Moments of Transfiguration

Up and up  

They work to climb.  

 

Muscles burning in their calves  

Breathing a little harder 

Sometimes tripping when  

They don’t lift their feet high enough.  

 

Jesus just keeps going up and up,  

And they don’t quite understand  

His purpose  

And his steady sense of direction,  

But they are getting used to following  

With an open mind  

And with hope.  

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Their eyes are on where they came from,  

(a gleam)  

Their eyes are on each other,  

(a glimmer)  

Their eyes are on the ground,  

(a glisten)  

Their eyes are on the sky,  

(a burst)  

And then their eyes are on Jesus. 

(GLORY)  

 

They have never seen his whole self before.  

(So this is who he is!)  

Wonder.  

The joy of it.  

All of those years. 

All of those laws.  

All of those prophecies.  

Jesus pulls it all together and holds it firmly and lovingly

And it is  

BRILLIANT.  

 

Does such glory not demand a response?  

Peter gives it.  

“Jesus! Let us honour you! We will build-”  

 

A bright cloud.  

A voice.  

 

When you need to respond to the glory, you make it about yourself.  

This is not about you.  

This is purely about the glory.  

Stand still, for once,  

And just be covered.  

Just take it in.  

It’s not about you.  

It’s about  

The Glory.  

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This is terrifying. 

To allow yourself to be so small.  

To recognize that you have nothing to add.  

To only think about the glory.  

 

They fall and cover their faces.  

What else is there to do?  

 

Jesus touches them,  

And they go down the mountain together.  

When they look at Jesus they still see 

Gleams, 

Glimmers,  

Glistens,  

and 

GLORY.  

 

They will never unsee it.  

Their eyes are open now.  

 

Sometimes, they see that glory  

In the dark places,  

In other people,  

And even in themselves.  

Small bursts.  

Never complete,  

The way Jesus shone.  

But small bursts of glory.  

Glimmers of who they truly are  

And the Spirit they have within.  

 

Jesus just keeps going up and up and up. 

We are following with a trusting mind and with a hoping heart.  

Up and up,  

We work to climb,  

With  

Glimmers of glory guiding.  

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Where have you seen glimmers of glory? 

Resurrection

 

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Too long you have lain dark, my dear.

Don’t you think it’s time to

Wake up?

To come to the light?

I know.

Light is beautiful,

But also exposing.

It’s hard to hide in the light.

But

You don’t need to hide.

Because

It’s alright to grow.

It’s alright to make mistakes.

And sometimes you need to be okay with loving with your whole heart the thing that you know you won’t have forever.

Even though it hurts and hurts, my dear.

I’m not so small as you seem to think I am. I can be found in more places than just one.

It is okay to grieve and to hope at the same time.

Do you understand?

It is okay.

Come.

Leave those strips and cloths behind. I did. My Father and I have something much more fitting for you to wear. I promise.

Please come.

I will push away the stone Myself.

With my own authority

And my own two nail-scarred hands.

I will push it away for you.

Too long you have lain dark, my dear.

A Morning Prayer

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Dear God,

This young morning is

Soft and

Peach and

Dusty and

Slow and

Gentle.

 

I am

Hurt and

Tear-filled and

Selfish and

Perhaps most of all

I am

Scared.

 

Afraid of what ugliness this beautiful new day might hold for me.

Afraid to trust in Your goodness.

Afraid of still not seeing results.

Afraid of deserving the hurt that I feel.

Afraid of using too many words

Or not enough.

 

This morning is

Beautiful—I am not.

 

Thank you for growing me the same way that

You grow the morning.

Slowly and gently.

You are insistent—like spreading light—

But there is a kind silkiness within your expectation

Of steadfast faith from me.

You promise perfection and completion.

(James 1:2-4)

 

Dear Lord,

You are the Spirit

And where your Spirit is,

There is

Sweet,

Beautiful

Freedom.

Degree by degree,

You reveal your glory to me.

Transform me.

(2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

 

You bring shivers to my skin,

Tears to my eyes,

Hope to my heart,

Peace to my soul.

 

The way that you bring me to you is beautiful.

I love to be with you.

I am learning that

You are all that I need

Because there are so many days when it is

Evident that really,

You are all that I have.

 

Dear God,

You are soft and patient and gentle.

Thank you.

I will keep trying.

 

 

Amen.

 

The Art of Celebration

The past week felt like a string of mistakes.

Days that started out with me wanting to serve Jesus in every moment, but ended up with me feeling empty, angry, and alone.

Sometimes I feel that the wonder of Jesus is lost on me. Have I lost the joy of my salvation? Do I celebrate my freedom?

If I am truly free, why do I feel as though I bear such a heavy burden so much of the time? The burden of self and condemnation.

I overcomplicate things. I place too much importance and responsibility on myself. I dwell on how I can fix my problems rather than going to Jesus. I grasp at the fruits of the Spirit, but forget that it is the Spirit that I should be reaching for.

There is a song that I have been listening to a lot lately—“Boldly I Approach (The Art of Celebration)” by Rend Collective. There is a telltale shiver that comes to me in moments I feel God’s presence particularly strongly. This song brings that shiver to me.

Its words bring many questions to my mind.

When condemnation grips my heart and Satan tempts me to despair, do I give in to him or do I turn to Jesus?

Do I believe that Jesus shields my soul eternally?

Do I allow Jesus to fight for me, and then praise him for doing that?

Do I live a life of celebration?

I believe that I should be. I like the song calls it the art of celebration. It gives me the idea that celebration is something that must be chosen and studied and striven for. An art is never perfected through laziness. Perhaps the art of celebration is the one of the hardest to perfect.

What does celebration look like when you are driving home at the end of a day that you wish had never happened?

What does celebration look like when you mess up- again?

What does celebration look like when you are too tired to do the things that you need to do and life looks too long?

What does celebration look like when you are disappointed?

The art of celebration. Choosing to believe that you are redeemed, free, and valuable even when circumstances seem to contradict that. Choosing to hope. Choosing to go to Jesus when you would rather look away.

We are free and we are hopeful. We have every reason to celebrate. Even on the bad days. Perhaps especially on the bad days.

 

What does celebration look like in your life?

 

 

The Thief

Sometimes the days that you are dreading the most are the ones that end up being wonderful. Does this happen to anyone else? It happens to me often. It almost seems tempting to assume that the dreaded days will end up being good… but I don’t want to jinx it by being too presumptuous.

Anyways, today was one of those mornings where I woke up and nothing inside me wanted to go to school or do any of the things that I needed to do. One of those mornings where the to-do list hangs so heavily inside you that it feels like it makes your heart flutter fearfully every now and then.

But then, the students came and there was catching up from the weekend and a student voluntarily telling me what the sermon was about on Sunday and lots of stories about deer and a few clever grammar jokes about how the colon is not merely part of your body (made by me).

It made me feel full and alive again.

Teaching is ridiculous in that sometimes it feels like it’s viciously sucking everything out you and you end up feeling like a raisin and other times it feels like it is filling you and you feel like you are the juiciest grape.  (I’m sorry. That wasn’t deep. I am feeling a tad unfocused tonight.)

Today I had to think of the phrase from John 10 in which Jesus tells us that he came to offer abundant life.

Abundant life feels so much better. In my last post I wrote a bit about how it can be easy to get caught up in just doing what we need to. I am learning how important it is to make sure that your days are infused with joy.

We weren’t actually meant to live out our lives merely completing one dreary day after the next.

Jesus came to bring us abundant life. It’s hard to claim it. It can be a whole lot easier to put up with drudgery than it is to choose joy and delight and optimism.

To be honest, everything inside of me just clenched up when I wrote those words because I seem to have become well-accustomed to feeling overwhelmed and like a bad teacher and I don’t want to expect days to be good or try to make them good, because then I will only feel disappointed when it ends up being another bad one.

See? I’m preaching to myself here.

Here is the end for tonight:

Negativity steals. It is a thief that Jesus came to protect us from. Jesus offers protection and freedom and eternal loyalty.

And that is a fact, even on the days when your heart just doesn’t want to do it. It’s still true.

Invitation

Isaiah 55:1-3

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.”

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Those first few verses…

You understand what they are saying?

Jesus says that it’s okay to come. He invites us to come.

Even if we have nothing to bring.

We can come, all needy and worthless and shameful.

We are invited to come.

We are told to delight in what He gives us. Not to linger in our failure and embarrassment.

Just listen and delight.

Why spend ourselves on useless things, when He can give us everything we need?

This, the very thing we so often crave- the affirmation, the esteem of knowing that my presence is desired, the assurance that I will be welcome and safe- is offered (and can only be completely given) by Jesus.

The invitation.

Come. Hear. Live.

Golden

Everyone uses the word golden

And I don’t want to

But I think

I have to

Because that’s just the way sunshine is.

I see golden light.

Still.

Warm.

Gentle.

I see stones and arches.

I see covered heads

And clean hands

And stained hearts

And beards

And readiness.

I see a visitor.

One familiar

And known

And yet different

And things have been

Said

But he looks so

Safe

And everything in

You

Leans toward

Him.

And I see

Normal begin

But

Something feels

Different

And

It has to be because of

Him.

I see the scroll placed in

His hands

And his mouth opens

And his heart opens

And there is

So

Much

Life.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

The words.

They were meant to be said by him.

He fills them

And shapes them

And owns them

And resurrects them

And plants them so deep.

You’ve read them before. Heard them before.

But his voice

Is golden.

Still.

Warm.

Gentle.

Like sunshine.

The hard things that you keep

Tucked away

Inside

Feel like they want to

Melt.

 

From Luke 4:16-20. A lot can be imagined about four verses. I wish I could have heard Human Jesus’ voice.  I love the thought of Jesus’ voice. As powerful as written words can be, there is something about spoken word that is just captivating. I think Jesus must have been the master of spoken word. Not that he phrased everything artistically and vaguely and profoundly. Just that he did it, you know- perfectly. I think he had the kind of voice that you could listen to forever. Come to think of it… He still does.