Monday, March 2, 2015

Broken Hallelujahs

More often than not, I am on the verge of tears these days. They are the tears of compassion. Compassion for others, for humanity, for man’s inhumanity, for the world’s state of crisis.

Twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians beheaded by ISIS – in the year 2015, how can this happen? Where is the world outcry?

I find that when journaling my devotional thoughts I am also doodling. They are weeds. 
Specifically dandelions that have gone to fluff. We do not have dandelions in the Southwest the way we had them in the Midwest.

When my children were young, we would pluck the yellow dandelions and hold them under each other’s chin to see if it reflected. If it did, it meant we liked butter. I still like butter!

Later, when they turned to fluff, we pulled the heads off – a symbolic beheading – and would blow them into the wind with a wish. One head, thousand of seeds sent to germinate.

Will the martyred Coptic Christian heads symbolically germinate? Deeply within our hearts? Will the seeds of revival take root?

When we lived on the farm, I gardened. We grew beans, tomatoes, corn, bell peppers. I had herb gardens that grew lovely chamomile, sage, parsley, and thyme. The flower beds were a delight and I miss the peonies, even with all the ants they attracted.

Our son was nine and came into the kitchen to show me his latest find. It was a snake. A garter snake. I screamed, I ranted, I raved until he took it outside. He returned with a rather smug attitude knowing he had bested me.

Then, in all his nine-year-old wisdom, he started talking to me about the garden. He told me there were weeds popping up and I needed to take care of them. “Weeds,” he said, “are like sin. You need to care for them when they are small, before they take root.”

Who was this small child telling me about sin? Why was it hitting my heart dead on? Where had he learned this?

As I recall this I think how now as an adult he denies there is a God. How can this be, I wonder… Again I find myself at the foot of the cross praying for him by name.

My mind wanders and I think of those who had a hand in the beheading of the Egyptian Coptic Christians. They were once infants, suckling at their mothers’ breast, the beloved sons… who grew to be terrorists. How can this be, I wonder

God! God, how am I to pray? But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44). Really? Lord? You want me to pray for the terrorists, not just for the situation, or for those whose lives have been cut short at the hand of the terrorists?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

That’s a very tall order, Lord! Indeed. A very tall order. Is this a step towards sanctification? Is it a test? Lately I wonder about all sorts of things. In the background Matt Redman’s 10,000 Reasons plays… Bless the Lord, O my soul.

I was blessed in the past two days to have shared three communions. Not that I seek Holy Communion as a means of holiness, but that it is my act of remembrance, my act of acknowledging the resurrection and the hope we have. This was an Emmaus Walk weekend and I participated in two open services that offered the broken bread and the cup. Sunday we were asked to assist with passing out the elements during our church services. I am always, always humbled to serve in this capacity.

I believe our lives should be lived as Eucharist Theology. Our hearts, like the bread are made to be broken and yet loved in all that brokenness. We should live our lives as the spilled wine, allowing ourselves and our lives to overflow, spill out and come into contact with those who desperately are thirsting.

Yes… brokenness… it is the Lenten season and I am filled with broken hallelujahs.

Even so. Amen.

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