Friday, April 26, 2013

No Light Matter

Dear Christa—
As the book of 2 Kings trips through one king after another, pacing through the history of Israel’s divided kingdoms, it is recorded how many years or months each king reigned, whether or not he followed God, and often who his mother was.
In that epoch, to be the queen mother was a powerful position. I think the listing of these names had more significance than simply clarifying which woman of the harem had birthed the newly crowned king. To be a mother was no light matter.
As these father kings were waging wars and tending to a plethora of wives, it seems to me it was on the knees of these mothers where the future kings were probably most influenced. And, apparently most of them didn’t do a very good job. King after king worshiped idols in the high places, some even sacrificing their children.
So powerful were these women that one, Athaliah (2 Kings 11), when her son died, proceeded to attempt to kill all her grandchildren in order to rule the nation, which she managed to do for six years.
And, except for just a very few, evil parents begot evil children, seeking power, prestige, and self indulgence—generation to generation until God had His fill and eventually both kingdoms were taken over by powerful, conquering nations.
Often mothers will delay their own ambitions to train a child. It seemed to me that with the birth of each child, some activity that I’d done was set aside. There simply wasn’t time. Some of those things I’ve taken back up; some I haven’t, but it had to be.
There is so much more to raising kids than providing for them and sharing the joys and sorrows. There’s the conscious teaching—teaching them Whom to worship.
To be a mother is no light matter.

Monday, April 15, 2013

He Speaks Your Name

Dear Christa—
We just finished The Poisonwood Bible in my Advanced Placement class, and today—literally within the hour before the bombings in Boston—we were talking about the diverse ways people walk through grief. At times tragedy becomes a public grievance; but more often, we grieve alone—in small family clusters, as my cousin’s family does today in the death of a young family member—just 23 years old, the result of a fishing accident.
In class, Tom said that “when we’re grieving, it seems like it should rain or something, but the sun just keeps shining.” It seemed an appropriate way to express the aloneness in grief. I suppose everyone must walk her own way out.
Death’s first sting is more a bewilderment—a wonder—a disbelief. And like the mother in the book, we feel like we just have to keep moving. So close here from Good Friday’s reflections, that is how I picture the women who followed Jesus—women who grieved. They gathered the spices for his body; they went to the tomb; they just kept going. And Mary Magdalene went so far as to beg whom she mistook for the gardener to tell her where he’d put the body, and she’d get it herself.
Who is to say what is the right way to walk through tragedy? And though we can feel alone, we aren’t alone. And when Mary was suppliant to the gardener, she was really looking at the healer of her greatest hurt. And little did she know that in her desperate aloneness, Jesus was literally the closest one to her. And in her utter despair, He spoke her name—Mary.
Today, He still speaks our name.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Breath of Life

Dear Christa—
“And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’”  (Jn. 20:22a).
As the disciples sat fearful behind locked doors, Jesus came to them. No longer hindered by material structures such as walls and doors, he came.
Last week—Easter Sunday—as Mark preached on this passage, I couldn’t help but think of another time that God breathed on man—way back at the beginning—before Adam laid eyes on the tree of life, before he gazed up into the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, before he ever knew fear, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen. 2:7).
How awesome is that?
The breath of God breathes life—life so unique, life so precious, so wonderful.
And after Adam put away life, Jesus put away death—and walked right through walls to fearful people, and He breathed on them.
He breathed life—life beyond walls and fear and the whole physical world.
In this world of fear, we still need His breath—the salvation that brings the Holy Spirit within our very being to dwell within us. I cannot fathom such a thing.
To set aside fear—
To put away walls—

To breathe—
Everyday, breathing life everlasting—
And Jesus told them, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Oh, to take a breath and see the plan He has for us this day!