Look Alive

01 March 2011

TRINITY TALKS: With Christ, the Cross Going On...

For the month of March, 1 Samuel's chapters seemed a good study choice for the 31 days; preparation for a change of spiritual (sea)son being the prayer of Hannah. Following the Gospel path paved first by Matthew the 'tax man' then the restoration road of Zephaniah may add some spring to our steps as well.

As I ran an errand on the first day of the month, the above "message" awaited. I came back here to add it to the scriptural links and share some mutual encouragement, namely: whichever of the books are chosen, let our walks be ever closer and more pleasing to the Lord. Maybe a "well done" will be in order at the end of the road.

1 Samuel                      Matthew
Week 1                      Week 1
Week 2                      Week 2
Week 3                      Week 3
Week 4                      Week 4
plus three                      plus three

27 February 2011

O Mission

"Cancel on me when I'm in the shower -- ok, I guess. Cancel on me after I've put my clothes on -- ugh, ok. Cancel on me after I've put on my makeup -- oh naaaw!" ~ overheard

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away ... Sometimes I feel like I've lost so much I hafta find new things to lose ... Your daddy gave me a message for you: tell Eve I still owe her that dance", said the double widow character Mozelle from the film Eve's Bayou, in calm, experienced response to a condolence after the death of her third husband and then her brother

Their paths crossed by surprise; his forged by workboots  standing at her door to install an appliance and hers then in stilettos she nearly fell out of due to slight weathering in the asphalt just a yard from the oddly familiar spirit before her eyes. He was amused, joking about flattery from the fact that he must've swept her off her feet. She was also amused but remained ambulatory, as she would never allow herself to miss a beat or feel shame for no real reason. Any other witness had no choice but to make light of the situation too as the young woman removed both work shoes and, with stockinged feet flat on the ground, continued to let them both in.
The smiling strangers would somehow ease into hours of positive conversation. They exchanged personal numbers as they parted ways and even later that night, while she slept, he called to speak to the woman whom he "[couldn't] get off [his] mind". She smiled at his message the next morning and, once they'd spoken again, agreed to a late lunch date the following day. Fine with him, but -- if it was alright with her -- he hoped they could also connect sooner.
Movies. That evening, they'd watched three! Lots of laughter and Q&A seasoned the simple meeting. Five-years and family structure. Life's highs and lows. What drives and feeds the other? Where's your faith? Apparently, the young man was uninterested in the casual encounters of his younger days but hoping to get to know and grow with a woman. The young woman was pleasantly surprised by his admissions and felt even more comfortable speaking of the celibacy that she would be sure to introduce early anyway. After all, if people are headed in different directions, there is never a mature need to lead another on or judge as you both step away.
The Christian young man waved her concern off as slight, mentioning his plans to attend church early in the morning and repeating his current speed. Wow! How nice is that? For the next couple of hours, now they could both say it was hard to think of anything else. Instead they kept silent and slept on it until an hour before church. She called him as promised and their previously secret thoughts were revealed to the effect of mutual, albeit sleepy, smiles. He was too tired to attend the first service and might try instead for the second, but they were still on for later. That afternoon, he called to inform her he'd be by to pick her up in a few hours. No problem. She appreciated his attentiveness and began to get herself together. 
Near their appointed time, he sent her a text to say he was on his way... but she heard and saw nothing of him. Even the girlfriends she usually kept informed if she was going out, especially somewhere new with or without company, could make neither heads nor tails of this situation. She made peace with the mystery and dropped any of the world's prideful dating rules to call the young man once, leaving a message about her minor disappointment and major hope that he was ok before moving on as easily as she did when her heel got stuck. Since the lunch-turned-dinner-turned nothing had eaten away at so much time, the young woman realized she was late for a prayer call-in she expected to be full and back home in time for. Feeling badly about the compromise but determined to end the night on the best note, she dialed in. Only one person -- the moderator for the evening -- was on the line then.
"Hello, my sister! I've been waiting for you. I'm so glad you could make it. Let us give God thanks..."

As often as I have heard variations of this relationship story, especially among young men and women of faith, I have also heard that it is better to give than to receive -- and that's a lot. Of the four basic blood types (A, B, AB and O), "AB" contains the red blood cell markers for all the types and is deemed the universal recipient. "O" is considered the universal donor. When considering the holistic outpouring of Love from the Lord and His Prayer over every submitted debt and debtor or sin and sinner, it is no wonder that so many of our cries to Our Father begin with "O...!" The grandeur of such amazing Love and grace deserves a wide open heart, mind, soul and, at times, mouth to best receive and praise Him!

By the same token, our gratitude is often expressed for what we are given in this Life. Then, of course, Life happens. For better or worse, our priorities and appointments shift and it might seem that we missed out on something of importance to us. I pondered this and my girlfriend's story as another favorite film, Universal International's remake of Imitation of Life, played. Much like the little girl in Eve's Bayou, that film's prodigal daughter also did well-intended yet self-serving evil or folly to the detriment of God's perfect will, much less an earthly parent. On the upside, the sad losses of their loved ones likely took both girls' sinful behavior away and brought their perspectives -- and steps -- back in order with the Lord. 

As the lights grace our stages and the music of Life plays, do we stop to thank God for cutting in to abate the danger or snare that might have watched from across the room? Do we instead move by His lead and bless Him for opening a new door to the 'prayer closet' for us to seek Him first and possibly bless another? If God brought us to it, He can bring us through it. In some cases, if we hear no more about it, we can probably do without it. Of those things we ALL need, however, the Blood reigns supreme.