Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Well

"Disappointment drags us back to the well." - Paula Rinehart


It is Ash Wednesday (http://www.rzim.org/usa/usfv/tabid/436/articleid/10512/cbmoduleid/1133/default.aspx for an explanation).  Today begins the season of Lent. Grief and sorrow. Repentance. Longing. Resurrection.  Emmanuel, God WITH us.

Here is an excerpt from John 4 when Jesus is resting at the well and a Samaritan woman comes to draw water:


13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”15 “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

Last night as I read the quote from Paula Rinehart, "Disappointment drags us back to the well", brought me to a time of repentance.  Why must it take disappointment to keep me aware of my craving for living water? The source of life?  Moment by moment we are given a beautiful gift to respond to Jesus with gratitude and trust.  MOMENT BY MOMENT, not  just event to event.  Verse 15 struck me differently today.  I thought about how I want something to satisfy my thirst so I do not have to keep returning to the well, but the fact is that I truly don't ever want to leave the well - this is where we can be with Jesus, resting in His presence, fully disclosing our hearts, laments, and praise.  I love his invitation to this woman who was so thirsty.  He told her everything about herself and she was changed.  To know that we are loved is such a gift for such a sorrowful season.  Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Brave

  

Many of you have heard about the horrors of human trafficking, the sexual abuse at Penn State, rape, and sadly, the list could go on.  Currently I am in a class called, "Theodicy and Trauma". Theodicy is about grappling with the hard questions and understanding God's goodness in the midst of such evil that is all around us. In the late 1800's, many women were given a label of "hysteria" (what we would now diagnose as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and in an effort to try and understand what contributed to this "hysteria", Freud and a few others in the field decided they were going to talk to the women (thus emerged the talking cure) to try and find out if there were commonalities that could somehow explain the cause of said illness.  The results were widespread across Europe and there were indeed commonalities.  Freud published his findings stating that the cause of women's hysteria was in fact trauma such as sexual abuse and rape.  Freud was ostracized by colleagues for what he published and he found himself feeling very isolated and thus recanted his research.  It was hard for the researchers to grasp what they had found........for the researchers to stand by what they discovered would have meant they had to acknowledge how widespread (even in the 1880's) that sexual abuse and rape was.  In a patriarchal society, that was very difficult.

Fast forward 140 years or so to this past December. I attend the yearly Christian conference with 1,000 college students and we heard hear wrenching stories of trafficking and abuse.  This particular day had been so very heavy and I had not left the hotel in a few days.  I found myself driving to go pick up dinner and just crying and beating my steering wheel over the hay day that the Enemy was having......and I got angry. Very angry.  My tears dried and I asked God to help break through here and could he just speak to me on this topic.  I was driving by a movie marquee (I know, bare with me) and 2 titles flashed by.  The first was, "War Horse" and the 2nd was, "The Darkest Hour."  I said out loud, "That's it!! That is for me, isn't it Lord?"  I got this picture of riding on this horse INTO the battle, not away from it and riding into what I see as the darkest hour of peoples lives.  I know that may sound weird to you Presbyterians, and I must say I am somewhat Presbyterian in my theology, but I do believe that God encourages and speaks to me in these pictures.  Not the same as Scripture, but just in line with it.  I often do not think in words, but in pictures.  Paul talks about how it was as if he was in the pains of childbirth until Christ was formed in the Galatians....he had vision for them...he wanted them to KNOW Christ more....and he spoke that to them.  How encouraging would that picture be to have from Paul?  Anyway, I say all this because I do not believe in going to battle alone.  Would you get mad at the Enemy as well?  Would you ride your own War Horse with me into the Darkest Hour?

That very same day in December, my sister/cousin Ami who lives in Texas texted me about a picture she had seen of me.  It was of me in this cape going into the woods to fight the enemy and see people freed.  So, you can imagine how I responded today when she emailed me this link with a message saying this was for both of us.  I share it with you now because it is in fact for many of you. What does the name "Merida" mean?  "Ambitious, brave, creative, desirable, fresh, mature, unassuming, spontaneous, thriving, sensitive"  This is the title character in an upcoming Disney Pixar movie entitled BRAVE. So, watch and then go find your horse, take up your bow and let's go riding.

(You'll have to pause the player at the bottom of the page)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYg0VgPy6Uk&feature=youtube_gdata_player