Saturday, April 18, 2015


You know, next week, all my family will get together: my kids, grandkids, all of us; at Ariel's birthday party, up in Marion. As you might guess, with 6 kids and 10 grangkids, we do this often, on a regular basis. And, of course, it's always more than just a party; there's always a meal; alot of horseplay; and then we settle back in to enjoy each other and talk. We talk of kids, we talk of plans, we talk of events; but always, the talk returns to memories; for memories are how we relate and hold on to each other, as we grow and separate into our own lives, and individualities. Memories are what bind us together, as a family, and as a people.

We all tell the old stories; we laugh, we share, we pass them on, by sharing them with the grandkids. There are old stories from past generations, stories of joy and wonder, stories of pain, and there are new stories told; but it is not really stories that we are exchanging, we are giving and accepting the memories and times that make us who we are. And in this exchange, we are re-bonding; re-discovering; and re-igniting our love for each other; not only as a group, but as individuals. We love each other, because we know, and share lives with each other.

Memories are the proof of a life lived and walked out together.......they build the bonds and the substance of life itself.......they are our secret repository; our secret place, if you will, that both defines and expresses who we are.

Our Lord, during His life, on that last day, in those last hours, at that last supper; throughout His walk with them; gave the disciples memories. A night of prayer; the soldiers after dark; a life surrendered; a woman at the well; a healing at the pool; something to eat; something to drink: reminders of Him. Can you imagine those disciples, for all the rest of their lives, every time they shared their story.......spoke of our Lord.......ate a meal; those memories.......the memories of a life, and times together, came flooding back over them. They remembered that last meal together before His crucifixion. They remembered His washing their feet that night, they remembered His miracles, His teaching, His instruction, His promises, His death, His resurrection, and ascension ....... and so much more. Yet, there were other memories present as well: memories of failure pardoned; memories of sin forgiven; memories of a fall, restored. And these were passed on as well, empowered by the Spirit of God, to be emblazoned upon the heart of every lamb.

Come on now; look within yourself; do you not feel, can you not see these living memories within you? Have you not lived them out in your own lives? The wonder.......the joy.......the pain?

It is meant to be so, my friends, for our Lord, Himself knew that we would never properly value redeeming love, atoning blood, justifying righteousness, until we have walked the walk under the dominion of the enemy. Until the iron has entered our very soul, until the cuffs have bound and galled our wrists, and we can see our bleeding wounds, we would never truly feel our need of, or really even value the redemption that He has accomplished. 

Those who do not posses these living memories within themselves, know nothing of their own heart. We must be always reminded, see the memories, and know that we have no strength of our own. And thus.......our sins.......our falls.......instead of weights around our neck; become stepping stones into His living grace. They teach us our weakness, and by teaching us of these things; they lead us  into Christ's strength.

As, then, we learn our weakness; we begin to grow in His strength. Despairing of all strength in ourselves, we look to our Lord. It is only as we thus receive strength out of His fullness that we are made strong.......strong to believe.......strong to hope.......strong to love.......strong to fight; and persevere.......strong to walk with Him.  

I have walked with God for more than forty years; and yet I feel now weaker than ever. I am, in fact, all weakness. Though I have taught uncounted lesson on the Word of God; I have no power to open up any part of God's truth with utterance, liberty, life, or feeling. I stand with you this moment, as I stand before God: depending wholly upon His strength being made perfect in my weakness. If I have learned anything in all these years, it is that this secret place is not in the destination; it is in the walk.......a walk that builds within us an intimacy with Him that is shared and lived through the course of all of our everyday everyday walk of unbroken communion in the secret places of our lives with our Lord.

The secret place is where we develop a walking relationship with God. Hidden in the secret place, we learn of Him, and we find out what pleases Him. Our inner chamber with Him becomes our training ground for a life that is rooted and grounded in relationship.......and relationship begins with communication; listening; speaking.......prayer.

Prayer, is relationship with God, at its most fundamental level.......this living, breathing bond with God brings the ability to savor life in all its pain, and wonder, to encompass the experiences, and see into God, at the heart of it all.

The initial movement in prayer is from God, who invites us, His chosen, into these foundational experiences of joy that focus our attention on Him.......and on our reason for being.......We need to recall and savor these memories of joy so that we will want to pursue this intimate walk; and through this quiet walk of prayer, take the time to notice the movements of the heart, in response to the questions that trouble us so.

A life in prayer is an unfolding journey of discovery through joy, wonder, and silence. When we linger, as friends on an aimless walk, enjoying each other's presence; when we give and take; when we ask, and even challenge; we look more deeply; and God’s revelation breaks through our own desires, and the bonds of intimacy deepen.......for this is the way of walks among friends; and the times of our lives, poured out into the lives of others.

It is in order that he may be able to give, that God seeks us to walk.......drawing, and driving opening us up to life; and by sealing us up in His prayer. Yet how can He give into the soul, while that soul cannot receive it? You see, my friends, the ripeness for receiving comes within the walk of life, and the prayer of faith.

As we walk; as we learn; we see that even those moments of memory.......moments of sharing.......are all about contact, and communion. In the relationship between our Lord and His Father, these moments are the language of their intimacy. Entering into this quiet walk, allows His Living Word to be sifted through the constant churning of our souls; calming the struggle within our hearts.......if we dare; in these moments, we can discover the freedom to let the beauty of God be revealed, and flourish through us.......such expressions of joy are the witness within us to this experience of beauty.......that hungering, heart-breaking love for beauty at its most sublime, and even beyond the reach of all that our desperation desires: the beauty of Being itself.......what lies at the heart of Being; and existence....... this wonder of beauty comes in the dawning understanding, that we are now a new, in Him, beyond all of creation.

To be so attentive in the stillness of a new creation is seen as the purity of an unfolding prayer.......when we pray we co-create with God to raise wonder in the world.......when we draw closer to God, the memories of a life walked together, and the reflection of His love, is what others will perceive in us.......and as these things take on a new life, we become God’s instruments to generate new images of His beauty into the walk of a wounded world.

There are some of the most beautiful alliterations and similes in scripture depicting what God's people are, in relation to the world around us, while we are here on the earth. For example, the Bible will say that we are fields of golden grain, ripening for the harvest; we are the morning dew that refreshes the earth; we are branches of the vine, laden with rich fruit; we are the salt, and the light of the earth; but of all the similes to which God's people are likened, the one that speaks loudest to me, comes from the voice of Paul, 'Ye Are the Epistles of Christ,' you, me, all of us who bear the life of Christ within our bosoms, are the letters of God to world around us.

Our faith, written on the soul, and living in the heart, transforms into a living faith; to be seen and read by this, we, as His Light in this world, also, in some way, become His Word; His Living Word, to be seen, read, and known by all.

My friends, we are His word, in its most persuasive form.......there is a magnetism in the Light of the truth embodied within you by the power of His Spirit. No words or powers of man can match, or hide, the glow of the Living Word that radiates outward in His own power from a lamb, walking, as one, with his risen Lord.

We are His living words to all those around us, in their most enduring form; for His Words within us are Life Itself; they are Life's source, and witness, living, growing, breathing.......within you....... me, within all lambs. The books, and thoughts of men will perish, the paper we write on will rot away; our nation, and its institutions will one day disintegrate; but God's living witness to Life; abiding within His people will be here as long as life remains.

My friends, I guess what I'm really trying to say, is that if you are one with Him, walking with Him, then you, and your life are the message of Christ. It is in your is in your is in your prayers.......your is your life. The testimony of God lives within you; it becomes the most fundamental part of who you; who we all are: we are the letters of Light, sent into the darkness. 'Ye Are the Epistles of Christ.' And without you, without us, there is no message, there is no testimony, and there is no witness. He testifies of Himself through us, through our lives. He is the Word; the Living, Incarnate Word; but we, my friends, are the parchments upon which He has written His marvelous Truth; and cast His living Light. We are an open letter; unsealed, public, before the eyes of the world. Whatever power, whatever appeal, whatever meaning He brings to the world of men through this Truth, He brings through us.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Wheel

The wheel sleeps
On its own swiftness:
No pause of action,
No rush of
Renewed consciousness;
Only a thought:
Of a pleasure.......
Or a satisfaction.......
Or a strength;
To whom I turn,
When action pauses:
When life becomes,
For a moment, still.