Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#Advent2019 - Day Four

Lori's Reflections

What a big job for a baby…

To be the promise to every person the earth has touched.

To be a big enough container to hold the full love of God.

To be the only bridge that can span the chasm between God and his creation.

A baby was such an unexpected vehicle for all of that grace.

Still, he was right on time in just the right way and just the right size to break the barrier between us and

God. Once broken, the power that brought him to the earth in this most fragile of ways is big enough to

keep the barrier destroyed for good.

This baby was strong enough to save us and vulnerable enough to weep with us, for us, about us.

Because babies don’t stay babies, because God cannot be defeated, and because Love always wins.

Shea's Reflections

Lost but not abandoned
so says the coin in the corner
so says the sheep far afield
so says the son eating pig slop
Lost... but a Seeker has come
from the skies to seek and to save
to restore, to heal, and to gather together
as a hen gathers her chicks under wing
Behold! There comes a knocking, a rattlin' at our door.
Behold! There is a staff raised high, calling to our eyes.
Behold! There is a name, which when spoken, displays power.
Behold! A mere garments edge, which when grasped, heals.
Lost... Broken... Bitten... Bleeding...
But not abandoned

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

#Advent2016 Day Three

Shea's Reflections

Sit still for a moment and give your full attention to the moment.
Expand your chest and abdomen and realize the profound result - a breath.
Now imagine yourself suddenly transported, naked into space - expand your chest now mortal
- where did your breath go?
Somewhere within the frame of countable seconds, you will die.
Realize this as a result - you live with drastic need.
You might assume you somewhere somehow did something to deserve the need be met
You might also assume you would do just fine providing for yourself
You could conclude you are just as much an accident as the air around you - and never give it a second thought
but this Christmas season has arrived to provoke you to think about the needs you have and the gifts you receive
We are reminded of Love and it's work - “He did good to you and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness"
We are reminded that it is only by grace that we live and move and have our being
We are confronted with needs beyond our physical body
and we will sing "Jehovah Jireh!"
The Lord God Provides

Lori's Reflections

Daniel 6:27
“…he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth…”

Beyond the border of my power,
Past the end of my plans,
Above my eyes and below my fear.
You are there.
You, with your Breath
                Waving wonders with your sweeping hands.
Revealing signs with your words, speaking being into emptiness.
Not bound by time and space and gravity, your work goes on in other realms.
Sometimes I think I can sense the great movements in the heavens-
                Sometimes I am dumbed down by my physicality.

Always – you are moving.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lori's Advent Reflections - Day Two

How jaded I become to the supernatural. What a ridiculous thing it is to tell the story of God and man with the same voice and breath I use to ask my husband what he wants for dinner. Oh, we are a species of frail spiritual constitution.

Yet if my mind could see a photograph of the exchange between father and son on the Mount of Olives, I would be able to see in frozen time the captured anguish. My eyes would sense the disturbance in the creation around him as the full realization fell on him of the coming days. Spiritual beings would be seen comforting him, mourning with him.

And we humans didn’t see any of this coming. This wasn’t at all how we ordered things to go, and we became shaken from our sleepy story.
Still now, I am unable to comprehend and absorb the weight of this story, from fragile beginnings to triumphant end, so I sometimes tell it with the inflection and reverence of a bored sixth grader. But when I can stop and visualize a photograph of Christ and I exchanging love, looks, intentions... I am moved to awe. I can see the bright beauty of both gift and giver in an extreme contrast. And when I picture a photograph of the people long ago waiting and watching for his coming, I wonder if they told their children the promise with beautiful anticipation around the fire at night, or hurriedly as they were cooking dinner or tending sheep. Thank God his faithfulness is not dependent on us.

#Advent2016 Day Two

I believe the Hallelujahs 
heard from the hills just over there
I believe the magnifying soul
the rejoicing spirit of a young girl
I believe the oath sworn
to father Abraham - and to his far-flung families
I believe the magi three
which traveled from strange places to worship here
I believe the dreams of Joseph
promising a guide to great escape
I believe the voice of Ramah
the screams, the despair, the evil in play
I believe the one calling in the wilderness
'Prepare the way of the Lord' - 'The kingdom comes'
I believe in the Word made flesh
born into our darkness by the light of a great star

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Lori's Advent Reflections - Day

Waiting feels negative. It feels like being put out, impatient, frustrated and late. It feels like someone else dropped the ball and you are the one paying the consequence: waiting for your appointment in the doctor’s office, waiting for your friend who is late, waiting for the light to turn green, waiting to finally understand the electoral college.

Yet, Advent is a time of recognizing the waiting. Not in the negative sense, and not in the “Waiting for Christmas sales!!” sense, but a bit more sacred. Like sitting vigil with a sick loved one who is hanging in the balance. It is on holy ground that we wait. And it feels differently, as though we are created for it. As if we have a part of our soul that was molded to this quiet anticipation. We don’t pretend the timeline is within our control. God’s people once waited for generations for deliverance, for the promised land, for the Messiah.

Now we wait for his return, and to put things right. We wait for him to finally bring justice and healing and perfect love. And just as sacred as this waiting is, remembering the waiting of our ancient people is to identify with the soul’s longing for its creator across different times, cultures and hairstyles. Still, just as God’s early chosen people thought the Messiah would come with a sword and an army of Navy Seals, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve got this second bit of waiting wrong as well. Still, I trust the answer. Still, I anticipate the mysterious good.

#Advent2016 Day One

Adam and Eve, along with their children, lost the one thing they were ultimately designed for... The very presence of God.
God would still visit from time to time; in a whisper within a dream, from a burning bush, as a pretending Angel (accepting worship whereas no real angel would dare), as a pillar of fire, as a promise in blood.
God would tease out his presence because it was all that was left open to him until the promise made to Adam in the garden found it's time among the humans... 
Immanuel would be The Name.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 9th

It's the morning of November 9th and the wind still blows, the water still flows and the sun is it did yesterday, and it will again tomorrow.

We have air to breathe, water to drink and light by which to see because we have a King who commands it - and he is NOT off his throne.

Some followers of Jesus face today with despair. Do not despair! Regardless of our circumstances, God calls us to abundant and transforming lives. In Jeremiah 29 God tells the Israelites (who have been dragged off by force into exile!) that they should:

"Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

If you're candidate or important initiative did NOT win the day...remember: your dog still thinks you're the most amazing person ever....oh, and you have a KING.

Some followers of Jesus face today with hope. Do not hope in what you can see! Regardless of promises made and even promises kept, they too will pass. God calls us to hope in what we cannot see:

"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." - Romans 8

If your candidate or important initiative DID win the day...remember: the garbage still needs to be put out on the curb tonight....oh, and you have a KING.

For those who today on November 9th are not followers of Jesus, whether you find yourself in despair or filled with joy: you have a KING too! And he calls to you to enter his Kingdom! Everyone is welcome! Bring your joy and your despair. Bring your doubts and your convictions. Bring your brokenness and hate, your dreams and your desire...bring it ALL!

...and then lay it all down. You need not carry it any longer, for your new King's yoke is easy, and his burden is light.