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...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Waking Up is Hard to do....

“Arise, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Chris shall give you light.” These are words from an ancient morning hymn, open to vast arrays of interpretation. A new slant came to it for me on Tuesday:

The sun had been in hiding for a month. I basically hadn’t been out my own front door in more than three days because of the flu. I was much better, but still in recovery. Work was overwhelming, not because of any one thing, but because of dozens of little things, each of them draining my spirit a little bit, making me weary. Somehow the convergence of all of this was sucking the life force from me. Motivation? Lost. Enthusiasm? Absent Hope? Evaporating.

Then on Tuesday, the strangest thing happened. The sun came out. Like a distant relative who only shows up for funerals and weddings, I knew I’d seen that ball in the sky before – knew the color blue was a familiar friend, but couldn’t place the last time we’d met. Having work to do, I shut the drapes; easier to focus.

But by late in the afternoon, the petty discouragements had piled so high that I fled into the outdoors, running shoes on, and sought to join the living again. It was a different city than the one I remember when I fled to my cave with the flu last Thursday night. The whole place had woken up. I made my to the lake near our house, where I usually run, but I was still weak, moving slower and slower until I finally stopped. Stopped.

I don’t know if it was the virus afterburners still in my body, or the sheer beauty of the moment – probably the former. But when I stopped, and looked, and saw – heron, ducks, trees in dormancy that I knew would soon return to life – everything changed. I couldn't move - couldn't run - couldn't walk. As I gazed through a tree out on to the water, inhaling the beauty with all my senses I couldn't move. One the way home I stopped and watched the sun set, and then met two friends on their bikes before returning to the cave – e-mails to answer – a phone meeting.

I can’t explain anything. There’s no direct cause and effect relationship between being out there and knowing soul healing and refreshment. Or is there? I think that's the meaning of the ancient hymn. Wake Up! Open your eyes. Absorb the sermon that's going on around you - in the wind and the rain, the sun and wildlife, your children, your coffee, your breathing. Let the sermon HE is preaching fill you. And Christ will give you light. I hadn’t been waking up lately – showing up for work, and family, and bill paying? O Yes – showing up. But not waking up. It’s the waking up that’s needed if we’re to receive the light from Christ that heals.

The rain is back tonight – and the weatherman says it’s ‘here to stay’. Lovely. Really. I'm not kidding. But I’m not going to sleep through it any more.


PS - the podcast of my teaching on homosexuality is available here - if you live in Seattle and read the news, you'll know why I'm posting it.


At 26/1/06 20:45, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's beautiful to see that God never stops loving us, it's just that we need to perceive His love in the world around us.

At 26/1/06 22:12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the podcast - I wasn't acquainted with Bethany in the summer when you preached it, so this is my first time hearing it. It is the best I have ever heard on the subject.


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