Five Minute Friday: Who

Nature Song

Gentle Reader,

These are the last bright, colorful days of Autumn. Squirrels race to pack their secret warehouses. The dog’s coats grow thicker. Soon, clouds roll in. Rains drip and drop. Then, snow. But right now – a dazzling display. A brilliant declaration of the existence and abiding presence of the Creator.

Kate says: who.

Go.

On Autumn nights
Clear and sweet
The crystals dance
Across the sky
Waltzing to an
Ancient melody – steady
The one that
God dreamed up
Nature tunes its
Instruments to the
Hidden music – delicate
Frogs croaking in
Shadow next to
Crickets, grass, water
High above all
Cries the owl
“Hoo?” or maybe
“Who?” a question
The answer I
Do not have
But God knows
God, He sees
God, He hears
Caresses little owl’s
Head and says,
“For this, now,
Is why I
Made you, bird.
Steady, keep watch.”
I snuggle down
Beneath the sheets
Content to dream
While owl stays
Guard to keep

Stop.

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(Late Again) Five Minute Friday: Praise

Creative

Gentle Reader,

I don’t remember what I was doing last Thursday night that meant missing both the chat and writing. Probably sleeping. And so my life motto shall be: “And thus, she slept.”

Kate says: praise.

Go.

I never imagined that I would become an armature music historian, especially not the sort who takes really deep dives into specific bands and time periods. I don’t have any musical ability whatsoever. (Some tell me that I sing well, but I don’t believe them). Nevertheless, here I am, wishing that Mark Lewisohn would hurry up and get the next two volumes of his massive Beatles biographical trilogy written and published because the 800-plus pages of the first book are just that good.

Lewisohn writes about more than the Beatles. He sets them in their context, the grungy, depressed Liverpool of the late 1950s, a major port city whose inhabitants were looked down upon by much of the rest of the country. Yet this place produced an impressive number of bands, all of whom helped to drive rock ‘n’ roll forward in some way.

But we’ve never heard of most of these bands.

Gerry and the Pacemakers?

Rory Storm and the Hurricanes?

Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes?

Or if we have heard of them, we know very little.

The Searchers?

The Merseybeats?

The Rutles? (Please, somebody get this joke).

Our lack of knowledge does not equal these bands lack of worth or talent. I imagine they brought great joy to their listeners. I can picture little clubs all across Liverpool filled with music, dancing and laughter (and not a few fistfights between “Teddy Boys”; this was a rough city in a different era). Of course they all hoped to make it big. They wanted the recording contracts and the big concerts. But it doesn’t really mean anything, it says  nothing about them, that this was never achieved.

Difficult for us to understand in a society built on achievement. If you’re not receiving the praise and adulation of thousands, then who are you, really?

Still you.

Still placed at this exact point on the timeline for a reason.

And in the end, it’s all going to fade, anyway. I realize that that seems defeatist, even nihilistic, but it really isn’t. Knowing that God Himself is the only thing that is going to matter when we’ve sloughed off these mortal shells frees us up to write, paint, make music, build things, tend gardens, design clothes, knit, experiment with recipes…without having to compete. Without having to base our sense of security and self on analytics.

Be creative, even if nobody but Jesus ever applauds.

That is more than enough.

Stop.

Also, my theme song.

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(Belated) Five Minute Friday: Share

Coffee

Gentle Reader,

Missed the whole thing last week. Instead of tip-tapping my way across the keyboard, I wrangled teenagers, which is a bit like giving a bunch of dogs a bath. (You think cats are harder to bathe? You’ve never met my dogs). Our church recently became part of the Family Promise network and the youth group wanted to be part of the overnight team, making themselves available to serve the two families who lived in Sunday School rooms for a week.

I think I fell asleep around midnight. I definitely woke up just after 3:00 a.m. Friday morning.

Yeah.

Kate says: share.

Go.

So we did that. I was proud of the teens; they jumped in and played with the kids who have no say in their living situation. Lots of hugs and giggles were shared. Jenga towers fell and ping-pong balls zoomed across the table. Then they all crashed and slept straight through blaring cell phone alarms, leaving Chris and I no choice but to rouse them with the infamous screaming goat video.

I needed a nap. I wanted a nap. I planned for a nap.

I got no nap.

And that was no good, because Friday night was another overnighter. (No, we didn’t plan this well). At 9:00 p.m., the twelve-passenger van packed tightly with bodies, backpacks and snacks sped toward the University of Idaho for seven hours of fun and games. We joked and scream-sang the whole way. Thankfully, I did not have to stay up all night. Instead, as the driver, I got to take the van, that I had never driven before, to a cheap hotel, that I had never stayed at, in which I would stay and hardly sleep due to the…exuberant festivities of the college students all around me.

I’m paying for it now. Back hurts. Head aches. Sleep schedule completely thrown. Too old and uncool for this.

Coffee is my BFF right now. Don’t try to separate us.

I’ll do it again because I’m so glad I got to share in those experiences. Don’t believe the bad hype about Generation Z. They’re cool people.

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Potential

Actual

Gentle Reader,

What a day this was.

Kate says: potential.

Go.

Oh, the just-so-whelming,
Maybe has an ending,
Potential love of God
How it leaves me alone
Fear to the bone
Trapped in works of mine…

Apologies to the actual lyrics of Reckless Love. (I’m not here to debate those. For the record, I do enjoy the song but think that “relentless” would have been a better word choice). As soon as I saw tonight’s prompt, these phrases immediately popped into my mind.

That’s how we often see the love of God.

As potential love. An affection, as according to the Mssrs. Merriam and Webster, that is “existing in possibility, capable of development into actuality.” It’s possible that He will really, truly love us if we get all of our proverbial ducks in a row; if we never mess up; if we never find ourselves in a position of actually needing His grace and forgiveness.

Strange, isn’t it? The entire Christian belief system centers around a God who is whole, complete, not lacking in any good attribute. When we come to the crisis point of crying out for salvation, a moment enabled by His active grace that has gone before and enlightens our dark hearts, we understand that we are staking everything on His mercy. A merciful God cannot be unloving.

Yet we so easily slip into believing that He is.

We develop the lists, the rules and the anxiety.

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that we are not to abuse God’s grace. We aren’t forgiven so that we can sin more (Romans 6:1-2). His commands are good and the longer we walk with Jesus, the more He works to help us understand that goodness. But it’s easy for us to miss or misinterpret. We see “command” and we immediately jump to “dead if I don’t obey.”

Because we see God’s love as existing in a state of potential.

And if His love is simply a potential, then His grace and mercy must have limits.

So better not mess up.

Don’t misunderstand me. I agree with Paul. We have no business engaging in presumptuous, willful sin just because we know He will forgive us. At the same time, paranoid living, wondering if He really does love us, fearing that there is a place too far, is a true misery.

His love is not a potential. It is an actual. It is realized, ongoing, unending, deep.

In that, we can rest.

Stop.

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