Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So, it's settled then...

It sounds kind of final.
Sometimes I'm good with final.
Other times I'm really not.
Every now and then,
it ironically makes me feel completely un-settled.

Settled reminds me of coffee grinds
in the bottom of my cup
and how that means that I won't get them stuck between my teeth.

It sounds like an arguement that's over.
Or a decision that's been made.
It sounds like the pioneers
(or the people of Catan :) )
going into unchartered territory
and making a place for themselves.
A place to call home.
And home is a good thing.

Settled can be kind of a dangerous word, though,
when it makes us feel too safe,
too unwilling to step out of our comfort zones,
too afraid to stand on a desk for our "Captain",
or to forget that it's not about what we don't feel capable of
but rather of what we believe
that God is capable of.

Let it not be, "Oh you of little faith,"
but rather,
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine..."

May we feel settled enough in the grace of God
to be open to
and even to invite
some un-settling within;
evidence of His Spirit
taking up a settlement in our lives.

And most fittingly,
following a settlement
ought to come a bit of development.
An ore, a sheep, and a wheat anyone?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

And on that note one more time...

Three posts in one day.
God must be trying to teach me some things.

I heard "hang in there" in two different contexts today.

The first left me feeling hopeless
as the response given to me when I offered those words
was disheartening and non-committal.

The second didn't leave me feeling much better, to be honest,
but more because of the way I responded to them.
The words were spoken to me
and I answered with my self-pitying acknowledgement
of how that seems to be one of those gifts that I have,
but sometimes wish I didn't.

Until I went about "hanging in there"
and realizing how it's not really me who "hangs in there".
I opened my phone on the way home from the second conversation to check the time.
And noticed the verse that I never notice on my display screen:
Ps. 29:11 -- which says, "The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace."

I am not a rock.
I can "hang in there" because God gives me the strength to do so.
Not because I am strong and immovable.

One more quote for today.
This time really, truly in the spirit of it being Thanksgiving.
It comes from a song by Caedmon's Call
and it goes like this:

"I am thankful, that I'm incapable of doing any good on my own."

It's in His hands.
He surprises me often
and provides for needs I didn't know I had.
They're good hands to be in.
And I think the second "hang in there" had more to do
with trusting those promises and His provisions to be true.

Monday, October 09, 2006

On that note...

On that note of community,
I would like to share the simple joy
of sitting at a table in Tim Hortons
with good friends
eating donuts
and drinking hot beverages.
Although I love the drive-thru
and I really do
there's something delightful about
sharing Tim's with friends
and not just enjoying it on my own.

An Island Chain...

So perhaps the fact that it's Thanksgiving - a time when a person is inclined to be with family, or "family" as it were,
(thanks for so many dinner invites, "family") -
and that a large number of people have asked me in the last 3 weeks how I feel about living in Winnipeg,
and the fact that the youth want to have our Sunday morning worship time on the island at the cabin,
I have done some thinking about this "island" vs. community business.

First, a thought from "About a Boy"...

"In my opinion, all [people] are islands. And what's more, now's the time to be one. This is an island age."

And a thought from Simon and Garfunkel...

"I am a rock
I am an island
I've built walls
A fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain
...If I never loved I never would have cried
...I touch no one and no one touches me
...I am a rock
I am an island
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries"

That thought of being an island.
A self-sufficient being that is capable of existing alone.
Of not hurting.
Or having emotion.
Funny how it's not really possible.
Sometimes we pretend that it is.
And some of us pretend pretty well.
But deep down,
sometimes really deep,
I (and I hope "we")
know that it isn't possible.
Made in the image of God means we hurt
and have emotions
and need both to love and to be loved.

There are truths in my life that could have scripted that song from Simon and Garfunkel.
And truths in my life that put me and Will from "About a Boy" on a very similar page.
And yet other truths that make "community" a word that my students get sick of hearing by the 2nd week of school.
And that get people wishing they hadn't asked why I loved Dordt so much.

And that, perhaps, is what draws my attention to how incredibly I wrestle with these concepts on a very regular basis.
It's a conflict between who I'm called to be, the things that have shaped who I am, and the admission that being a "rock" is not always something to be so proud of.

God reminds me of these things often.
I am convinced it's not simply a coincidence.

And it brings me to a few other thoughts from "About a Boy"...

"Suddenly I realized - two people isn't enough. You need backup. If you're only two people, and someone drops off the edge, then you're on your own. Two isn't a large enough number. You need three at least."

"Every [person] is an island. I stand by that. But clearly some [people] are island CHAINS. Underneath, they are connected..."

We've been created for community.
It looks different
on different days
and with different people.
But the truth is that it's who we've been created to be.
And as much as we may try
We can only avoid the reality of it for so long.

I might still be a rock.
Or mostly a rock.
But here's to being an archipelago.

Monday, October 02, 2006

God asks...

What do you do when God asks you a question?
Or maybe someone else asks you a question,
but deep down,
you know that God has allowed the question to be asked.

How much of you
answers the question?
How much of God
answers the question?
How much of you is aware
of how God is at work in your life?

If it's me,
I am forced to think a little.
Reflect a little
And get back into the heart of me.
It's not always an easy process.
It makes me aware of the masks that I put on
for others
but even for myself.
I have to ask what I really need.
And what I really want.
And if what I really want
Is what God really wants.

And it's enough to make a person nauseous.
Me, anyways.

And I have to be reminded
that God's hands are big enough to hold me.
And that His peace is very real
if I slow my mind down enough
to make room for Him to place it in my heart.

And a part of it has to come back to being simple.
Knowing what God wants isn't always an easy answer.
But what He needs
is a different story:
What He asks of me
is to give Him a willing heart
a humble heart
and to trust that He will walk along-side me
wherever and whenever
all those other little details
come together.