Thursday, September 25, 2008

i am a tree

My good friend Jeremiah introduced me to a beautiful song, ‘How He Loves Us.’ You should watch the video on his blog and read his post about it. (Disclaimer: In about 2 and a half weeks this song will probably be huge and possible overexposed, and I’m gonna look like a dork for writing about it. But as my older brother Kris would say, ‘Oh well.’)

What strikes me about the song is the creative language and imagery used to describe the utterly indescribable love of the Father. The beauty is not only in the writing, but in the truth that the writing is somehow able to capture. Lines like ‘If grace is an ocean, we are all sinking.’ And the first verse which says, ‘He is jealous for me. Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.’

Last weekend I took a quick trip down to North Carolina’s Outer Banks to visit my grandma on Harkers Island. With this song still ringing in my heart, I noticed something. I noticed the trees.

The trees on Harkers Island are flat out mangled. They are twisted and bent and often the branches look like they are all leaning in one direction instead of sprawling outward in different directions from the trunk. Like many coastal communities, HI has experienced the blunt power of hurricane force winds barreling up the coastline. Long after the gusts have died down, and the boards are taken off of the windows, and the gas prices return from their astro-adventure into the outer reaches of the earth’s atmosphere, certain signs stay behind. The trees still bear the marks…proof of the pathway of a violent storm… forever bent beneath the weight of the wind.

He loves like a hurricane. I am a tree. I am mangled up and twisted by the sheer force of unbridled Grace. Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy, until I am utterly reshaped, unable to return to the stately posture I once held, when I once held my ground.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Last Sunday our friend Maggie invited me to preach at an outdoor worship service she started called Green Chapel. She asked me to share on ‘hope for today.’ Luke 4:14-21 was the passage of focus, zooming in on these mind-bending words of Jesus: “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The following is a collection of thoughts taken from the message.

‘Hope is a seed in the ground waiting for the harvest.’

‘Hope is heavy with expectation, a word weighed down with beauty and confidence.’

‘Hope is most often associated with a day far off…as yet unfulfilled…situated firmly in the future. But Jesus takes what is far off, what is future, and drags it into the present.’

‘Yes, we look forward to going to heaven. But we must remember that heaven has already come to us. Hope is not there and then, but here and now. It is not out there. It is in you.’

‘That’s the thing about hope. It is restless. And it refuses to stay politely put. It first takes root in our deepest places until swelling up and spilling out into every corner of our lives and every corner of our world.’

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Monday, September 01, 2008

fac et spera

While in Charleston this summer, we stepped into a cool little antique shop. You know, the kind of the place that is so high end that you instantly discover you have no right to even make direct eye contact with any of the furniture, much less look at the price tag and pretend you aren’t calculating how many months’ worth of rent that armoire would set you back. But it’s too late now, because you are already inside, and the awkwardness of having the shop owner look upon you with disgust is slightly better than immediately admitting defeat, apologizing for the mistake and backing out the door. Yeah. That kind of place.

At the front of the shop sat a sculpture that caught my eye. It was a young man with a bag of seeds slung over his shoulder. His arm was stretched out and reaching back, as if he were sowing the seeds, flinging them out over the soil. On the base was an inscription: FAC ET SPERA.

The shop owner saw me eyeing the piece and walked over. Surprisingly, she didn’t ask me to leave. Instead, she smiled and warmly explained, “Work and Hope.”

FAC ET SPERA: Work and Hope. What a fitting inscription. The seed is sown and watered by the sweat of the planter’s brow. But the harvest is out of his hands.

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