When I was young, the gray hairs would professing the aging sweetness of a simple Gospel and I wondered how their dependence could be growing if every day took them nearer to Heaven.
Instead, wrapped up in ‘doing’ and confident aspiration, the Gospel becomes loops and tangles to my mind. Like the lists for my day, it can too quickly become a check mark, a ladder, a building block to happy days. The kernel of something good, but just the beginning…or perhaps…not for me at all
And my heart grows weary, fool’s promises like ash from a Fall fire.
So the man tells me of a medicine he knows. When condemnation grows and my efforts fall short…when my boot straps are frayed from the tugging, he says with words of love, “Speak to the Lord and agree with Him.”
Agree that words smack of sin, that actions shake their fist. Agree that my soul deserves nothing and my grief is indeed well place.
Agree. Feel the burden and then agree again, that He is enough to lift it. That He is enough to forgive it and call me His own. That my heart is remade. It is changed. That my heart is loved and in all this, the soul crushing weight of shame can turn to joy.
So then I see the old faces again, and their faith for what it is. Far from an attainment or arrival, but a clinging to the Cross that set them free.
Let it be simple and let it be rest.
“Love is God’s very self; that is why it never ends, it never doubts, it stays its course… It goes out to enemies as well as friends, and it never abandons anyone, even when it is abandoned by everyone. Love follows after its beloved through guilt and disgrace and loneliness, all of which are no part of it; it is simply there and never ends. And it blesses every place it enters. Everywhere it goes, it finds imperfection and bears witness to perfection…”
There’s a boy who couldn’t stop hysterically laughing at every gourd he pulled from the market basket. He held one out as I passed and we felt infectious joy shoot up between us.
Down the hill, there are sober clad mourners gathering in the parking lot, jackets whipping in the wind. Is it this time already? Someone scuffs the pavement.
A bridge, and a neighbour with mermaid hair chats over a fence with the newlyweds. The clouds of early morning clear off and I pass peeling apartments, a sand pile, a parking lot.
There’s a smell of bread in my car, and corn and the sound of missing him that plays in my head all the time.
And again and again and again, I hear the words of a long suffering God saying louder, seek the good of your city.
When you want to bury your head in the computer and boot it up.
When breaking news ticks across every screen.
When you’re weary, broken and down-trodden…For this, you need not despair.
But pick up the gourds, quiet your soul, and with love beyond yourself..seek the good of your city.
Hey guys! There is a real life wedding happening here tomorrow, but in the meantime…you can read this guest post over in the Ink Loft.
There is nothing so sweet as the taste of summer blackberry. Bittersweet is the tearing of brambles against the back of my hand.
Joyful is the sound of one little girl whose every word is a shout of praise. Testing is the noise level.
At night, doing battle in the mind-maze, there is nothing so gentle as the sound of rain. The humidity curls my hair.
But nothing, nothing so kind as the kissing away of a lover’s quarrel, the smoothing of a forehead.
Restful until the morning comes.
“‘There’s only two things that money can’t buy,’ Papa would say. ‘That’s true, true love and homegrown tomatoes.'”
~Kevin West, in this book