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...

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Tomorrow, it's back to Seattle....home at last. But this morning, I went for a little run up Mill Creek Canyon because the camp was serving an outdoor breakfast at "Inspiration Point". The air was "cool" this morning as I ran down the path, along the stream, but I noticed then when the path ended, opening up into a field of river rock, the temperature rose by probably 1o degrees. I stopped, knelt down and felt the rocks, and realized that they, through the miracle of science, God's design (and pure mystery for music majors), have this amazing capacity to store heat and continue to radiate it long after the sun's gone down. This, of course, is the theory behind the "Russian Stove", built to pour out heat long after the fire ends....a real efficiency miracle.

This seems, as I prepare to teach on Sunday, an apt illustration of what kind of posture is necessary for us to radiate the warmth of Christ to our world. Some of us don't radiate warmth often enough because we neglect even showing up. We're like stones forever in the shade; we have heat bearing capacity, but we're not warmth on our own, needing His life as we do to radiate heat. Others of us show up, pulling the Bible out as we eat our Cheerios, reading a bit, and then closing it. But when we get up to go to work, we immediately forget what we've received. In the parable of the seed and the sower told by Jesus, this would be like the one who hears the word but immediately forgets. We're stones, touched by the sun, but quickly retreating into the shade.

It's the one who meditates, ponders, internalizes the living Word, spoken by the Holy Spirit to his/her heart that is like a rock basking in the sun. This is why Psalm 119 speaks of hiding the Word in our hearts, and Psalm 1 speaks of meditating on the Word day and night, and Deuteronomy 6 speaks of talking about the Word when you rise up and when you lie down. It's this kind of openness, pondering, reflection, that causes the Word to sink into us like the sun's heat into river rock.

When this happens, radiating heat isn't really something we try to do...rather it becomes a part of who we are.

River Rock:
Radiating Reality
Right where we live

Rock on...


At 9/8/08 07:41, Blogger Dave said...

I'm reminded, too, of John 15:1-8. Abiding in Christ, remaining connected to the vine in all of my life--sitting at his feet, surrender, listening, asking, waiting, intercession and action, trusting, resting, a moment my moment yielding...

It's not easy to do these days. Busyness is in battle with abiding, in my life.

At 10/8/08 06:17, Blogger Brent and Darlene said...

Thank you for your words, Richard. I am reminded of how I strive to do so much in my own strength and wonder why my heart grows cold.

Also, I love your book. It is so refreshing and thought provoking. Thank you for using your gift of words to bless many.

At 10/8/08 15:34, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love sharing what i have learned in church or by reading the bible,sharing what i just read to my co-workers at work, on the bus or standing in line at the food store. i have tried many times Not to forget what my Creator has done for me in this life and to share the word w/as many people as i can.
Why is it that some christians forget that We are his Light ?

i had shared the Word w/the Deli lama, Anthony Hopkins,& many others who undoubtly,probably Never it from people like me again
and i am so glad that Jesus does Love me, shows his raditating heat to me everyday.
Thanks, Michael Red Antelope

At 10/8/08 18:55, Blogger Edward said...

Thank you Richard for week 8 at Forest Home. As I sat in the front row each night with my wife Donna, I was indeed so recommitted to sharing my life with Christ, but this time forever. Your preaching on failure to return to God's story had me in tears as this was the case in my life. I do not know if you remember me, but I was the bald headed gentleman who embraced you and thanked you as you did and do speak for God. Thanks again Richard and will continue to gain knowledge and understanding through your book "O2" God Bless You Richard as you made my stay at Forest Home indeed memorable.

At 21/8/08 23:24, Blogger Kristie said...

What a beautiful picture. I think that Psalm 1:3 always reminds me of the portion of that trail where the first stream (before the larger creek) has these vibrant trees planted in the water. I think of myself and hope to try to soak my roots in His word so I'm not just a tree...but a vibrant tree. Some days are better than others I suppose...the discipline of soaking is something I am continuing towards. I love that the same trail can have 2 applications saying the same thing: "Remain in me."(John 15)

At 25/10/09 23:15, Blogger smallawei said...







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