Friday, April 22, 2011

A day of darkness...

Today is the day the Christian world memorializes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Today is the day we can come closer to understanding the unfathomable love God has for us. Though there are few of us who would give our own lives for others, especially those whom we know don't deserve it, who among us would willingly allow our son, the most beloved part of ourselves, to die for others. On this day, God wept. He wept so deeply, the sun could not shine, the temple curtains tore apart in sorrow, the earth quaked with God's mourning. The sight of His own beloved son covered with all the sin and shame and horror of all of us, past, present, and until the end of time, caused God to turn away, and that turning hurt. God is Love. And love can hurt a great deal.

Do you not know that God can weep? Can hurt and mourn? John 11:35 says that Jesus wept over the death of his friend, and He told us that if we want to know the Father, we can know Him through the son. What Jesus did, he did to teach us the nature of God. And Jesus wept. So don't you know that this day is still a sad day for our Father? The day He remembers the pain of the death of His beloved child... The day He remembers what was given for us: for our mistakes, our greed, our hatred, our selfishness and meanness, our smallness, our laziness, our lack of faith, for our sin.

Yes, we know that the day will be bright again. Resurrection will come. But today, we need to acknowledge that God gave enough to hurt even Him. He wept tears and cried out in pain because He loves us enough to give what would be the greatest gift a loving Father can give. On this day, we must thank our Father for that gift, we must remember that sacrifice, and perhaps we must even weep a bit with the God who weeps when we are bent down with our own sorrows.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Life requires Bravery...

It seems that no matter what I am reading, watching, or discussing, it becomes more and more evident that just living in today's world requires a great deal of bravery. The roads all feel quite rocky and filled with obstacles, and solutions to problems seldom are simple. We often find ourselves baffled about what to do to make a difference, or even to survive.

My husband and I watched the movie "Invictus" last night. We had not seen it before. I have always been impressed by Nelson Mandela, and this movie made me respect him even more. He was a man who lived and led with bravery. He was brave enough to care, to be kind when kindness was not the norm, and to be forgiving when a lot of forgiveness was needed. His bravery was passed on to a nation that required it to survive. Ours is a nation that requires bravery to survive now, too. It is not the bravery of those with weapons that is needed: it is the bravery of those who will forgive differences of opinion; those who will love unconditionally; those will always act with kindness and generosity. It is the bravery of those who make choices based on what Love and Forgiveness dictates, not on what might and power and wealth try to claim. It is the bravery of those who will speak out for the weaker, the poorer, the uneducated. It is the bravery of those who will demand that we feed and educate and protect those around us. Those brave souls must be us, for who else will be brave if we are not?

Think of the bravery required of Christ in this Holy Week, leading up to the celebration of His resurrection. Even during His final hours, when surely just thinking of His own plight would have required a great deal of bravery, He was thinking of others. He was loving and forgiving.

I have many days when it feels brave enough for me to just to go through my day without doing harm. But it is not brave enough. There is more for me to do. I don't have to lead nations. I don't have to cure the ills of a people or of the world. But I do need to be brave enough to interact with the people God puts in my path with compassion, generosity, forgiveness, and love. And I need to be brave enough to prompt others to follow that path as well. Only if we are all brave, can we make a difference.

Be brave. Be strong and courageous, for you are not alone. Strength will be given to you to do all that God requires. This week, ask for the bravery of Christ in His last week. And expect God to open doors for you to use that bravery, because He will. But He will also walk through those doors with you, and make your efforts more than you could ever hope them to be, on your own.

Nelson Mandela said, "If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

There's a ringin' of a bell in the back of my mind...

I am just back from Taos. It was a working trip for me, but also a fun get-away and a chance to see different things. As always, I take a lot of photos when I am away from home. I loved this old loom, with a new weaving being done on it and a cross along-side to 'bless' the weaver and his or her work. I am a firm believer that God does bless the work of our hands, when we do it with sincerity and commitment. Christ himself, while one of us, was a craftsman, and tradition and history say he was a fine one. I am sure that whatever He did, He did it for His Father.

I have a large tapestry to finish designing and to warp the loom for. I confess that I am having trouble getting into the studio. Suddenly, there are housework and errands and yard and garden work demanding my attention. There are friends and loved ones who 'need' me. It is very hard to turn my back on all that good work, to go into my studio and weave in solitude, ignoring dust bunnies as they roll past the door, and pets looking at me longing for a walk. But if I do not do that, the tapestry will not be woven. Would that be a great loss to anyone, if one of my tapestries, or all of them, went unwoven? Probably not. But my work is my voice in the world, and God has been 'troubling me' in my thoughts and dreams and quiet moments to go to the studio and weave.

Susan Werner has written a beautiful song that often goes through my mind when I am procrastinating in doing what I know I need to be doing. It's called "Did Trouble Me". Find and listen to it, if possible; it will become a favorite! Here are lyrics from the last verse and chorus:

In the whisper of the wind, in the rhythm of a song
My Lord will trouble me.
To keep me on the path where I belong,
My Lord will trouble me.

Will trouble me,
With a word or a sign,
With the ringing of a bell in the back of my mind.
Will trouble me,
Will stir my soul,
For to make me human, to make me whole.

My Lord's been troublin' me to get busy! So to the studio I will go today, to work on the Nativity tapestries and to warp the loom. God watered the garden and yard for me yesterday, so I do not need to fret about that task, and all else will hold for at least today.