Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I was excited to read this article that was written by a good friend and my college professor. It made me return to the questions of church that I have long been pondering. I have been fascinated by the movement of the modern church, the possibilities that are being embarked upon, and the most fascinating of all questions of the theological embodiments that the church is going to take upon itself.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
What does love look like? Can you see it in action? And I don't just mean in the romantic way that our culture is obsessed with, but something beyond that, something a bit deeper. My first witness to someone finding love happened in an unlikely place. It was where peace reigned in the nickers of horses and the laughter of children, where there was the sweet smell of hay, and the shy shadows of the sun shining in a barn. The barn and horses in it became a place of healing and restoration for people who suffered from mutiple different physical or mental disabilities.
His soft smile and bright voice were always things that I looked forward to seeing and hearing on a weekly basis. Every student that I encountered was special to me but there was something more stirring in my heart for this little guy, it was like a hope rising to give him the nurture through the horses that he couldn't recieve at home. The compassion I felt for his situation triggered an even greater desire in me to have his limited time at our barn be one that was life changing for him.
It was his school group's last lesson for the fall session when I began to realize that maybe there had been a change in this energetic, blond guy's life. The scene that I witnessed brought tears to my eyes as I watched it. Never had I seen love like this.
The bright reddish bay mare seemed to know exactly what the needs of the lonley boy in front of her were. Her head hung lower then normal just so he could touch her face and allow him to scratch the white patch of hair between her eyes. The nature of this animal was incredible, sensing this boy's need for love but knowing she how to meet them when I did not.
They walked together around the ring, just the two of them, while the rest of the class remained in the center of the ring either riding or waiting to ride. Somehow this unlikely pair had escaped into their own quiet world. He led her to the corner of the ring, farthest away from everyone else, as if here they could go unnoticed and communicated without interruption. They stood there for quite some time, her head hanging by his side. Sometimes he touched her face, letting the physical touch bring them closer but mostly it was just the presence of this mighty creature that filled his need for love. This special horse could love him without talking, her majestic presence was powerful but gentle, her breathe was warm on his cold skin as they just stood together basking in each other's presence like a cat stretches out in the most sunniest spot in the house just to have find the best place to enjoy the sun's presence. It was love, a deep love unlike the love that the world or humans could offer. Somehow, this beautiful animal could meet the need that his parents weren't giving him. She offered presence when his family couldn't, she offered him a powerful gentleness when the only power he had seen in his home was anger and rage, she didn't blame him when he couldn't quite get the communication clear but waited patiently until he figured it out. When the horse breathed onto the little boy's chilly face on that cold day, it was if the warmpth of her breath created a sense of love for this love hungry boy to bring into his own lungs.
I began thinking about all I had been able to witness, days after it had happened. For some reason the scene stuck in my mind, repeating itself as something beautiful and needing reflection. In my pondering, I heard the gentle whisper of my most faithful companion, Jesus. He began replaying pictures of my life in my head; times of him offering me a presence to rest in, of acceptance, of patient waiting; time for me to figure things out. Not changing, getting angry or running away. Just waiting...like the bay mare. Gifts, with no expectations or strings attached. A love experience, just like the one my student had with his horse.
Being a witness of that love experience was humbling. Watching a horse be used as the means of love that this child needed was amazing, touching, and inspiring. It stretched my imagination, my own sense of love, and made me realize just how deeply people need to be loved. Sometimes it may be people doing the loving or maybe even a horse.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Families changing in numbers and shape, academia coming to an end, leaving friends and moving into a new phase in life, marriage, new jobs, all of these are some of the change that we face in life. All of these changes I have experienced in the last three years.
When things began to first shift it was like I got punched hard enough to get my breath taken away. It was painful to face the reality of what was when my family changed in shape, I had to recognize lies lived with for years and decide what I was going to do about them. This change ran into my identity and was wrestling with it to see who I was at the deepest core of my soul. I walked away bruised and bloody but knowing that my truest self was not based upon lies or broken pieces but upon the truth that I was the beloved of God. This face of change was the hardest thing I have ever faced in my life but the beautiful transformation of identity that comes from tragedy hides behind the shadow of pain.
And then there is change that soars like the peak point of music that is played by an orchestra. The change that happens when you open your heart and life to someone, when together you make a decision and commit to face life together, and then begin a life as a couple – that change is incredible. Beautiful in many moments, hard in other moments, but in the end the most life giving change I have made.
Many of us are experiencing change at this moment, even though we may not feel it. The waters may feel stagnated but I promise you they are not. Our God is the Creator God, the one who makes, shapes, and transforms us into the people He desires, people whose hearts are open and vulnerable to love. There is much change and transition in my life now, so much that it feels overwhelming but my desire is to allow the shifts that are happening to be molding a heart that is overwhelmed by love so much so that the only possible thing to do is love back.
Friends, let us feel change. The pain, the joy, the heartbreak of change leads us into the depths of being transformed by love and into His likeness.