Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘the way’

cornerstone[Peter said] “. . . then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’” [Acts 4:10-11, NIV]

This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.

The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone; . . . [Psalm 118:20-22, NIV]

gateOriginally, a cornerstone was foundational to the construction of a building because all other stones would be laid out in reference to it. Later, this stone became more ceremonial with inscriptions and time capsules and the like. I am sure that both Peter and the Old Testament writers were referencing the Messiah as a cornerstone to the faith in its most traditional sense. For the disciples, Jesus was the cornerstone for something very new upon which believers would build a church–a force of change. For the psalmist, the prediction would be that the One Messiah would be rejected (unrecognized for his assigned role to humanity) and despite being a way to God, the way would be closed. And yet, despite rejection, the foundational stone would remain and the “building” would grow.

We are living the outcome, for good and for ill. The “house” is still standing, rooted and grounded by the cornerstone. And inexplicably, this structure is also a gate. As soon as anyone links up with the cornerstone, that person becomes a “gate” for the next person to enter, to connect.

holdinghandsIt’s a strange metaphor when combined, and yet, I get it. In this picture, the gates (the people) are transparent but linked up. We are transparent because we want people to be able to see inside, to behold the glory as it were, the spark and flame of life.

Jesus, the cornerstone of the Church as it was meant to be. Jesus, the cornerstone of my life as it is meant to be as well. Come in. The way is open; the gate is open.

Read Full Post »

Well, it’s just this simple. Whatever it might mean for you or any other, I cannot really know. But when I say this well-worn verse, I understand it quite subjectively for myself because it is to this truth I literally surrendered when I prayed that “sinner’s prayer” so long ago and asked that Jesus become my personal savior, my atonement and my redemption, my portal to the God of the Universe.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. [Galatians 2:2]

It’s a contract of sorts because I gave permission to a spirit being, a very specific Spirit Being, to indwell within me. According to that contract, I also agreed, in theory at least, to give over authority to that Spirit, a right that Person actually earned through a blood covenant, the shedding of blood, which has been a symbol of agreement throughout the centuries of humankind. Interesting too, that this bloodletting was done preemptively, before I was even born. Impossible? Perhaps. But this I believe.

However, I am constantly meddling with the authority of this Presence: arguing and negotiating, ignoring and placating, lying and withholding. In essence, I spend a lot of time pulling on the threads of our contract and it’s only by sheer grace that I have not torn the thing to pieces.

And because I know these things about myself, I must often regroup, reconnect, recommit myself to that deal I made over thirty years ago. It’s shameful really, but true. Thanks be to God, there’s been a contingency plan for every misstep I have made.

path crookedToday, I was walking a path I have walked many times but for the first time, I was walking it in reverse. I assume it’s for this reason I had never noticed that moment in the path where it looked like it came to a dead end. It was just a sharp right turn, but as I approached it, my brain didn’t compute that logic. Instead, I stopped in my tracks, pondering how it could be that the path would end. I hadn’t really reached that point yet, but I stopped anyway, thinking I might have to turn back. How often have I done this in life? How often have I assumed something was at the end, when the way was still there, I just couldn’t see it. The calm of knowing and trusting in that “other way,” comes from within, comes from the Presence of the Holy Spirit, who is more than willing to direct me. It is in this way, that I understood my foolishness yet again.

And it is in this small lesson that I remind myself to trust my God and the Holy Spirit yet again.

Read Full Post »

tardisFor those of you who have never watched Dr. Who (is that possible after all these years?), the Tardis is a time machine/spacecraft that looks like an old British police box. One of the coolest things about the Tardis is that defies dimensionality: when you enter it, it is huge on the inside, despite its appearance on the outside. And so I imagine the “new heaven and new earth” in the book of Revelation.

I looked again and could hardly believe my eyes. Everything above me was new. Everything below me was new. Everything around me was new because the heaven and earth that had been passed away, and the sea was gone, completely. . . .A Voice said: See, the home of God is with His people. He will live among them; They will be His people,And God Himself will be with them. [Revelation 21: 1, 3, the Voice translation]

You see, somehow it made sense to me all at once today. We keep wanting to imagine all of this externally, the clouds rolling away and a gigantic new Jerusalemcube (New Jerusalem) coming in from outer space (based on some other descriptive passages). But I saw something else; I “saw” the expansion of all that is within me becoming this new home. I saw the kingdom within and saw that all is possible because it’s a world where there are no dimensions at all. It’s Human new: it’s Human with God, in God, and vice versa. It is God’s home.

And we will know God then in a way we cannot know God today. We will be changed.

Oh, how I wish I could be less restrained by my three-dimensional world. I name everything. I ground myself daily. I am entrenched. And so, I judge my world and the people in it. And each time I do, I am less free.

The life within, the relationship with Spirit within: in there is the light switch to a different way of living and seeing the world. If only . . .

Inside is the time machine and the Way.

Read Full Post »

another-way“This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick . . . “ [Isaiah 43:16-17.

Whether you believe or not that God actually divided the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to walk through unharmed while destroying the Egyptian army that followed after them [Exodus 14], there is a message here for all of us.

It is God who makes the way in the midst of trials or darkness. It may not be the path we want to take; it may not be the most obvious path; it may feel dangerous. But God’s way is still the best way.

Of course, we can always argue with God if we disagree with the direction. But then, there are repercussions, a chain reaction if you will, when we choose another way. And, for a season, circumstances may seem dire. It’s important to see the situation for what it is. Change cannot happen without truth.

I wish I could figure these things out while they are happening instead of in hindsight. I look back, and say, “Oh, you meant for me to go that way!” Like Homer Simpson: “Doh!”

You see, because I am so friggin’ capable, I am quick to analyze the paths ahead and I often take the one that seems best to me (not necessarily best FOR me). And as I’m going along, I suddenly get this feeling,  this overwhelming sense that I have blown it, again. It is in this moment of recognition that I must stay for a season. In order to see clearly, I must live in it (not deny it). And then, God shows up. More than likely, I will never find my way back to the original way God intended, but another way is revealed. God is full of back doors. And I am grateful.

So, I just want to encourage others: even when we blow it, God doesn’t give up on us. There is no mistake or sin that God cannot rectify or redeem. I believe this wholeheartedly. I have to. Otherwise, life would indeed overwhelm me.

Read Full Post »

Book by Sheena Iyengar

Here is the duality of living and walking the faith: first there is the inner journey, bringing the life within into the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit; then, secondly, the outer journey, walking out the behaviors of the Way and choosing to “do good.”

Titus 2:6-7a
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. . . .

I wish this dual walk was more linear. You know, get the inner life in order and only then, venture out into the world. But it’s not like that. We must live in both worlds at the same time and apply what is learned within along the way. I suppose the ideal is reaching a point when the inner and outer lives are meshed into one and they operate seamlessly. Good is no longer a choice but a state of being. God is good.

Instead, I must remain conscious and aware; I must choose to be good.

The other day, I went to the optician to order new glasses after several years of wearing the same frames. To be honest, the idea of changing my appearance so drastically was a little daunting. I even thought about bringing a friend or one of my teenagers to help me pick out the frames. But then, I knew, if I did that, I would muddy the waters of my decision-making. Fortunately, I had the best optician. He helped me pick a small group of frames, six or so. Then, I sat down and he presented me with two. Between those two, I had to choose one. And so forth, from one pair of choices to the next. It was hard but doable.

And then it occurred to me this morning that “doing good” is very similar. I can’t make a global choice to do good, but as my day unveils, I can handle choosing between two possibilities.

Our culture overwhelms us with the cereal aisle of choices and it’s difficult to know which way and which one. Many in the current generation of teens and twenty-somethings are frozen by the panorama of options. They live in a country where anything is possible, or at least, this is what they have been taught. But they haven’t been taught how to choose along the way.

I am no better. Historically, I have been a “Jill of all trades” and the master of none.

Today, I will bring the array down to a manageable level. And as I look at those choices today, I will ask myself, which one is good.

Read Full Post »

A prayer and a blessing all rolled up into one. It’s a call for guidance and help along the way. It’s a process prayer in the midst of a situation. It’s acknowledging the present while seeking support in the “next step.” And along with this succor comes the presence of love and perseverance.

II Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

I want this prayer to be part of my daily mindfulness.

Another reason I like this prayer is that it’s direct and promises an answer from within myself, an answer that I am more likely to understand and hear. So often believers are taught to ask God what to do next. But in this short appeal, we acknowledge that all direction comes from God and will manifest in me.

If God directs my heart, I will know what to do. I will recognize the way.

Read Full Post »

I don’t want to sound like Master Po from the popular television show, Kung Fu by saying, “Grasshopper, wisdom is the highest level of understanding.” And then a chime dings. But maybe, just maybe, wisdom is just another word for character or plain authenticity?

Ephesians 5:15-16
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

For me, it’s still a challenge to live wisely: I have thought about wisdom for a long time. I even had a bible study group for a time, seeking wisdom, studying the words of wisdom, and the promises from operating in wisdom.

I’m putting the cart before the horse, as they say. Wisdom, or character, evolve as a by-product from our individual days and choices. There are no wise children. Their life experiences are not fully formed.

And yet, it’s not about the age of a person. It is our responses to life, to people, to God, that grows wisdom.

I’ve become so caught up in Solomon’s request for wisdom [I Kings 3:1-28] and the scriptures that encourage me to “ask” for wisdom [James 1:5], that I keep thinking of it as an anointing. If I ask, God will answer and wisdom will drop onto me like a mantle.

In verse 18b of this chapter in Ephesians, Paul says, “. . . be filled with the Spirit.” This is more likely the true foundation of all things wise.

Potentially, anyone can have wisdom from life’s challenges, sorrows, and successes. This kind of wisdom is rooted in the mind. But God’s way of wisdom involves the Spirit. And when Paul speaks of making the most of every opportunity, it’s about our relationship with Spirit. Historically, I have thought about being filled with the Holy Spirit as a “swooshy” kind of thing. I had that initial experience as a young Christian and I know it does happen. It’s a kind of anointing, an empowering presence, a wind.

But, Paul is talking about a different kind of filling here. I believe it’s part of this journey of the inner way, keeping all avenues open by avoiding those things, situations, and people that block the light and draw veils over the soul.

Most people know the proverb passage that says, “The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. . . ” [Proverbs 9:10] but we sometimes forget that this word for fear is closer to reverence than anything else. And where and when do we experience true reverence for God?

Photo by Irm Brown

In my mind, the desire for “places of reverence” encouraged the initial designs of beautiful churches and cathedrals. Intentionally, they were created as places where people could feel awed almost immediately. I can appreciate this reasoning today so much better than I could before. Our contemporary churches have lost this aspect of the worship experience.

In that first study group, I asked them, where do you experience that kind of reverence or fear of God? Their answers were varied but clearly, their answers were all choices to be in those places, with those things or people, and there we are filled with the Spirit.

What conscious choice can I make today to enter the wise way, to be in a place of reverence?

(FD6)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: