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How, Lord, do we respond?

“The evil out there will not stop because of the faith in here.” ~ Tom Berlin, Easter 2016 Sermon

IMG_4668You can’t just
stand
on your principles.

You must
act
on your convictions.

What will we
do
that we haven’t been doing?

say
that we haven’t been saying?

to stop
what’s not stopping?

Renew us,
in your image.

Let your Kingdom come,
in us.

And through us,
to the world You dearly
Love.

Without Doubt

photo 3 (2)-011I will.
What powerful words.
A promise, an intention, a commitment.
If I say I will do it, I will.

I am reluctant to say this to God.
‘I will follow you all the days of my life.’
Because I know I won’t.
I will trip and fall.
I will stumble or swerve or slam on the breaks.
I will not follow, so let me not say so.

But what if I did say so?
Would that not be arrogant and proud?
As if I knew I was a special one,
Selected from among the many,
Singled out for my…my what?
Exactly.

You’re no more special than the other, my dear.
Come, simply at my request,
Come willingly, but without reservation.
Say you will, knowing fully that you won’t.
That is the price —
which I have paid.

And in that instant, the ground under my feet is firm.
Of course, I say.
I see it now, I say.
How could I have doubted?

The very thought!
Oh my God!
I have ushered in my own demise.

The ground begins to crumble and my balance gives way.
My arms grapple with the air,
But there it no holding, no grasping, no righting.
Only tumbling, falling, twisting, turning,
confusion, chaos, peril, and fear,
until, blessedly,
landing.

I knew it was too good to be true.
Yet, it is true.
I saw it, I felt it, I was there.
Briefly, ever so briefly.
Were it not for my doubt,
Oh doubt, will I ever be rid of you?

I brush myself off
and attend to my scrapes and bruises –
No gashes, no stitches, no broken bones.
I seem to have survived the fall.

That is why I came.
Falling is part of believing,
It draws us closer.

What can you possibly want with someone like me?

You are free to go.

Where should I go?

You can come with me.

From Black and White to Living Color

So, we wait.

We don’t rush to the finish. We don’t turn to the back of the book for the answers or the last chapter to see how it comes out. We don’t take the short cut through the peppermint forest if we roll doubles. We don’t jump to the front of the line. We wait. cross black drape

What anguish there is in waiting.

  • The physical discomfort of position, perhaps injury or illness or disease.
  • The mental turmoil of wondering what will it take to be well?
  • The emotionally wrenching, what if things don’t get better?
  • The spiritual crisis, why did God allow this to happen?

Holy Saturday sits us here, perhaps personally, or perhaps at the bedside or at a distance but in intercession for another. We wait, and while we wait, we pray.

Jesus knew pain.

  • The physical pain of crucifixion.
  • The mental pain of derision and public humiliation.
  • The emotional pain of grief and loss, sorrow and betrayal.
  • Even the spiritual pain of forsakenness, rejection and loneliness.

Jesus waited a day, and while he waited, he healed. The suffering of physical pain was gone. The mental pain, he resolved “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” The spiritual pain was answered, “He sits at the right hand of God the Father.” But the emotional pain…does he still shed tears for his people? He must.

cross floweredHow does emotional pain find its healing?

Where do anguish, sorrow, and mourning go?

Time heals all wounds, we like to say, but that gives too much power and too much credit to time.

Waiting alone doesn’t heal.

While we wait, we pray.

Prayer takes the black and white of Good Friday and colors it in the pastels and bright hues of Easter.

The Father gives hope to those who pray.

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