Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Innovate 09 from Granger Community on Vimeo.

I take my curtains for granted.
They hang beautifully, faithfully, day after day
brushing by them countless times in a week
Keeping us warm, cool, and comfortable
The spot where Lauren's hands grab to peek out
has grown higher and higher with every season
every precious visitor who visits is greeted
and farewelled by a friendly wave between the curtains
like a gleeful puppet show just for them
But there are days, months, years even,
when we go to work, come home, eat, sleep, play, live
and never take time to think about our curtains.
Imagine our shock to come home one day to find them stolen.
Blinding sunlight in the day and feeling exposed at night.
We take our curtains for granted.
Like our own ability to see
our silent breath in and out
our heartbeats...
And all too often, Your great commission.
For centuries, the Church has faced snakey temptation,
the pull for pageantry or the desire for political gain,
and in the middle of our planning services, events, elements,
in our busyness of preparation behind the stage curtains,
We forget about the curtain You tore in half
and our calling to share it with the world.
Somehow brushing past You to sit together on Sunday mornings
looking to stay warm, cool, and comfortable.
A bunch of prodigal big brothers, smug that we stayed at home
refusing to come to the party for someone so stupid.
Well-dressed cliques who shake hands, wave hello and goodbye
never getting past our own draping-curtained superficial smiles.
There will come a day when the curtains will fall from our eyes
like scales from the blind man You touched
the day when You come back to claim those
who stepped over those torn curtain pieces
into the temple of following You.
Confession time,
That day scares me.
I know there will be celebration, healing, victory, redemption.
But I can't help but ache for all those left behind
the students I never got to share You with,
the friendly neighbors I never took time to get to know,
the hungry children in Monroe circle,
the thousands in India who didn't make it to the church plants.
the shoppers in Target right across the street,
who drive by the building like a curtain in a living room.
That day will be agony for them.
They are the reasons we get up in the morning
work late, have long meetings, hold conferences,spend days, weeks, months, years,
finding new innovative ways to capture their attention.
Shake us to move from hamsters on wheels
to your kids chasing Your dreams
of what could be and should be.
And help me to cling to that heavy ache in my chest
that nagging thought in my mind
that incessant pull like a veil torn
all the way to the final curtain.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

“Become the change you seek in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

"If a commission by an earthly king is considered a honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?" David Livingstone

Friday, September 04, 2009

Presents of Presence

nine years of teaching in the public schools
a calling to sprint underwater
conduct an orchestra in handcuffs
or tie my shoes with my teeth
and, oddly enough, I loved it.
Even more astonishing, I was beginning to miss it
those metamorphosis moments
springboarding from my simple love for them
those wide eyes that finally get that they matter to someone
those beaming grins after the blank paper is filled
Then I snap out of the little misty daydreams
and find myself sitting in a puddle of guilt
painting pictures of Egypt after arriving in the Promised Land
So once again You came along
with another gift I didn't know I needed.
1 class, 18 students, and a breathless freedom to speak of You
Nine years of censoring myself
square peg round hole to to fit into the fragmented box of law
dancing with euphemisms like a monkey in a hat
An alternate universe
Where the power of the Holy Spirit was just their "conscience"
when Mt. Sinai's stone tablets
were buried more like tombstones as "morals to the story"
Christ figure characters imprisoned by "Protagonist" boxes
Epic parable allusions boiled down to "literary devices"
and the greatest story and theme of all time
was left unsaid, untaught, and raging inside me.
And those after-class conversations when I slipped,
couldn't help msyelf, broke the rules and mentioned You
only led to a trip to the Principal's office
and a peach-colored warning sheet I had to sign.
Me, the straight A good girl, somehow the new rebel in school.
Nine years of teaching in a straight jacket.
Until now
This one class at a Christian College,
when the duct tape comes off the mouth
the straight jacket untied, unbelted, removed
You're no longer the elephant in the room
but the subject of the study
intermingled and touching everything
like fall campus winds or long stringy spaghetti
when I can hold the Bible like a pop-up book stage
where Your storytelling brilliance finally comes alive
when the true theatre of Your word
meets the fantasy of the stage
in a mind-blowing dance of artful ministry
and I can't help but look up to thank You
for the freedom to speak my mind
a new playground to speak Your heart
for the presents of Your presence
acknowledged, unfettered, and arms out
like dancing in the sun.

"All to often we are giving children cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants."---John W. Gardner

"Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 28:31

"Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ." Acts 5:42