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Can it be any accident that the first major biography in the Bible is that of a man called by God to a place he’d never been before?

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. Hebrews 11:8 (ESV)

He may not be the first man whose life story is chronicled in Scripture–we have Adam and Noah before him, not to mention many others who get honorable (and dishonorable) mention. But Abraham’s is the first of the detailed life stories given throughout the rest of Scripture. The first of the list of men whose stories mark the focused dealings of God with those He chose to be “His People.”

And how does his story begin? with God calling him out of his comfort zone, away from his culture, and into a journey that had a promise he could not completely envision. “A land that I will show you,” God told him. Both definite and indefinite at the same time. It’s a definite promise, yet a promise like a Christmas present–all wrapped up in mystery.

I couldn’t help but reflect today that Abraham’s story is the story of every friend of God. That God calls each of us to leave our comfort zones, challenges our cultural inheritance, and leads us to a definite promise that is wrapped in mystery yet full of hope.

It can’t be an accident that Abraham’s story is right at the beginning of all things.

Christ arose and was seen,
Forerunner of believers:
We live through Him
2-5-2011

Jesus, I need
Your arms and blessing
Enfolding and securing me
So I can remember
What it is
To be a little child

This post should, most likely, be some piece of poetry . . . preferably by me and not someone else . . . or so I’ve been told 😉

However, since it’s late at night and I shouldn’t even be up right now, let alone on the computer,
And since I haven’t written any poetry lately,
And since I haven’t gone through old poems in a while to see if there are any new ones to post,
This will have to do,
For now =)

So I had forgotten to add a link to a blog that contains some student writings that are really quite fun: Around the Writer’s Block. Check out the pantoums. And if you want something to sink your teeth into, there are the essays =)

And then there is the blog of the friend who does cakes for a living–you should totally check out the pictures! She’s amazing! Cakes by Suzy is as fun as the name implies =)

Finally there’s the one I found most recently. Meditations for the Liminal is not for everyone, though there was definitely something there for me. It’s primarily for those who have found themselves hurt by those who looked very spiritual and turned out to be modern-day Pharisees (probably because they themselves truly knew nothing of God’s love). It’s for those who are “liminal” as the author explains: those who have found themselves “in between,” so to speak–not easily categorized as “Fundamentalist” but also not willing to deny the things that are fundamental to a relationship with Jesus Christ. I have been moved by the way the blog explores Who Jesus is–something that we all find ourselves coming back to again and again as we grow in our Christian lives. Growing closer to God and learning to be more like Christ inevitably leads us to ponder what Christ is really like. =)

So now I am going to conclude this post and head for bed . . . maybe. 😉

(found this in perusing old journals today, Aug 24, 2010 . . . was both amused and encouraged!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
written after reading MEN OF IRON by Howard Pyle

Lord and Master,
how weary I be in “well-doing” Thou wottest all to well of. Yet, peradventure I be not doing even half so well as Thou wouldest desire and dost deserve.

Arm me within to the challenges I must face ere my race be run–be they challenges glamorous or tedious, be they adventures dreadful or monotonous. Strengthen my resolve by Thine omnipotent right arm.

Champion I would be, yet have I the heart of a child and the will of a peasant. My champion Thou must be else my defeat is certain.

Nerve me to face whatever may be my lot. I know not whether I be fitted for greatness and victory or no. Thou knowest. Frame me and fashion me to play the part Thy wisdom hath written for me.

One boon I would ask of Thee: preserve this manly faith within my heart. Cause Thou my soul to trust in Thee through continued glimpses into Thy loving heart and superior wisdom. Let me know mine own foolishness that I may know Thy magnanimity. Burnish my shield of faith.

(found in one of my journals as I was browsing today)
Monday, February 9, 2004

A beggar at the gate, I come
knocking, waiting, head slumped
On breast, worn out yet work never done.

But yesterday I was maiden fair,
damsel, waiting, eyes searching
For a champion, someone to take my cares.

Now, today, I am a serf,
menial, waiting, knowing
My desserts are found on meaner tables.

So, why do I even bother knocking?

Why are beggars beggars? A lack, a need, even at times, a want. Beggared by circumstance–a wound, a disease, a fire that takes livelihood and all–or beggared by self–inability to keep ourselves afloat, we let go of the dignity of self-reliance and we ask, then we beg.
What do beggars beg for? A crust, a crumb, a bone. Anything to keep themselves alive. Dare they ask for more? A seat at the table? a full plate? Dare I ask–tonight–for sustenance and MORE? I have nothing to pay for it. Idiot that I am, I spent my last doit on other things–some worthless, I suspect. But my meagre salary could never hope to buy a prince’s place at the king’s table. What am I thinking?

Every time I lay me down to sleep,
I give myself to You, O Lord, to keep;
Your arm my shield while I rest, unaware;
I place into your keeping all my care.

Dec. 17, 2009

When another one falls,
not falls, but stumbles,
not stumbles, exactly,
but trips, and catching
his façade on a protruding edge,
rips it away for us to see
the things that lie inside—
Death rules again,
And I seem to see
You again, cold and lying
in Your grave enwound with
grave clothes and embalming spices.
I find myself at Your tomb again
Bringing spices, mourning You
Wondering
Was everlasting Life all a Dream?

With deathful Sin triumphant,
standing, gloating, leering,
mocking all our hopes—
now dashed with cold reality—
Who will roll the stone away?

And once the tomb is open,
letting out the stench of death,
exposing to our eyes the
lifeless shell within,
where will we find You?
You are not there, the corpse
that was Your body
cannot now be You—
Your spirit’s gone.
And where You’ve gone
We do not know
And cannot follow.
The memory of You fades
to a dream of something
we thought we had.
But we were mistaken.
What hope is there?

Resurrection?

Rising from the dead?
Just doesn’t happen
Impossible
So improbable that our minds
Cannot conceive the thought:
“Your brother will rise again.”
“Yes, Lord, someday he will
when life as we know it
comes to an end and
You make all things new.”
“I AM the Resurrection
and the Life,” You reply;
and, though my mind believes,
my heart still cries:
“Lord, if You had been here,
My brother would not have died!”
I cannot help but weep.
And You weep, too—
You, who are Life itself,
Weeping over Death.
I know by Your weeping
that You loved him, too:
that Death can touch Your heart,
divine though You may be.
Perhaps Divinity is wounded
more by Death than is Mortality.
And for this moment,
once again, Death
trumps Victory.
And so we weep together.
What comes next?

“Where have you laid him?”

If I show You,
if I show You where he is buried;
if I take that long, slow walk to his tomb again;
if I take that long, slow walk with You—
if we take that walk together, even though he’s four-days dead;
if I show You where he lies decayed,
What then?

I’m standing at the tomb
His tomb
My tomb
Your tomb
Dare I hope to see an angel
Announcing over empty grave-clothes
The Impossible has happened?
Where does my heart,
My death-wounded heart go
to find Your Resurrection?
Like Martha, I believe
You are Who You Are—
God, the Son of God,
The Resurrection and the Life.
Can this belief become
the spice I bring to mourn the dead?
Here is where we dwell:
We dwell with Death—
death of loved-ones, hopes, and dreams
Should I really be
Surprised that You should die?
It’s not ok
But I’m used
To it, to death
There’s always one more tomb.

But Yours is empty
Empty, hollow, vacant—
Incomprehensibly absent
Is the corpse I came to find.
“Because I live, ye shall live also”
Was Your promise,
A promise just as impossible,
Just as improbable—
Teach me to believe!
For now, just help me trust
In You, the One I’ve come to know.
I know You’ll read my message
When I send to You saying,
“Lord, the one You love is sick, is dead.”
You’ll come, e’en though he’s dead,
Because You love him, too.
I’m waiting for the glory of God
Promised by You,
Incomprehensibly impossible.
Hoping, waiting, believing
That You defeated Death.

I stand on trial again . . .
Faced with my Accuser . . .
And I know myself to be
All that I am accused of, and worse,
As though he holds a mirror
To my face and I see myself
Again just as I am:
Ugly, dirty, scarred;
Clothed in rags and torn;
Foolish, weak, and useless;
Careworn.
What does it matter that
The price is paid already?
I stand ashamed to know
So much was paid for
Something–someone–so
Very worthless.

I stand on trial again . . .
O Advocate! What have I to say?
I hear my accusations and
I think, I feel, I know them
To be possible. But are they true?
Is it Your robes of righteousness
Or my own rags of shame I wear?
And what do the garments matter
Anyway, if all is true as my Accuser says?

O Advocate, my dear Lord Jesus Christ!
You know this hurt more deeply
Than I know my share–
You wore my rags, becoming
What I feel myself to be:
Sin-stained, guilt-laden,
Shamed and bearing shame.
All that I was before Your advent
(springing up Your very life within my soul)
You became for me.
It is still true, though I can’t feel it so,
That You have made me into
What You Are?
Which clothes are mine in truth:
The righteous gown I wear–cloth
Of Your joy and glory–or
The rags I see upon my form
In the Adversary’s mirror?

3-3-2010

originally published 12 May, 2010 at 23:20 (for those who read it back then *smile*)

Daddy, something isn’t right today.
I’d tell You if I knew just what it was.
If I knew, I’d run to You, sobbing out my woe
Or spread it out before You, talk it over,
Trusting that You’ll fix it,
Taking from You the power, the strength
To live despite the brokenness,
The knowledge and wisdom to live within its sphere.
I’d leave it with You and step out
Confidently–confident in You, confident
In what You’ve told me, confident because
We’ve talked it out.

Daddy, something’s just a little wrong today,
But I can’t put my finger on just what!
A monster ‘neath my bed or in my closet?
A lingering headache, cold, or flu?
A bruise? A broken friendship?
A gaping hole, invisible, in the fabric of space and time?
Am I sensing someone else’s pain?
Or is it mine?
You’re so big and wise, I’m sure You’ve seen
Already what it is–before I even have the words to know.
Please let me snuggle down with You to watch
Until You show me. Your nearness
Gives me confidence in facing the unknown.

2-8-2010

I wonder how it felt to the little boy who gave Jesus his lunch.

I wonder how the poor widow woman felt as she prepared the loaf for Elijah instead of for herself and her son.

I wonder how the lady felt as she dropped her whole income–one penny–into the treasury at the temple.

I wonder how Moses felt the first time God used his stick.

Wonder.

Sometimes the sense of helplessness comes first. The sense of smallness. Maybe even the sense of ridiculousness. But underlying all of it is a knowledge of what is right. And often a tiny, incongruous sense of hope.

And afterwards . . . A sense of wonder.

A sense of satisfaction and then curiosity and then utter amazement that could hardly find the words to speak itself.

A sense of wanting to be still and quiet for fear of breaking the silence.

And sometimes there’s just the comfortable sense of knowing one’s God after all.

Oh, every year hath its winter,
And every year hath its rain—
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

When new leaves swell in the forest,
And grass springs green on the plain,
And alders’ veins turn crimson—
And the birds go north again.

Oh, every heart hath its sorrow,
And every heart hath its pain—
But a day is always coming
When the birds go north again.

‘Tis the sweetest thing to remember,
If courage be on the wane,
When the cold, dark days are over—
Why, the birds go north again.

~ taken from Streams in the Desert (copyright 1925) October 9

Oh, God of dust and rainbows, help us see That without dust the rainbow would not be. ~ Langston Hughes

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