April 9, 2012

SHE STAYED






Yesterday was Easter Sunday.

In a time of family reflection, we read the four gospel versions of that most amazing day in history - the one that divides the timeline into a before and an after.

You know the story.

But after reading the John version, Dad asked if anyone had any insights and our ten-year-old Jordan said simply:  "Mary stayed."

And Oh! to think what she may have missed!

In John´s version, Mary discovers the empty tomb and runs to tell Peter and John. They run to see it and then "they went back to their homes".  But Mary stayed. She stayed and wept.  She stayed and looked again into the tomb, saw two angels, had a conversation with them.  She turns around and speaks to a presumed gardener. Jesus reveals Himself to her. She stayed - and has one of the most precious encounters with the Saviour of all time.

And I began to think of what "staying" harvests...


Desperate "staying" in The Presence brings fruitfulness.  Holy living. Intimacy.  "Staying" in marriage harvests faithfulness.  Stability.  Healthy families full of integrity.  Courageous "staying" in times of stress or difficulty or even persecution harvest the very things the Kingdom of God is made of.  And "staying" in our host cultures long enough harvests language abilities, cultural skills, incarnational message-bringing and missional, redemptive influence.

"Staying" is a remarkably powerful action.

Out of the mouths of babes...




photo by waysideviolet


THE PERFECT COUNTRY







I know I am at risk here.

At risk of leaving out over a gazillion examples of cultural wonderment.

But some characteristics of this lovely place for me would certainly be:


The unbelievable hospitality of Morocco where the guest is king.
The robust cuisine and exquisite artwork of Italy.
The respectful politeness of Japan.
The colours of South Africa without the injustice.
The commitment of the persecuted church of China.
The siestas of Mexico.
The strength of character of the UK.
The beaches of the Caribbean. 
The fútbol passion and talent of Argentina. :)
The quaint cafés of France.
The value of family & relationships of Greece.
The majestic wildlife of Kenya.
The delicate brush of calligraphy of Saudi Arabia.
The customer service of the US. :)
The exotic flavours of India without the poverty.
The intercession of Korea.
The strum of guitars & emotion of flamenco of Spain.
The white smiles of children in Mali.
The perfect weather of Guatemala.
The warming, spicy chai of Pakistan (& its lovely people to share it with).
The mysteries of the desert of Algeria.
The music of Jamaica...

...and my friends with their many faces,
from many places,
there in one spot.

Our heavenly country will certainly be full
of the most unimaginable flavours & colours! 

What would your perfect country include?  Leave me a note!




photo by Laura Dunn-Mark

April 7, 2012

SATURDAY´S QUESTIONS








(For Saturday - the most overlooked day on Easter weekend)



Friday was Black.
Dark.  Horrible.
Filled with evil deeds met with unbelievable gentleness
And surrender. And resolution.
People at their worst screamed:
“CRUCIFY HIM!”
But now it´s over.  Very much over.

Saturday is quiet.
But not a peaceful quiet.
It´s a troubled, sad quiet.
It´s a remorseful quiet.
Grief-quiet.
Every character in this real-life play
Is turning over questions:
“Did we do the right thing?”
“Who was that man?”
“Did I get carried away with the crowd”?
“Will there be a backlash from my verdict yesterday?”

But the most tortuous questions
Were whispered by His own.
Through fear and shock
They did not even dare speak them aloud:
“Did yesterday really happen?”
“Where is God today?”
“Who am I today without the Teacher´s business to do?”

During the day the questions deepen,
Turn to the impossible:
“What did He mean by ´on the third day...´?”
“Is who He seemed to be really over?”
“What if....?”  "What now?"

The sadness & disbelief weigh heavy
BUT - there is a shift in tone.
The questions begin to usher in another mood -
It is not yet expectancy
(for they cannot hope again in light of Friday´s failure).

But they remember words & phrases of the Christ...
Their meaning still cloudy.
And in the rewinding of the tape in their minds,
Their honest sadness begins to wander...
And they wonder what they understood – if anything.
They wonder:  “What is a Messiah?”
Wonder if they understood their Book...
They wonder if they should have hope.

On Saturday, nothing is clear
There only hangs heavy with the sadness...
...Questions.

I´m glad I know what Sunday brings...
Hope!  Life!  Victory!
But mostly...
...Answers.



April 3, 2012

CURIOUS






I´m curious about His movings lately.
Curious about strange stirrings, pieces moving, the unexpected taking place.
And really curious about bigger things happening around me -
things in neighbouring places, rippling their effect outward and around me.
What could it mean?

I´m pondering things in my heart today.
Pondering His whisperings.
Pondering His gathering of "coincidences".
And really pondering the move of the Spirit over the face of the earth in my region.
Whatever could it mean?

Just wanted to say, Lord....
that I´m listening
and observing
And that You fascinate me.
You draw me with both the obvious & the subtle.
All Your plans are good...even transitions.
I will welcome them, embrace them,
Obey-Love You through them.

I´m curious
about what You´ll do then.



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