I See You.

Here, now, across that church foyer, that social gathering:

I see you.

I see how you struggle to fit, the way you shrink or expand depending on the audience.

I see you tying that legalism noose of religion tight on your neck, hanging yourself on the belief that nothing that looks like passion can be part of Gods plan.

I see you there. You with your cup full, wondering why you don’t get to see God making water into wine. Funny how that happens when our malt is overflowing.

I see you, the way you want to please. I see the way you care more about what people think than what is right.

I know because I’ve been you. In the space of one day I’ve been called an oppressive conservative and a raging liberal. I’ve had grown women hide their cigarettes from me, grown men question my intent.

I’ve seen you pulled along these ragged rocks too, the expectation of man. The here and now that shifts like tide, changes like a runway.

And it isn’t just the church you know.

I’ve been called an academic fraud and an intellectual in the same day.

An athlete and a sluggard.

A feminist and a submissive.

A good mom or that my kids ‘run-amuck’.

An environmentalist and a ‘ozone hole producer’.

The atheist might preach the loudest you know? They seem to have a lot to prove to themselves and the world. That says something. All those who preach with themes are struggling. This I know.

Sometimes the most virulent voices are the weakest of faith. I know. I’ve been that.

Those of us that like to live out the question…relish the exploration…we are most prone to grace-less religion when a question demands black and white. Trust me. This is an answer I can give with authority.

So here, now. I want you to know I measure my heart to the standards that don’t change.

Today. I ask for insight from those that lead me.

In this moment, I want feedback from those who I love fiercest.

The rest? With voices that chorus around us? I will hear you.

And my heart will take in the messages that are truth. Those that bring me to my knees and remind me that perhaps, my actions look different from my intent. That… my values are not seen clearly. The things that ring clear with the Truth teller…those I will hear.

But.
Otherwise? Your voice will not paralyze me. I will not cower at your vitriol.

Here now. I hang my coat with the One who sees me rightly. The One I can trust.

Linking with friends this week.

Emily, Ann, Jen, Laura, Lisa-Jo & Jennifer

There You Are

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There I am,

Throwing palm fronds like a ticker tape parade.

I like the party Jesus, when the going is easy, when the church celebrates.

I will throw down my cloak with the best of them. Let me plan the event, invite the guests.

There I am,

Kissing your cheek, though the swords are drawn and I know it.

Still though, I exchange all your promises for a bag of gold, treasure in this day.

I like the excesses Jesus. Seems there is a lot I will do to satisfy this flesh.

There I am,

Among the religious elite.

Staking claims, calling out the weak, neglecting mercy.

Tell me then who struck you down Christ? Who spit in Your face?

There I am,

Listening to the rooster squawking in the distance.

It sings a song I recognize, for all my words, still I can turn my back on You.

I’m all yours when the road is smooth, just don’t ask me to suffer, to join in your sacrifice.

There I am,

My damp hair on Your feet.

This unfaithful heart, so prone to wander,

To forget and neglect all Your most reckless blessings.

There I am,

The doubter demanding proof.

Give me the three-month recidivism rates on your miracles,

Watch me jab my filthy fingers into the gaping holes in Your hands. 

There I am,

Standing with the mockers,

Those who claim the empire and protect her against all odds.

I let their voice ring loudest, above your pained cry, I wash my hands of it.

There YOU are.

The garden is growing up around You,

The cup heavy in Your hand,  You drink it to the last drop.

You watch me the whole time. I have to look away.

Despite my magnificent failures.

Despite my betrayals and weakness.

Despite all of the ways I try to claim both kingdom come and empire now.

Still.

There

You 

Are.

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Linking with friends this Holy Week.

Emily, Ann, Jen, Laura & Jennifer