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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Bending Into The Blue

oak park tree my fave

bending into the blue

we’re dusted up a bit
after a storm blew through
roughed us up a bit too
the days cracked open like
a meteor fell from the
heavens
akin to the Russian one
the cracks wide
like caverns of crazy
gaping
and then death marched around
this place
in twos again, but it could be three soon
we’re dusted up a bit with
death and sadness

but we bend into the light
till the ground to bury roots
not heads
hold them high
toward the light, it pierces the dark
and melts the frozen sheets of sadness
the calm after the storm
can’t come soon enough
we look for redemption to sing loud soon

we are still dusted up a bit
like we were thrown off a horse at the rodeo
bruised the tender places
like the heart and soul
more than the backside
pain wakes up the sleeping
it rocks and jolts
realigns
cold water on the face wakes up the
ones dozing off into complacency
smacks the sleeping from their slumber

we were banged up a big
surprised by the sting
rocked by the moving currents
blizzard conditions prevailed awhile
bundle up hold on hunker down
when the artic blast comes your way
put the covering on, layers and layers of
the garment he gives
the full armour

but we bend into the blue
the color of strength
IBM chose it for a reason
the meek shall inherit the earth
and these are the days leading up to
more of it, redemption
the robin’s eggs and bluebirds will deliver spring
and songs will awaken the frozen earth
praise has a way of healing the broken
Lord we are ready, the table is set

we are bending into the blue
the color of heaven
we cried to them, the celestial places
loud and long, joined by a chorus of angels
we are certain we heard their harmony
we’re made strong when weak
because heaven heard and hears
our cries
he sees the sparrow and we are seen
bruised, busted, broken, blue in spirit

bend into the blue with me
the color of grace and mercy
there is melting of the pain
when the light comes down and warms our
frozen frigid frosty souls and hearts
out of the blue
the sting of death
has lost its sting
a bit

we are bending
bowing
praising
and singing
together

into the blue

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joining emily and the imperfect prose community for some words on redemption

Food, Fellowship and Healing – Letters From The Village

mcvl sunset and tree:puddles

mcvl sunset after rain

We sat down and it all began. The flow of life, the pulsing heart beats of woman, of writer, of friend, of fellow Christ-follower. And the synchronization of all the labels and titles and banners we wear meld into perfect harmony. And we are just two souls. Hungry.

We begin a marathon of interchange. And food may be the anchor but there is a long thread which forms a tether between her vessel and mine.

We have stories that are untold. Don’t we all. Life can find you storing up more than you know when you walk out your days at a decidedly quiet pace. Hours of parenting and wiving and mothering and living can fill a soul with much to peel back. Processing is an act of revealing. Sharing a meal can set the stage for sharing a life.

And food is our anchor.

When she brought it sur table it was if a painter unveiled the master’s most recent canvas, her soul work. Or that of the chef. Art as food. Food as art. Our beautiful anchor was photo-worthy. Fried green tomatoes and shrimp from a stone’s throw away, the bounty of the sea, from the very village where she and I meet for more than nourishment for the body. On a bed of greens, the pinks and greens laid out in perfect symmetry surrounded by slices of sun-burst orange slices dancing along the rim of the plate. And diamonds of pineapple slices popping up here and there for sweet delight.

The senses are delighted and the heart follows suit.

And this could be the story of a writer’s lunch. And it was. Or this could be a story of a girl’s lunch half-way between our island home and Charleston, the holy city, the port city, the city of stories and a gourmand’s haven. The heavenly delights of that place. (I met the Patient One there back in the 80’s. You should know this important piece of my story if you read here. Writer’s sigh inserted here.)

mary margaret mcclellanville

But this is a story with chapters of mother’s at lunch breathing words of their children between and over bites of fried green tomatoes. And one with pages of writers chewing on writing and words and the passions that stir line after line on blogs and beyond. Of poetry, story, redemption and grace. 

Of poetic prose. And of dreams cast with nets that reach beyond blogging.

But I know well that the only real story which I can rightly tell is the one which is mine. The one which I live. So  I will not speak for her. She does that well daily in her exquisite voice of redemption and story, blended and baked up with perfectly timed phrases, going heavy on heart.

So I bookmark the chapters that tell of healing. And I highlight the parts which taste like restoration to the delight of my tongue. I savor that we who have come from a storm, a schism and a breaking can come in peace. That we, who found ourselves on opposite sides of a whirlwind in our church community, can break bread over the table of wholeness. No strife. No division.

Simply lovers of Christ, lovers of words and lovers of life, lovers of peace.

Building a friendship and walking around the frayed edges of the broken places. Seeing the common ground and overlooking the differences, whatever they are. 

Tasting and seeing that He is good indeed. In all seasons. That the God of our lives is a lover of relationship. That wholeness and healing are good and fill the soul with nourishment of grace and mercy. 

That the fruits of the Spirit may be the most delectable of all there is to bring to the mouth of the soul for growth in Him.

So she and I hug and part ways and promise to do this more often. We lose track of time and lose track of more than that. All that division. And we focus on the hungry parts of all woman, the need for friendship, relationship. A longing for a listening ear and a shared understanding of the joy and the struggles of this messy living.

And we plan to come around the anchor again. The one that keeps us decidedly in community. See clearly that need to break bread, to feast on fellowship. To heal relationships.

The anchor of love.

wall of windows when love is hard

Joining Jennifer Dukes Lee  and Emily Wierenga today. The community of writers at Imperfect Prose of Thursday’s is writing on the word prompt, food.

Joy – Letters From The Village

joy boat leland

(In this Lenten series, Letters From The Village, I am speaking out from the heart with my strugling voice, through a fading art form. Letter writing. Because? Why? There is a lovely intimacy between reader and writer which rests in the lines of a letter. Break the seal, open the thin glue lined envelope, pull the paper from its home in the nestled space and read.)

Dear Sad You,

Hold on tight to the Lover of Your Soul in these dark times. When much seems bleak and  the world is cloaked in hurt and you wear a heavy coat of confusion, cling and grasp your God. His very hand.

And if these times were not ,would you hold on tight like the barnacles on boat bottom, hull hold fast? Do you embrace hard, white-nuckle in need and cling as the Confederate Jasmine to the lamppost when all is calm?

This place of self-sufficient stillness leaves you untethered in pride and independence, one step away or farther from your Christ.

If not for the whirling times, the turbulent stirrings in your world would you rest assured, rest alone, one step away from the Comforter.

Dear sad one, it is hard, so hard to see in this fog of war, a war in your very world. But throw your life-line to the One who calms the seas and guards your boat and loves you with unfailing love. And know that Joy comes in the morning.

Grab hold in love. Squeeze tight the line. And put on the lens of faith. That on the other side is recovery from the squalls and lessons learned in rocky times. And the same God, unchanging, always loving, remains before the storm, through the storm, and on the other side.

Look through the lens of faith and trust. Look through the lens of faith and know.

Look ahead assuredly with a knowing. Joy comes in the morning. Read the unchartered places as chartered. Steer ahead in confidence and faith. Waver not. Worry not.

And begin to set the table of celebration during the pitch and toss of your vessel. Because when the waters calm and the swells die out, you will throw a party in your soul and celebrate what you now know anew.  You will glean the glory from the storm. And what is evident in the light will bring you closer to the Protector.

Sad one, celebration longs to throw her confetti high and colorful in the air. Where the winds of change can carry it away in joyous currents of rightful praise.

It will  sail away on the winds of sweet release.

And Joy will come and the Light will be radiant, blinding even. On the other side of the storm. The blinding blue sky hovers over the horizon of doubt and gloom.

Welcome Joy as she waits to reclaim her rightful place.

And rest in and on the safe place. Hover under the Protector’s coverage, safe and dry. Warm and loved.

Then tell. Speak of Him who brought you through.

Dear broken heart put on the lens of faith and wipe the fog from your shattered view. Restoration of the broken and recovery from the wreckage wait in love, right round the next turn.

Joy is sweeter, so much sweeter after the winds have whipped your ship and tangled your heart in the messy. After your time up on the rocky hard places, sip from the cup of Joy.

And the mystery of this is just that. The Joy tastes sweeter  after the choppy trip through rough times.

Then rest. Know He is good, your God.  And thank. Savor and see. That He is good. So good, sweet one.

Your Joy has come in the morning. Sing a song of praise.

be still know thank

joining Emily, Ann, and Jennifer