Jesus, The Cross &Tofu Scrambles

It was Easter and we had not watched any of The Bible series on The History Channel. I had planned to sit with the conclusion, the final episode this Easter evening with my husband and maybe a teenage child or two if we could get them to sit down and stay still. More challenging than the toddler years, some days with all the moving around. I longed to experience the story on the screen and to honor Him in re-living the story of His suffering as the creators portrayed it through art. But I was hesitant too because this was the final night and this was the Cross.

And as we prepared dinner and snuggled by a Spring fire, burning wood, warming the room, I said to my husband, I hear this is really hard to watch.

His brilliant response to me was isn’t that the point. I meant what I said and so did he and we were both “right”. Yes, it was both hard to watch and the point of the Cross.

We watched and it was difficult and that sounds overly simplistic. But don’t we want to turn away from the suffering and the blood. We want to shield our eyes and our hearts from the slow painful walk to the cross, Jesus falling over, the cross, so heavy, so very tortuous in its weight on his back. The magnitude of the moments there on the screen so filled with the cruelty of man. The vinegar on the sponge, the mocking. And there was certainly an out for us, golf or basketball or even Duck Dynasty re-runs. But not truly. There had to be the cross. And there was no out for Jesus.

And in the days since Easter the discontent and pain right here, well its hard to watch too. A teenager struggling mightily, friends and strangers arguing about theology or discussing scripture and its truths. Its hard to live it out. The pain of this life, this side of glory. The disappointment this week is oppressive. And wasn’t it just Easter with all its glory and hope and new. The news through the phone, through the screen, through the mouthes of those I love. There is suffering here.

But this we know.

I stumble on a recipe for tofu scrambles. While the photography is beautiful and the ingredients are fresh I don’t choose this for myself. Or my family. But I am not going to throw tofu scrambles under the bus. Literally or otherwise. I may throw them down the drain if I have a chance. Or I may think twice before turning my head in visceral disgust. Tofu, not a big fan.

But more and more I am learning about life and God from people who do not see the world or faith the way I do.  And when I start to shut my ears and eyes and heart then I shut down my capacity to love, the different, the not quite like me, the others in this world. When I start closing myself with all my senses, my capacity to love my willingness to love, well it will be next. And I am called to love, maybe not agree, but love.

My faith, my world-view and my interpretation of scripture are all as they are for me, now. But I seek to love those who have a nuanced view of this life as believers, as Jesus followers. And those who are not believers. Because I am called to love like Jesus loved.

More and more I find refuge and beauty in poetry. More and more I run there to express my heart, to find my creative place to play, to delve deep into life through the framework of the poetic.

But I step out of that for this. These words here.

I must think about how Jesus loved,  to review all that He said of love. Review in my mind how beautifully diverse his followers were, especially the early ones, the inner-circle. And aren’t we called as followers of Jesus to love as best we can in our brokenness and sinfulness like he loves. Like he loved. And in and by His power we can love deeper and more tenderly than on our own.

I have seen so much fighting and disagreement in these recent days.  And though I am tucked into my little part of this world,  I know I  am not alone. I have seen it very close up, audibly in my world. And I have witnessed it from a distance too.

This is being human. This is the world this side of heaven.

But can we love as we disagree? And disagree as we  love. Can we honor those with whom we don’t agree on matters of faith and walking- out- life decisions. Can we wrap ourselves in the cloak of the greatest of these, the one that bears all, the banner over all – Love.

And you can have your tofu scrambles and I may have my cheeseburger. And as I play back in my mind’s eye my night in front of a warm Spring fire while watching Jesus walk bleeding and bent. Christ wearing a crown of thorns, a cross on his back covered in blood, carrying my sin in scripture and on the screen. I want to weep.

I have to ask myself now and daily, how would Jesus love. And then I must walk out the answer as I hear it, in my daily living.

My poetry awaits. It is sort of like a carriage waiting to carry me off to a place of beauty and peace. But I cannot hide. I must love like Jesus.

I want to live as a child of God and I want to love like Jesus. So can we sit at the table of fellowship with our tofu and our cheeseburgers, break bread together, love harder and better and more like him.

And remember the Cross.

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joining Emily, Jennifer, and Shellyimperfectprose

mt church

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Beautiful Broken

wisteria cross

Maybe the best way to write of the broken, to tell of the broken, to bleed words of broken, is  in a broken way. And that is all I have any way. Outside of The One Who Makes Things Whole and New. The Great Restorer Of All Broken.

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Why do I miss the beautiful in the broken, when the broken is the beautiful. At first glance I saw a dried flower. Crooked, bent and missing petals. At second glance I saw through a lens of grace and true beauty.

I played and basked in the warm early Spring sun, wrapped in layers of warmth. My body warmed by clothing. My soul warmed by her children. Their creativity and passion for living called out to me. Called out to my needy soul. Their invitations  to enter into a world of imagination were beautiful and trusting. We had never met. But we were lost in the world of playful discovery for two of the happiest hours of my week, this Holy Week. I was renewed, my dry bones in need, by two children who took me from my broken adult world, into their precious world.

My joy came from their contagious child-like joy. To see through the eyes of little ones with their unbridled thirst for twirling and running and dancing. For going as high in the sky as the swing will go. Brave and bold. Their hunger for a story of imaginary brides and their clover bouquets. And eyes that see dirt as a canvas.

I looked at the dried hydranga. And though it is my favorite flower and the one that I long to see bloom in the spring, I missed the beauty upon first glance. And then the artist eyes of Kelly revealed the beauty to me, anew. Fresh. Glorious beauty in the broken. Do you see the transformation from broken to beautiful. The tender way her fingers hold this fragile flower.

How many times must I be shown the beauty in the broken.

He reveals it to me fresh and new, in His patient way. And I am  a child learning  again.

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cross on a wall

I keep returning to this picture taken by a friend, my dearest. I have spent time staring at its broken beauty. The wall is gray, the day was
gray, the one when we stumbled on this wooden cross. But what shines through is the rugged beauty, tilted beauty and simple truth about the cross. Here there is no gold, nor diamonds or even turquoise or silver. Here there is wood, faded and barely hanging on.

There is beautiful broken redemptive love shining through the gray.

And I am learning to see the beauty in the broken. And to seek the broken and find true beauty there.

That is what I am and He loves me in my broken, shattered, imperfect, fragile state. And sees even me as beautiful.

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The new life is seeking to push through the cold dark winter that does not want to end. And daily I am wrapping around the needs of the broken
lives of friend. We pray for each other. Cry out in pain to one another. Please, please pray.

And I write down the names and the list is long. And I read the news and shutter and walk away. At the brokeness. At the pain and despair.

But the beautiful part is that He knows, sees and feels every ounce of my pain and hurt. That my trembling is held in the hands of the Healer. And that He hears the weakest of prayers and the feeblest muttering of my heart as I intercede for my family, friends, and strangers.

We are broken but held, broken but heard, and broken but Loved.

And  I can take it all in my broken strides and my limping gate to an Easter cross where the Savoir arises from the dead and the broken body is made whole.

There is so much glory in the broken.

And I am learning to seek understanding as I  wait for the re-creation of broken to whole.

As I look upon that wondrous cross…

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I see beauty and my heart cries out for Him.

He is making everything Easter new. That news is worthy of loud praises, shouts of Alleluia and twirling and dancing like a child, a child of God. Write it down, in the dirt of the earth. Write it down and remember.

Finally,  I am learning again and again  to see through a lens of His amazing Grace, the beautiful in the broken.

With and through the eyes of a child.
wrecked house boat

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Joining Michelle and Jennifer

Sweet Forgiveness

The prayer cottage.

A place to go and sit before the Lord in prayer and supplication. Small and welcoming.

But in this season the prayer cottage for this sinful soul, is one of the heart. My heart.

And this dwelling place needs dusting off.

Spring cleaning is needed in this place.

The get out the rubber gloves, the bucket of cleaning supplies, the harsh abrasive cleaning products and start with the baseboards kind.  A fresh coat of white paint and crisp linen curtains, exteriors would make this little prayer cottage look clean and white and prepared for prayer.Externals.  Superficial tending to will allow her to appear to be dressed in her Sunday best.  Ready for visitors.  Those in need of what she offers.

Freshly planted window boxes dripping with color, vibrant and showy take the eye off the truth, place it squarely on the exterior and the shell, the mask. The outer.

But  changing  externals does just that.  It doesn’t get down to the muck and the dirt, the soiled and the sin.  When what needs changing is a rewiring, a change in the fundamentals, the foundation.  The beating heart that pumps the blood.  The place of life. And all of lifes joy and pain.

Just as the Easter finery and freshly polished nails  can cover what lies within.

These heart places which need to be released of unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, distrust, disappointment need cleansing.  They need to be washed in the blood.  A paradox.  Cleaned by blood.  White by blood. The envy, jealousy, scraped off the walls of the heart and dumped in the trash, put on the curb, and carried off.  For good.

These dirty corners here in the dwelling place of the soul, the hearts yuck ,need to come clean. Room inspection is required, the looking under and over and around for all that is ugly and unpleasing to the One who made me.

We huddle over His word and with furrowed brow wrestle with forgiveness, the word.  The meaning.  God’s description and desire for us in this realm. God’s heart.  We process the weight of its importance to Him. We discuss  the kind thats all out, no holes barred.  The no holding on to any of it.  The surgically removing every cell of this cancer.  And the gift that comes with walking it out, forgiveness. Put words on what it bears and brings to the abundant life.

Hundreds of years of life huddle over the word, in one room in one house on one night. Many of us contributing a  half century or more of life to the count.

And its still there, the weight of forgiveness and unforgiveness.  And we still seek His Grace and His Mercy. We still want to receive it and offer it.  Offer it, give it–grant it.

I still need to jump off and jump in. I need Hope as a life jacket, and Grace as a buoy marking my way on this sea. And Mercy charting the maps around the rocks and the sandbars. I want nothing in the way of this path to the cross.

“The Cross was the place where God and sinful man merged with a tremendous collision and where the way to life was opened.  But all the cost and pain of the collision was absorbed by the heart of God.” — Oswald Chamber, “My Utmost For His Highest”

Lord, blow sweet and gentle winds of forgiveness into the sails of this ship. And take me into the pitch and toss of seas safely to the harbor of your Love and Grace.

Merciful hands of God, Merciful touch of God, Abundant Life-Giver God.

I thank you for your Cross.


Hallelujah Always and Anyway

MY SOUL CRIES OUT

My soul cries out  for His soothing touch, today.

I praise Him and say always, Hallelujah, this day.

Hallelujah no matter the circumstances of the day.

Worthy is the Lamb. Always every day.

His name is Holy, in the middle of my day.

Blessings and honor to Him. Today and Everyday.

How we celebrate an empty tomb and that Easter Day.

Hallelujah, always.

Amen, again and again.

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“Even in pain, you are worthy of praise” – (lyrics, Nicole C. Mullen)