Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A full day - in the heart

Some days there seems to be this convergence of revelation, where Christ breaks into life at every turn. Yesterday was one such day. In the morning, during a time of reading and Yoga (don’t worry – you can follow Christ and stretch your hamstrings too), I was touched by the hint of fall in the air, enjoying an early morning crispness that I hadn’t felt in a while. Such beauty! I spent some time reading Narcissus and Goldmund, and towards the close of the book the questions of good and evil, suffering and healing, death and life come to the forefront. Goldmund nearly explodes as his sensitive heart makes him vulnerable to both beauty and suffering, and he struggles to live with the contradictions of it all. I’m sitting reading this in our young forest of a backyard, mindful that only two miles away there are children living in motels that most people who read this wouldn’t let their pets stay in, and that poverty, and hunger, and crime, and drugs converge to create a tempest of human suffering. The beauty of God’s creation, the tragedy of man’s; the beauty of intimacy, the darkness of isolation; the joy of simply enough, the fear of want – it’s all here and we need to live with honestly with all of it.

Then I go to west Seattle to perform an outdoor wedding for some good friends, and I’m struck by their hope and love, and I charge them, in Jesus name, to give meaning and depth to words like commitment, sacrifice, celebration, service, beauty. They need to do this because words are being so abused in our age. They will give meaning to these words… I believe it. And just because of who they are, their sphere of influence will go beyond familiar circles, spreading out into God only knows where, and there they will be a blessing. The party after the wedding was more of the same – beauty and hope and celebration. It was as if God was hosting a party to celebrate His gifts of love, and invited broken people like me to be there. I was overwhelmed.

And so it was a day of profound reminders that our fallen hearts still have places in them that ache for joy and intimacy, that we still have the capacity to know love and celebration, even in the midst of suffering. And it was only a ‘day off’. I wonder what tomorrow will bring, as I return to regular teaching ministry after a summer of so many other things?



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