Five Minute Friday: Dream

Along the Way @ mlsgregg.com (1)

Gentle Reader,

This was an “I hate everything and pants” sort of week, so I’m glad I got the chance to chat with my online blogging buddies. There is something to be said for a group of diverse people who can come together once a week and lay aside a myriad of differences to encourage each other. We join figurative hands, knowing that we are drawn together by the blood and the love of Christ.

Kate.

The buddies.

We: dream.

Go.

I dream of the day when all of God’s people come together. I dream of that time when issues no longer divide us. I dream of the brightness of eternity, when we finally realize that so much of what we fought over was petty and pointless. I dream of the day when all of our voices are raised as one in praise to the King of Kings. I dream of the day when we reach across the aisles and seek to hear each other’s stories, knowing that each one matters.

I’m thinking about this especially in light of the Charleston shootings and the subsequent calls across the nation for the removal of the Southern Cross flag from all public displays. My view is that all symbols of the Confederacy should have been outlawed during Reconstruction. They represent a dark time in our national history. A time that should be regarded with soberness and reflection.

No, not every person who likes the Southern Cross or the Stars & Bars is racist. That’s too broad a stroke to make. But we need to understand the things we embrace, celebrate or enjoy. We need to understand that these symbols arose out of very real racial oppression. Out of slavery.

This weighs on me a great deal, for the controversy does not divide the nation, but rather exposes the divide already there. The divide that has existed since the first Dutch ship brought the first Africans to this continent. This isn’t about the flags or the statues of Confederate leaders. The flags and the statues aren’t the problem, but the symptom of deeply-held, sinful beliefs and attitudes.

Beliefs and attitudes we may not even know we have.

If Germany can ban the public display of Nazi symbols, surely we can finally do what’s right and ban the public display of Confederate symbols. I cannot help but think that supporting such a band would be a meaningful gesture upon the part of white Christians to our black brothers and sisters. No, it won’t solve the problem. But it would show that we fully and completely understand and acknowledge history. It would communicate that we grasp the power of symbol.

I also think of this in light of my passion to do whatever I can to stand against modern-day slavery. If there were some banner that traffickers rallied to, I would want it shoved in a deep, dark hole and set on fire. Even if it was an innocent piece of cloth to others.

No, nobody alive today experienced or participated in the horrors of Southern slavery, but we are impacted by it every day. Mistrust, suspicion and prejudice run deep on all sides, underneath all skin colors. The Church – made up of people of every shade and hue – must do what we can to show our love for each other. To show that we are eager to remove stumbling blocks out of each other’s way.

Removing Confederate symbols won’t stop racism, but it is one simple, practical and long-overdue step that we can take together.

A step we can take toward the dream of unity.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

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Five Minute Friday: Door

Some doors are better left closed (1)

Gentle Reader,

There’s a bird chirping merrily away just outside my kitchen window. I wonder what he’s singing about. Perhaps he’s enjoying the last spray of sunlight across his feathers. Maybe he’s just caught a fat worm.

Maybe he just likes to sing.

Linking up with Kate and the fabulous folks of Five Minute Friday.

Go.

Some doors are best left closed.

Really.

In my continuing quest for that elusive settled feeling, I often yank open long-closed doors. I want answers. I want to understand. I want things to make sense.

But sometimes there are no answers. Or there aren’t good ones. I don’t understand. Or can’t. It doesn’t always make sense. Less and less does the world operate on anything resembling a logical plane.

I want to close doors on my terms. I want to say, “Okay, I am done with this now.”

Trouble is, nobody operates on my terms. I don’t even operate on my own terms half the time. Thank God He knows me down to the last details and so knows why I self-contradict over and over again.

I’m learning that the Holy Spirit places neon “Do Not Enter” signs on doors that He doesn’t want me to go through. Their knobs stick and jam when I try to turn them. He tells me that only danger lies within. He reminds me that His counsel is best and wisest and always for my good.

We try for resolution. We want to bring things to an end in the best way possible. But that doesn’t always happen. Things get messy. People don’t cooperate. Fingers and toes get pinched in the jam as we push against the wood. Splinters prick our fingers. Sweat and tears roll down our cheeks.

Nevertheless, it closes.

We don’t always know why.

We’re not always meant to know why.

Sometimes we just have to walk away.

Leave the door closed.

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

Five Minute Friday: Hide

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen

Gentle Reader,

Not gonna lie. I’m really tired.

And I’m thinking about that in connection to our prompt.

Kate. The gang. We: hide.

Go.

Under Your Wings”

Jesus, let me feel the feathers

Soft against my face

Lighten now my weary load

And gently slow my frantic pace

Let me cry my tears there

Wrapped in Your wings of love

Let me drop my burdens now

Safe in strong arms above

Gather me now to Your heart

Just like a Father dear

Lean down to smile upon me

Whisper, “You’ve nothing left to fear.”

Stop.

My journey to faith. (15)

Five Minute Friday: Tomorrow

Gentle Reader,

I really look forward to Thursday evenings. Face-to-face connection is vital, of course, but God does something cool on the internet. He draws all kinds of people together on the Twitters for some real sharing and lots of laughter. On days like today, when I’ve been confined to my house because my body hates me and is falling apart, I am so grateful for the #FMFParty. If I sit just so, the dizziness settles a little and I can enjoy the chat.

Kate. My people.

We contemplate: tomorrow.

Go.

My mom has suffered with chronic migraines for as long as I’ve known her (almost 31 years). My brother has had 4 foot surgeries, back surgery and a hernia repair. My dad has pain in his hands. My hubby’s got high blood pressure. I have Chronic Fatigue…scratch that, Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (whatever that grand re-name means). And the possibility of growing another tumor.

A coworker suffers with Fibromyalgia. I’m part of a Facebook group just for women with chronic illness. A friend at church has an eye problem. Another friend lives with MS. Another with constant stomach trouble.

That’s just the physical stuff.

Suffering is everywhere. Personally, I think that illness will only become more widespread as the clock winds down and we move toward the end. (No, I don’t know when that will be. Nobody does. But I do know that we are one day closer today than we were yesterday). The earth and all its inhabitants groan under the curse. Our bodies cannot hold up under the weight of it.

So I look forward to tomorrow. I look forward to this, a passage I turn to time and time again:

I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. – Revelation 21:3-7 (NKJV)

No more pounding heads, aching feet, swollen hands. No more strain on the heart. No more loss of sight, nerves on fire. No more crushing fatigue. No more tumors, no more fevers, no more stomach trouble. No more stress, no more worry, no more bottles of pills, no more chemotherapy, no more surgeries.

No more sickness.

Tomorrow.

Stop.