-person we should all hate to be. This is unfortunate since the word itself (derived from the same root as humus, earth), on the contrary suggest that we should be profoundly earthed, that we should face up to the truth about our human condition.” (emphasis mine.)
I like this understanding of humility: “face up to the truth about our human condition.”
And so it is on Ash Wednesday, that I am reminded “that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” And in that reminder, I am called to wake up and face the truth about who I am… I am called to wake up and face the truth about the condition of my heart, my soul, my life… I am called to wake up and face the truth about Who God is. And it is in waking up that I seek, by the grace and mercy of God, to respond… to rise up… to follow Him… and to let Him give me Life.
It is at this point that the Lenten journey begins.
November 27, 2011
“You can’t be what you were, so you better start being just what you are.
You can’t be what you were, the time is now you’re running out you’re running out and runnin runnin running out.
You can’t be what you were, so you better start living the life that you talk about.”Fugazi: ‘Bad Mouth’
An appropriate reminder for me; on this, the 1st Sunday of Advent.
July 31, 2011
Came across these words attributed to Oswald Chambers:
“If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life. Struggle to express some truth of God to yourself, and God will use that expression to someone else. . . . You must struggle to get expression experimentally, then there will come a time when that expression will become the very wine of strengthening to someone else.”
July 30, 2011
Last night I saw Jesus all over the place.
I saw Him when adult friends came out specifically to support my 13 year old son as he sang with a band as a part of a “Rock Camp” program.
I saw Him as I listened to a friend (who has gone through his own hurt) share with me (and at the same time remind me), with tears in his eyes, about the types of people that Jesus came for.
I saw Him as I saw a man I know crouched down, and in no apparent hurry to move on even though it was after 9pm, outside of the local Albertson’s just talking with a man that appeared intoxicated.
Yes… Last night I saw Jesus all over the place.
June 13, 2011
The following prayer, written by the late Henri J.M. Nouwen, gives voice to my own journey:
“Dear Lord, I will remain restless, tense, and dissatisfied until I can be totally at peace in your house. There is no certainty that my life will be any easier in the years ahead, or that my heart will be any calmer. But there is certainty that you are waiting for me and will welcome me home when I have persevered in my long journey to your house.”
May 15, 2011
Listening to the song ‘Novocaine for the Soul’ by Eels made me wonder: Why don’t we sing honest songs like this in church?
God already knows what our condition is and what we are thinking and what is going on in our hearts and minds– so why don’t we just acknowledge it, and then trust God. And so what if the words sound negative or questioning, God hears our hearts and understands them, even if we do not.
The act of telling God about what is going on, what we are thinking, what we are feeling, etc is a calling out from our hearts that we want Him to walk with us in the midst of living life, to work in our lives, and even change us if need be.
Besides, we can’t share with God anything about how we feel or think that He is not already aware of already.
May 4, 2011
Men may want to think that they are lone wolves, but they need others:
“According to a recent study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, men are more affected by a relationships up and downs than women are. Researchers who interviewed more than 16,ooo people about the impact of relationships on mental health speculate that men often don’t have an outlet for emotional support other than their wives or partners. So if a relationship goes bad, they have fewer people to turn to.” (source: Men’s Health magazine/Oct 2o1o)
I think about this not only in regards to the sphere of a relationship between a man and his partner going kaput, but also regarding a man’s individual relationship with a friend. That perhaps losing a friendship, or a change in a friendship, impacts a man more than he might want to acknowledge that it does; or is aware that it does.
April 24, 2011
“Anything is possible in a world in which a Jewish carpenter can rise from the dead.” -Katherine Hepburn in the movie ‘Lion in the Winter’ (1968.)
April 23, 2011
In Seattle, WA for the weekend.
Went out to the front steps and intended to read from the Gospels when I opened my Bible to a bookmark, and came across these words from Hosea:
“Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.
Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD, His gong forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain. Like the latter and former rain to the earth.” Hosea 6:1-3
These were encouraging words to read on the second day.
‘Wild Geese’ by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.