Saturday, December 28, 2013

Barefoot and Proclaiming: A 2014 Resolution

Shortbread crumbs huddle in small clusters like chilled people around a fire, pictures are posted, comments are made, the laughter quiets, the garbage cans burst with the refuse of a holiday well had.  Christmas slowly dissolves into clean-up, diet plans, thank you notes and work schedules resumed.  The holiday fades and flits her way into photo albums and fond memories.

And Christ?
The birthday boy?
The reason weary, wisemen wandered?
The reason we all gathered?
The reason we all laughed?
The reason we all baked and ate and wrapped and gave?
He remains.
Ever present.

While the groan of the engine of our homes resume—washing machines grunt and gurgle, dishwashers slosh and whine—His presence is still this miraculous thing that doesn’t end with a baby, some hay, some sheep, a maiden clothed in blue, and a bearded man gazing lovingly into the face of God in human flesh.  His presence fills the flush of our lives.

It does.
And I am blind.
Dear God, I am so blind.
Blind to miracles that extend beyond December. 
Blind to miracles that dance in front of me.

And I beg God for sight—sight to see the sway of Sassafras limbs in winter wind.  He made them. 

Sight to catch the cardinal’s crimson red wings splash like paint across a whale-grey sky.  When He dyed the cardinal’s wings did He think of the blood His Son would spill on another grey day?

Sight to goodness-gracious-catch-any-tiny-miracle  in the hectic craze that will consume me when I flip the calendar's page and 2013 becomes a history recorded in Christmas letters while 2014 becomes the urgent tyrant that demands my presence, my cooking, my cleaning, my helping, my studying, my mind, my hands, my energy, my life. 

Because I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts and I want to slow and record and catch and praise and revel in the miracles of a God that drips and oozes sacred and holy and good . . .

But I can’t find my camera,
My phone battery’s dead,
And the gratitude journal my family started is buried under fifteen unread copies of Time magazine.
And Ann’s amazing, but I am ordinary.
Ordinary and extraordinarily busy.
Still, His words wiggle and worm their way into my spirit.

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. (Psalm 89:15, NIV)

And can I learn it?
Learn to acclaim Him? 
Even amidst the chaos?  Just learn that one thing this year?
Just one thing?  (Because at resolutions for New Year's, I tend to fail, but maybe this year?)

Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance. (Psalm 89:15, NKJV)

I do know it, don’t I—the joyful sound of a people who have lived to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living?
And haven’t I seen it?
His goodness?
When He provided not only what we needed, but a few of our wants too?
When He gave us the theme for a camp we were overwhelmed to consider leading?
When He healed the infection that threatened to claim my life after a botched surgery?
When He healed the marriage that was statistically doomed?
But then, what are statistics to a good, great, giant of a God?

I’ve uttered acclamation to a God who deserves constant praise, but learning to do it all the time?  Isn’t this what sweet Ann was attempting to do with those lists of gifts?

How blessed are the people who worship you! 
O Lord, they experience Your favor. (Psalm 89:15, NET)

The lists are worship.
They are acclamation.
They are shouts of joy.
They are a writer’s way or waving a flag each moment they catch a glimpse of His continual presence in a world that insists on distracting us from every holy moment.

And isn’t it ironic that the people who have learned to acclaim Him are the blessed ones?
This is the thing I keep missing, but it holds the secret of joy in its grip. 
The blessed ones aren’t the perfect ones.  They aren’t the talented ones.  They aren’t the ones who have it all together.  They aren’t the ones who write the books or go to college or marry the perfect person or win the lottery. 
They are the ones who have learned to acclaim Him, have learned to sing the joyful sound of a soul that stops, a soul that seeks to see, to see the sacred in ordinary life.
And they are these souls—the seekers of the Sacred—that experience HIS favor. 
His favor isn’t just bestowed on a few fortunate ones.

Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. (Luke 2:14) 

And I’ve been duped and fooled into believing the lie that his favor is measured in material things, in people, in ease of life, in comfort, in tangible things I can take into the palm of my hand and count when all along His favor has been as near as my skin.  Nearer, even. 

His favor IS His presence.

His favor IS His countenance.
And somehow, isn’t this a game changer?
Isn’t this the thing that whispers hope into desperate heartache?
Isn’t this the thing that promises possibility amidst poverty?
Isn’t this the thing that changes the trajectory of tragedy?

Because sometimes someone is brave enough to be honest with you, and when they are, they’ll admit they’re disappointed with life.  Disappointed with God.  Feel like he doesn’t have their back.

When I think about stories like Elizabeth Smart’s—nine months of torture and rape and devestation indescribable—I can’t even fathom how she could have felt God’s favor was measureable.  Measureable by what?  Starvation and dehydration?  Measureable by the number of days out of nine months that she wasn’t raped?  Are you kidding me?

And yet she tells this story of a night when thirst had parched her throat for days, her body was ravaged by malnutrition, and she fell to sleep a broken, desperate soul.  Yet in the night, she awoke—her captors remained asleep beside her—to find a yellow cup of cold water.  There was no water in their camp.  They’d been out for some time.  There was no human being who would have brought her water.  No one knew of their camp.  No one unzipped the tent that was her prison cell by night to help her.  And yet this cup.

This golden cup of cold water.
She says she drank deeply.  The water, far more than hydrogen and oxygen molecules, gave her hope not because it alleviated her thirst, but because it proved to her the very near presence of her Savior.  And in her book, she will tell you, she acclaimed the Lord.  She knew Her God was present amidst her suffering.

Favor is not measured in the removal of tragedy, it is measured in the presence of God. 

And the people who are blessed?
The people who experience His favor?
They are the ones who worship Him.  Who SEE Him.  Who acclaim Him.  Who say—I see the pain, but I see the God who remains beyond December too. They are the ones who see the God who stays beside the thirsty child in Africa and the sex trafficked woman in Atlanta.  They are the ones who see the God who will go with the foster child removed from a safe place and sent back into a home where his prospects are poor.

Because somehow, though I don’t understand it and can’t explain it, in this life there is horrible suffering, and God is not to blame for that.  He does allow it, though.  And no theological, churchy, Christianese answer will ever satisfy the heart who hurts and hungers.  Because blessed people still weep.  But this I know.  Immanuel? 

That name?
It means God with us.
His presence remains beside us all.
And that IS the miracle of Christmas.
That is the thing to which we must hold until we can understand fully.
That is the only thing worth holding.
That is the thing which I must spend 2014 learning to acclaim—His presence.  Everywhere.
Every.Single.Place in my life and in yours.

In one fell swoop thousands of years ago He saved us from sin, but that isn’t the end.  Every day His presence saves us from a fallen world and ushers us into a holy moment.  A thousand holy moments.  Infinite holy moments.  Because when He died the curtain that separated us from His presence was torn, and we live in the Holy of Holies—In HIS presence every sacred second.  When Moses stood on Holy ground in front of a burning bush, he instinctively removed his shoes. 
And shouldn’t we, the ones on whom His favor rests, be a barefoot people?

Our lives are lived out on Holy ground because

This song says it too . . . maybe better than I can write it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

It's a Boy!


I was looking for Christmas cards the other day and came across one that was all blue. (I'm not a fan of blue cards.) But this one . . . it caught my eye. Stenciled across its face were three short words.  Just three.
 "It's a BOY!"
 Because apparently sometimes we need reminding that Christmas is about Christ's birth. And sometimes over Christmas, we Christians can be the biggest non-celebrators (those who don't celebrate) of the real holiday that there are. Of course we go out and buy presents, we deck the halls, we stuff a turkey, we even buy an Angel Tree gift for the needy children in our church, but where's the birthday cake?
In our house, on someone's birthday, we pull out all the stops.  I mean, really.  We go crazy.  We do, say, and cook ALL the birthday person's favorite things. You want to eat a pound of bacon for your birthday?  Sounds great.  You want to have a medieval knight birthday party complete with handmade wooden shields?  Got it.  I live for those days.  I’m GREAT at those days.  Tell me what gets your heart pumping, and I will do my darndest to make it happen on your birthday.
But I have to ask.
Where are all of Jesus' favorite things?
I wonder if he would have preferred to hear our beautiful choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus in the Wal-Mart Parking lot while we handed out cups of hot cocoa and gift cards instead of inside our tired sanctuary with raspberry jam colored carpet where everyone is sparkling like disco balls and the lost tend not to come.
 I wonder if he would have preferred less fancy Christmas clothing and more donated coats to homeless people.
I wonder if he would rather have a simple meal shared with many hungry people as opposed to pate and caviar on artisan bread toasted golden.
I wonder if I can help my boys to celebrate Jesus' birthday this year . . . by doing all the things HE loves.
In fact, if you want to know the truth, I think my boys might need to help ME to celebrate Jesus’ birthday.  Maybe I am the obstacle that stands between commercial Christmas and Jesus’ Birthday.
Just the other day, I went to the boys and asked the annual question. 
To the youngest, I asked, “Corty, what would you like for Christmas this year?”
Without hesitation, he replied, “Seventy-five dollars.”
I know a smile snagged my lips and swung them upward.  “What would you like seventy-five dollars for?”
“A goat.”  Now, if you know my youngest, you know that he would like NOTHING better than to have another animal.  A goat.  A pig.  A chicken.  Any animal is pure delight to him.  So, I’m thinking in my head, “No way.”  But I say, “Where would we put a goat, Corty?”
“Not for me, mom,” he responds instantly.  “I want a goat for the children in Africa.  I saw how much they are in a magazine I was reading.”
And you know those moments when some invisible being sticks a vacuum cleaner down your throat and sucks all your breath out and you are left without speech?  Yeah.  That happened.  Because that wasn’t solicited or prompted.  That.  That?  That was Jesus’ heart pouring out of my sweet boy with unruly hair and freckles sprouting on his milky cheeks.
Later, I asked my eldest the same question.
He replied, “A goat.”
My knees are weak because if you know my eldest, you know he’s got ZERO interest in owning a goat. 
“Did you hear your brother and I talking?” I’m naturally a suspicious person.
“No, mom.  I just don’t need anything this year.  I’d rather help other people.  Please don’t make me come up with a list.”
And I’m looking into amber eyes that sparkle because tears threaten to break free, and I know he’s dead serious.  And I know it was my boys’ lips that were moving, but it was Jesus who was bringing me Christmas tidings of TRUE JOY through them.
Somewhere along the way these two boys with shoulders getting broad and upper lips getting fuzzy have figured out that Christmas is more than an opportunity to get.
Somewhere along the way they have understood that their heart is an inn and they’ve made room for the heart of Jesus to be birthed in them.
And most of us Christian adults are still sending him out back to the stable.  After all, we’ve got Christmas dinner to cook, presents to wrap and cards to send out.  So, if he can wait ‘til after the new year, then we’ll have room and time.  Right?
And isn’t that a little ironic?  I mean how can we sing Joy to the World  and push the very God who brings joy aside until a later time?  If we wish people joy and peace, shouldn’t we invite the very guest who created those blessed states of being?
For unto us a Child is born,
(Is. 9:6)
The child was born unto us.  Right?
So His birthday is our responsibility, right?
So, tonight, I find myself sitting here asking Him this question:
“Jesus, what would you like for your birthday?”
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you.  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35-40
It’s as though I hear Him saying,
for my birthday, I want
To feed the hungry.

To give the thirsty a drink.

To give the naked clothing.

To care for sick people.

To visit prisoners.
So, I start making my list.  I can do this, God.  I’ll give you a birthday bash even the angels will envy.  I’m on it!

And YOU. 


YOU too.  I want you.
I hear the phrases from scripture, “Be still and know that I am God . . . Mary has chosen the more excellent thing . . .Seek ye first the Kingdom of God . . .”


Everyone and their brother gets of piece of me on a regular basis.  And it hits me, what if WE are the birthday cake?  In our home the birthday boy gets the first and biggest slice of cake, but Jesus is lucky if he gets the crumbs of me.  I’ve got two boys, a husband, a huge family, a massive church family, a job, and well . . . me?
It stops me, you know?
Because life is a hungry beast and the urgent things get my time, my attention, my focus, my commitment.

Could I commit to one month of stillness before God?  Could I give Him that gift?  The gift of me?  Instead of 12 Days of Christmas, could I give Jesus 25 Days of Stillness?

Stillness despite the calendar/day planner that resembles some kind of gumbo made with a year’s leftovers?  Stillness despite basketball season?  Stillness despite all the other Christmas traditions?

But how can I truly know the heart of God if I fail to sit with Him a while?  Who am I kidding?

So today begins the

25 Days of Stillness
And an invitation to my children and husband and perhaps you too? to embark on a new Christmas tradition.  Spend 25 days in stillness and take the final 12 to offer Jesus additional gifts.  Gifts He’s shared with us while we were still.  I don’t know yet what they will be, but I have a feeling they will not look like the Black Friday Multi-Tool Home Depot had on sale or the Rubbermaid Tupperware set from Wal-Mart for $7.  I’m guessing they’ll reflect His heart.

25 Days of Stillness

12 Gifts for Jesus
Come celebrate the birthday of the year with us, will you?
After all, It's a Boy!
Shouldn't that be the message we shout from the tops of our Christmas Trees this year?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

When Cutting Means Living

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." 
John 15:1,2

We have fruit trees here at our new house.  Several of them.  Spring came and whispered to waken them, but still they sleep.  A few blossoms roused, but mostly, they remained covered in lichen and  tangled in hungry vines.  I had held out hope that perhaps, because of their age, they'd surprise us with a bumper crop. 

But when the blossoms were few, I knew the truth.  There wouldn't be any fruit.

There were dead limbs.  Lots of them.  Some more obvious than others.  Some with crunchy grey-green lichen growing on their rotting flesh.  Others with honeysuckle and poison ivy vines choking them in their effort to grow heavenward.  And when he said they'd all have to come down, I argued with my husband--surely some of them were alive?  But even to knock knuckles against them revealed what I didn't want to accept.  The sound was hollow.  Lifeless.

And I can't help but think that perhaps when others see me, they see dead limbs too.

Limbs that no longer bear fruit.  Limbs no longer drinking from the vine.  Limbs that offer no fragrant flowers, no lush leaves, no fruit.

I stood, that day he said they'd need to come down, determined to keep them, determined to leave them be and let them have a chance.  I stood between those trees and my husband, the tree-gardener in our family.

And I can't help but think that perhaps I stand between myself and the true Gardener.

I wonder about this Gardener that severs branches and limbs, takes the lifeless to give life in the future.  I wonder about His ways.  His economy.  His methods. Taking the life of lambs and pigeons to free heart-life of repentant people so long ago. Taking the life of His Son to give life to mankind.

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
John 12:24

Seeds that die and produce many.
Joseph severed from his family and he saves nations, the entire Hebrew race.

Could it actually be that had Joseph remained in the comfort of his father's favor, he would not have born fruit?  Could it be that my clinging to languishing limbs is preventing me from producing fruit?

And what of me and my dead limbs?  What of the limbs that no longer bear fruit?  Do I really want to see them?  Do I really want to know what they are?  Would I really let that Gardener come in with his saw and make the cuts?

Come to me, ye who are weary . . .

Holding lifeless limbs can become wearisome.

ye who are heavy laden . . .

Lifting dead weight can drain a soul.

and I will give you rest . . .

The rest comes in the releasing.

Sometimes the releasing comes in stepping down as the guard of lichen covered limbs.
Sometimes the releasing means letting Him make the cuts.
Sometimes the releasing is goodbye to our plans.  Our ambitions.  Our ideas.  Our pride.
And I have much of that.  Pride.

And sometimes the cutting off leaves a gaping hole for a season. 

Sorrow may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Maybe I have some holes right now.  Some that are gaping.  I'm waiting for the joy that comes in the morning.  For that sweet sun to rise and whisper the Gardener's song, the song of making all things new, the song of healing, the song of hope, the song that promises fruit.

Fruit that will last.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A People in Constant Motion Yet Unmoved

I'm a runner--of sorts.  Not the half-marathon-constantly-training-cool-running-shoes-kinda runner.  I'm more of the sleep-in-my-sports-bra-roll-out-of-bed-shove-on-my-shoes-jog-for-thirty-minutes-come-back-drink-coffee-kinda runner.  I do it because I need exercise.  I try to run five days a week.  On the sixth day, I try to take a walk, and on the seventh day, I rest.  Recently, though, I've read several articles and even listened to my doctor discuss the current research that suggests running every day may not be the best thing for your body.  And part of me is like, "Really, ya think?"  A pulled hamstring, a pulled oblique muscle, grouchy knees and strained tendons this year are just a few of the reasons why I have a sneaking suspicion there's probably some validity to the idea that daily pounding the pavement may not be what our bodies were designed for.  (And for all you veteran runners out there.  Shut your pie holes.  I know you're supposed to stretch, wear good shoes, etc.  I'm gonna start that tomorrow!) But in truth, sometimes I feel like my entire world is the same--constantly pounding the pavement.  And I can't help but wonder if we have a few pulled muscles, a few strained tendons because of it.

It is like we are a train at full tilt, an airplane careening through the heavens, a full on battle charge complete with war whoops, galloping horses and the pounding of hooves.  Always pounding hooves. My husband's, my children's, my own.  The constant cacophony of crazed feet keeping time to an even crazier schedule.  Whatever I liken our life to, it must be in constant full-throttle motion to be even remotely accurate.  We are a family on the move.  And I know we aren't unique.  In fact, I think we probably appear to be in slow motion in comparison to other families.  Just the other day, I overheard a conversation where one mom admitted to another mom that she hadn't looked at her daughter's homework in weeks because they had been so busy with other activities and responsibilities that she simply hadn't had the time.  I wanted to whisper in her ear, "I feel your pain, Momma.  I feel your pain!" 

I wonder though, if motion is one of Satan's greatest allies in disabling a follower of Jesus--not just any motion, but motion without a refined, focused purpose.  After all Jesus did call us to be 'doers of the word and not hearers only.'  So motion itself isn't wrong, and that's good since I'm perpetually moving.  But what seems to happen is that we buy into a mindset that insists activity and entertainment are our divine purpose and right. We have this notion that good parents enroll their children in everything.  If our kids are interested, give them the chance to explore it fully.  And it doesn't sound wrong even as I type it, does it?  And for goodness sakes, we mustn't forget that good kids are busy kids, so we arrange sleepovers, parties, and play dates.  Our youth ministries are overrun with game nights and lock-ins because we need to keep our kids out of trouble, right? (Yet apparently almost 90% of them will leave church within their first year of college.  So how's that working for us?) It's the motion movement we've bought into; yet we're all limping along with pulls and strains; and man alive are we ever thirsty.  So are our children.  Thirsty for the Living God.

"Why do you search for the living among the dead?"

It was a question the men at the tomb asked the women who came to treat Christ's dead body with spices.  See, they were behind the eight ball.  They came to treat a dead body.  It wasn't until the men asked the women that question that scripture says the ladies remembered what Jesus had told them about His purpose.  He would fall into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise again the third day.  He was done with the dying and onto the rising.  Jesus had a focused plan, and he stuck to it (Luke 24).  But we aren't aware of His plan, or like the women, we've forgotten it. The result is that we too are searching for the living among the dead.
And I'm left to ask not "What is my plan," but . . .

What is God's plan for our family? 
What is God's plan for our sports-loving-book-inhaling-thirteen-year-old? 
What is God's plan for our tree-climbing-animal-adoring-ten-year-old? 

We say we "just want the very best for our kids," but I wonder if we really mean it.  Because isn't the very best synonymous with God's plan?  And if we're really wanting to cut to the chase, aren't we a little too busy pursuing the very best to stop and ask God what His plans are for our children?

Wasn't Francis Chan onto something when he said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.” 

In the end, maybe daily running on the treadmill of a society that is convinced that more is more, that bigger is better, that lessons and sports and clubs and involvement equal success, is causing more damage than good. 

Could it be that we're missing God's plan while we act like hamsters in a cosmic cage? 
Could it be our children don't need to be entertained, rather they need to be enlightened? 
Could it be they need to know they weren't placed on earth to get great grades, go to great colleges, embark on promising careers, marry, make babies, buy a house and live happily ever after? (And don't misunderstand me here, I'm not saying those things won't happen along the way.  I'm just asking if it is possible that we missed the main point?)
Could it be?
Could it be we ourselves need the same enlightening?

Because there is an entire world out there in desperate need of our assistance, and if we are busy balancing a life on a blasted treadmill, we can't help them.  We're incapable of doing both.

So while we run . . .
While we race . . .
While we entertain . . .
While we keep busy . . .
While we give our children opportunities . . .

Almost half a million children in the US live in foster care. 100,000 of them cannot return home. Ever.
More than 150 MILLION children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, disease, poverty, etc.
At least 3.5 MILLION children die each year because of malnutrition related diseases.
55 million unborn children are killed every year via abortion, 105 per minute. 3 per minute in the US.
Approximately 15 people die per minute due to nutrition related illness.
209 MILLION people do not have any scripture in their language.

 . . . people die, and they don't know God.

But, in the meantime, our kids got into the right University because they had a great transcript, lots of activities, and high SAT scores. 
We're busy chasing the proverbial American Dream and teaching our children to do the same.  In short, we're the guy in Jesus' parable of the talents that buried his in the field.  We're burying the greatest resource God has given us--our lives--under a mound of worldy pursuits and earthly treasures.  But it is never enough.  We're never satisfied.  We hunger and thirst for more.

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.(John 4:34)

Are we hungry and thirsty because we aren't eating the right food?
And just what is the will of him who sent Jesus?  Really? 

We have come to know love by this:  that Jesus laid down his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians.  But whoever has the world's possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person?  Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth. (I John 3:16-18)

We have come to know love by this:  that Jesus laid down his life for us; thus we ought to lay down our lives for our fellow Christians. 

And for whom have I laid down my life?  For whom have I said, I'll forgo what I want so they can have what they need?  For whom?  Because if I'm gonna be honest, there's a part of me that doesn't want to raise my hand and volunteer as a foster parent.  I'd rather not go back to diapers and diaper bags, bottles and burps.  I'm finally past that.  And what if they have problems?  What if they're disturbed because of what they've been through?  It could get messy, could get inconvenient.

Carrying the cross wasn't convenient for Jesus, and yet . . .

But whoever has the world's possessions and sees his fellow Christian in need and shuts off his compassion against him, how can the love of God reside in such a person? 

And for whom have I surrendered my possessions?  I wonder what inheritance Jesus left for his siblings to divide?  I'm kinda guessing none.  Yet isn't that the thing that concerns us if we're being truthful?  We want to amass some little something here on earth so we can leave it for our wee ones.  We want to save enough to go on trips, to travel the world . . . or at least to Florida.  We want to add a pool, pave the driveway, buy, consume, take, hold for ourselves. 

Storing up treasure in heaven means surrendering earthly treasures . . .

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth.(I John 3:18)

And isn't this the crux of it all?  The answer to the  motion problem?  It isn't that God has told us to remain inert.  Indeed, He called us to action.  But the focus, the purpose of that action? 
Should not our strides be specifically aimed?  Should not our motion be in the direction of Love? 

Love won't leave us with pulled muscles, in fact it will expand our muscles, expand our hearts.
Love won't leave us with strained tendons; it will be a balm to the strains of others.
Love won't leave us with aching knees; it will lift a world brought to their knees by a life apart from God, to their feet.

Love walks.
Love runs.
Love prays.
Love builds.
Love gives.
Love feeds.
Love refrains.
Love pays fairly.
Love mends.
Love translates.
Love sacrifices.
Love lays down one's own life.

I wonder about those two bombers in Boston.  I wonder if they ever came in contact with love.  I wonder if there was a free camp like the one here in the mountains where my family is privileged to help during the month of July--a place where children come and experience the unconditional love of God--would it have made a difference?  Had one person brought LOVE to them, could it have changed everything?

Because in a world where people are constantly running, love moves too.  Moves hearts.  Moves lives.  Moves people to step off the treadmill of American Dreams and into the reality of lives lived for eternity.  One accomplishes nothing that will last.  The other accomplishes things imperishable.

Once, Joseph and Mary lost Jesus as a youth.  When they found Him, He spoke the now infamous line:  "Don't you know I'm to be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49)

Our Father's business is The World.  And He deals in only one currency.  Love.

Father, help me to move in your wake, to move in focused, purposeful ways.  Help our family to have the sole goal of being about your business.  Redirect, guide,hem us in, and strengthen our limbs for the journey.  Amen.