Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I have lately found myself answering questions about how I am with seasonality. “I’m in a busy season just now.” Or, “It’s a season of chaos but it’ll settle down in a bit.”

It got me to thinking. If you get enough of those seasons together in a row, it won’t be long before you have a whole year! And then, two... And, before you know it, a lifetime of seasons will have passed by without ever once being anything but a season, without ever once getting anywhere, without ever once a “when” or a “then” arriving. I am left to wonder if there really is anything after this current season but another season. In other words, there is no “when” or “then,” just now. And now, is transitional and will always be. It leads me to a theory of transitionality.

It is this: life is nothing but transitional. Therefore, the greater your expectation of arrival, the lower your capacity for transition, and thus, the lower your capacity for life – as it is, or as it will be.

The reason seems to me simple. We are built to be the Image of God – but can not hold still long enough in that identity without having to tinker with it. Our tinkering dislodged us from the core of our identity and sent us carooming off distant objects in longing search for ourselves at home, which inevitably leads to repeated disappointment because we will never be at home until we are finally ourselves, at home.

As it turns out, we are built to be where we are. And we would rather be anywhere but there. So, off we go again, thinking we are just around the next corner. But we are not.

We have lost our lease, having proved unsuitable tenants for the paradise we were built for – but we go on and on and on thinking that, if we can just get through this season, we will finally be able to settle down. Only to find we are in yet another season.


Nothing for it but to seek to be where we are, by the grace of God. Which is the only way we can ever be where we are. And is our home.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Lord's Prayer (A Lenten Meditation - Part Five)

"Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors."

This is not first the prayer of the stranger, the one outside of the family, but is the prayer of the children. Our first forgiveness, the one that enables us to find our place at the table is not conditioned upon anything but asking and receiving. But having been forgiven such massive debt, we now have a reciprocal obligation to forgive those who are in debt to us. Forgiving is what forgiven people do.
To forgive is to offer to others the grace that has been offered to us. To have received grace without moving toward becoming grace-full is oxymoronic. We forgive out of the forgiveness we have received - to not forgive indicates that we have yet to receive forgiveness. Having been adopted into the family and given the privilege whereby we can call God, "Our Father," pushes us to learn to act like our adoptive Father - to take on the family resemblance. This is at the core of being witness - this is what those outside the family see when they look in. "Look - they love one another." Forgiveness is a mark of love. To not forgive is to miss the part of love that does not keep a record of wrongs suffered.
When we forgive, we are part of the answer to our prayer that God's will might be done. God's will is to forgive. If we do not forgive, we contradict our own longings that His will be done; we get in the way of our own prayer. To forgive is to put ourselves in the river of mercy that flows from the throne of grace.
Forgiveness is not about settling debts. It is not about balancing the books. It is not about assigning blame or guilt. It is not about making someone pay. It is not about making things fair. It is about making things right. It is about restoring relationship if at all possible. It is about what God is about.
Sometimes, forgiveness is the only way forward. The past is so tangled with shame and accusation and guilt and blame that death is the only way to untangle all the knots. Forgiveness is a way of dying. At least, if we forgive in Jesus Name. He has taught us how to forgive.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Lord's Prayer (A Lenten Meditation - Part Four)

"Give us this day our daily bread."

Only God really knows what our needs for each day are. And so we turn to Him. And we ask. We ask as children, having been taught that He is our Father. And we ask expecting, having learned that He is our Heavenly Father, whose Name is hallowed. And we ask, not simply for ourselves, but that all His children would have their needed bread. Today. Tomorrow, we will ask again.

How deep is the mystery of this asking. Unarguably, God knows our needs. Unarguably, He desires to meet our needs, for He is that kind of God. And still, we are taught to pray for daily bread. Perhaps it is more a relationship we are being taught into than a necessity for existence. Or, perhaps, relationship with Him is necessary for our existence. For bread goes far beyond what we need to eat. Bread is life.

Bread pushes us to consider what our daily lives require. Truthfully, unless they are much too small, daily bread is often the least of our needs. We are pushed to think. How much life do I need for today? How much life from above, from the Kingdom of the heavens, do I require for this days living? So many days, the answer is little. Or none. My daily life is completely self-contained. It is so narrowly and shallowly lived that no external resources are needed.

What would happen if we had to live up to our daily bread? If we had to completely consume all the resources given us for the day? Would we even know how to live so fully that each day is complete consumed, creating a deep demand for tomorrow's bread when it comes? Or do we try and hoard some of today's life, just in case tomorrow's bread runs short? Perhaps we even long for the bread of tomorrow, today. But no. Sufficient unto the day is the bread thereof.

And so, we ask. We ask from the whole of our being, for the wholeness of our being. We ask of One who is able to make bread out of nothing. And has. "Give us what we need for today."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moon Shine

All alone
                  in the dark
                                    feeling the weight
                                    of it
                                                      crushing in
                                                      pressing in
                                                      pushing in
                  nothing heavier

It has a death
                  of its own
                  making madness

                                    in the dark

                  surrounded by
                                    jagged edged hopes smashed
                                    remembering of might have
                                    disappointment piled high
                                    regrets threaten crushing collapse

                  unseen in the dark
                                     and more threatening because

                  even shadows lose to the dark

And then. . .
                  moon shine

pushing back
                  giving shape to shadows
                  make it less

not real light

but enough
                  for this dark

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Lord's Prayer (A Lenten Meditation, Part Three)

"Thy Will be done,
on Earth as it is in Heaven."

Here we enter into mystery. Jesus is teaching us to pray that what the Father wishes to happen will, in fact, happen. It stretches our understanding enough to include the idea of the Father's will not being some monolithic force moving in time and space to bring things to pass. There are, apparently, some things that occur that are not His will, and there are, apparently, some things that are His will that don't occur. And we are given the opportunity to partner with Him in the reducing of the number of those things. The prayer for the accomplishing of God's will is a prayer that puts us fully in the flow of His work in the world. And not just as an interested bystander, but as an active participant.
We have made the determination that this prayer answered will be better than this prayer not answered. That God's will being done on earth will be better than any of the alternatives. This is a prayer on the way to Kingdom coming and centers on what is here and now. We align ourselves with God's desires. Some of them are so clear and known that we may pray more specifically. We may pray that we become more like Jesus. That is the Father's will for all His children. We may pray for the salvation of persons, for we know that God is not willing that any should perish. We may pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send out laborers into His harvest field, for we have it on good authority that that is precisely what He desires as well.
But some of what the Father wants is not so clear or precise. We pray as if looking through a darkened glass - listening deeply to hear the whispers of His will in this situation or that - praying as we sense the Spirit blowing this way or that. Always bring our prayer to the heart of the Father for correction or direction - we do not insist that what we want becomes His will, but that what He wants becomes ours.
The locus of this prayer is the only place we know of in the universe where it is not already so. It is here on earth that choices were made to set aside His will. And so, it is here on earth that we pray, "May your will be fully accomplished."