Facts may be true,
But they are never big enough
To hold the truth.
The question is not, ‘Is it true?’
But, ‘Are you true?’
That is where the real difference is born.
Whom does God love more
The mistaken, but earnest, heretic
Or the proudly intolerant orthodox?
God loves us both, infinitely.
That is the place we must start.
That is the place I must start.
In God’s love.
In love with God.
In love (with God’s love) with you.
We may build walls with rules
Or circle our wagons in self-protection
But the rain falls on us all:
The just and the unjust,
The correct and the befuddled.
So, we must find a way
To live our best lives
In a world that contains us both.
Try as I might, I will not change you,
Nor you change me, with arguments.
Yet, I know I will change with time.
I know because I have changed, already, many times.
You will change too.
And when we lean into love,
The change is for the better.
The father waits for the prodigal,
Even if the big brother does not.
Even if the big brother was secretly glad the prodigal left.
Even if the big brother left the father, too
And just didn’t know it.
And the father wants us to party together,
When the prodigal makes it home,
When the big brother hears the music,
And wonders why it is not for him.
It is, really, for neither, alone.
The party is for reunion.
I have faith, I have hope, that love will win.
I just wish it would happen sooner rather than later.
I dare to think that is God’s hope, too.
That we would both come to ourselves
And come to the party.
Is it possible
To hold within your heart
A nugget of defiant joy?
To deeply know
God’s deepest love
For all the deepest parts of you.
To hold to love
Despite the angry shouts
And sadly shaking heads.
To welcome God’s love
So fully, so truly
That it spills out to others.
Even – though they cannot see it,
And don’t know how to receive it,
To those with sadly shaking heads.
That is the miracle of grace.
That we can offer love to one
Who cannot love us in return.
Father, forgive them,
For they do not know
What they are doing.
Let me be a conduit of grace
Let it flow to me and through me
To all creation.
It is. (amazing) It is.
Kingdom is a foreign term,
The metaphor of a different time.
It is so far removed from what I understand
That it no longer serves me well.
When I think of kingdom,
I think of coercion,
Absolute, immutable rule.
What if there were a different kind of kingdom –
Hidden in plain sight, growing up among us,
Tiny, at first, like a mustard seed?
What if it were a land of healing and hope,
Where little children, and prostitutes, eagerly lead the way?
It would be an upside down land,
Where the last come first
And every lost thing is found.
Camels and riches would make it hard to enter in,
For what is truly yours is what you give away.
It would be like living in a foreign land.
I’d need to learn its culture,
Change my currency.
I’d need a whole new language.
But, somehow, I know I would be home.
Do you think I could find asylum, there?
Could this be true?
The crucifixion was unnecessary.
God did not require it – we did.
It was not God who demanded sacrifice as the gateway to reconciliation.
God’s power to love and forgive was never held hostage to some cruel death.
Love has always been more powerful than sin.
We are the ones who required blood-sacrifice.
We believed so deeply that the price of sin was death
That we would not accept God’s love and reconciliation without it.
So, Christ, who came for reconciliation,
Who came to show us love,
Met our conditions.
God’s desire for relationship was so deep
That God yielded to our obstinate delusions
To prove in ways that only we demanded
The awesome, terrible depth of love.
God does not love us more – or less – because of the crucifixion.
But we can now accept forgiveness
And find a way to receive and return that love.
That is God’s desire – that we would love in return.
God will do whatever it takes to help us find the way to love.
Ezekiel 37: 1-3
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; it was full of dry bones. And he led me round among them; and behold, there were very many in the valley; and lo, they were very, very dry.
And he said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?”
And I answered him, “No way!”
And he said to me, “Whatever you say.” And he walked away.
And I was left with the bones and my faithlessness.
Many days later, he returns to me and he asks again, “Can these bones live?”
And I answer him, “I wish they could.”
He sits down beside me and asks, quietly, “Where do you send those wishes? How do they find substance?”
I kick at the dirt and reply, “My wishes have no substance. They appear before me like a wisp of smoke and then they are whipped away by the wind. If I try to grasp them or shield them from the wind, my own movements make them dissipate. The bones are very, very dry.”
Do you know the difference between wishes and hope?”
I look at him blankly and shrug.
He waits a moment longer, and then he answers for me. “Wishes have no anchor. Hope is anchored by faith. It springs from desires that I have planted within you and rises to my listening ears. It is a call for us to work together to bring righteousness to life.”
I look up at him. “How can I work to bring righteousness? I am nothing but dry bones. There is no righteousness in me.”
“I bring the righteousness.” He smiles at me. “You bring the bones.”
I start to grin. “I can do that.”
So he asks me again, “Can these bones live?”
“Lets see.” I reply.
“Yes, lets do.”
We are, by nature, amphibious souls. Our spirits journey on a path that is somehow parallel and somehow separate from the journey of our days.
So, how do we move forward in both? When I work at my desk, where is my spirit? When I quiet my soul sufficiently to hear the whisper of God, what happens to my work?
Is it love that drives the act of mercy, or the act of mercy that evokes my love? My tendency is to think that it is the spirit that moves the hand. But what happens when my spirit is recalcitrant? Is it possible for my hand to move my spirit?
I try this little experiment: I close my eyes and smile. When I do this with intention, I can feel my spirit expand and my soul lift in joy. The smile has evoked my joy.
So, if I am truly amphibious, there are two ways in: the way of action and the way of contemplation. Actually, I think James says this: faith and works are inextricably linked.
So, which comes first? The frog or the egg; the tadpole or the hopper? Maybe it doesn’t matter where I start – I can get there, just the same.
I close my eyes and smile. I cherish the second path, grateful for a way around my heart, when it is feeling churlish.