Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prepare the Way

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The season of lent has been an amazing new part of the communal relationship I enjoy with God and His people here in Kansas City.

I grew up longing for the sacred in the every-day. In many ways I have found it here with the way they look to the lectionary and are shaped and formed by this Christian calendar. It is a beautiful thing to participate in the seasons, in the life of Christ, in His death and resurrection. It makes the sacred more meaningful. It makes the common more meaningful. It celebrates human existence and the circle of life.

I was reading through old posts and the messages that God has been speaking over the last few years, particularly through and in the season of lent. It has been one of His most vocal times and I love it. First He spoke of Resurrection Life, then He spoke of Waiting. Now He speaks of Preparation. It puts me in mind of the Jewish bride-to-be. The groom has negotiated her price with the family. He has offered her his cup. She has accepted. Now he is preparing a place. And she is preparing, too. She keeps her lamp filled with oil and lights it at night so that he will know she is waiting, so that he will know where she is when he returns for her. She is busy learning all she needs to know to care for herself, her husband, and her household.

Preparation.

When I was in South Africa I prayed with a group of students and was so inspired by the movement of the Spirit in that place that I wanted to come home and sell my house and go to live with them. I had to fight the urge to tell them I would be back. It was a ludicrous idea in many ways. They didn't really need me. I don't know what I would have done there. I cannot imagine living in South Africa - which, in the winter, looked like California in the summer. But as much as I had been tempted to stay, the vision I glimpsed on my way home changed everything. I saw my culture, my country, my people, a great sleeping giant that does not recognize its strength and does not fight the good fight because it is blinded by money and lulled to sleep by pornography.

It has been that vision that has inspired me to wake the sleeping giant, to speak to this people in an effort to heal this land, that we might partner with our brothers and sisters around the world, with our friends in Africa who are quickened and living out revival even while we slowly die.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if I missed the point. I wonder if I should have come home and sold my house and just gone to be with those students in South Africa. I wonder if I should still just show up at their door and tell them I am here, to be used as needed. Did I miss it? Had God been calling me and I ignored Him?

God is calling, and in response I want to speak healing to this land. I want to sit at Dr. Frye's feet and learn how to work with couples in order that they might bond and do battle against the silent murderer of relationship. I want to bless marriages and teach our people about emotional stewardship. But maybe we are deaf to the message. Maybe it is a word for another land. How weird would that be?

We seem to be dying. Our men are passive and enslaved. Our women are manipulative and alone. Our churches are passionless or directionless or headless, take your pick. My friends Scott and Carey have been more pastoral to me than my pastors in this place have been. In fact, home hasn't seemed like home and church hasn't seemed like home and work has tried to get rid of me a couple times. Our culture is like a sea of confusion or a blanket of apathy we're all drowning or suffocating in.

I don't suppose I get to choose - or rather, I have already chosen. Where He leads me I will follow. Mine is just to prepare.

Pardon me, I need to go buy some oil.

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