Monday, April 23, 2007

Virginia Tech and HOPE

Free EP at

Pass it on to those you know who need a glimpse of hope after this devastation

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Resurrection reflection (Mary Magdalene)

“Mary.” Hearing that one simple word, my name, changed everything. To be honest, I was crying so hysterically when I first saw him that I didn’t even recognize him! I thought he was the gardener. The gardener! Didn’t he teach that he was “the vine and his Father was the gardener?” Well God, I guess he is looking more and more like you the longer I know him.

When he said my name, all the confusion and chaos of the past couple of days came to a halt. All of a sudden my identity felt secure and affirmed. I never pictured Jesus going about things this way, but there he was, alive, and once again, helping me understand truth. He calls me by name, he calls us by name, he meets each of us where we are, and has the power to restore everything that’s broken.

In any case, I had been so upset because I thought maybe someone had stolen his body. Everything that had happened the past couple of days was almost unbearably heart-wrenching. Seeing my teacher, my friend, up there on the cross was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Perfection sandwiched between criminals. Dying a humiliating death in front of people who persecuted him up until he gave up his last breath. Why did it have to be like that? He used to hint about this, but it was too cryptic for me to imagine what was really going to happen.

And there was an earthquake as he died. It was as though the earth was grieving the loss as well. I couldn’t tell which was louder, the chasms being split open on the ground, or the crashing happening inside my heart. Both were devastating. That morning was so dark. The clouds that came over the sun came over my spirit as well.

And then I was supposed to prepare for Sabbath? Yeah right. I felt angry, I felt restless, I felt out-of-control; the last thing I wanted to do was be still. There was no peace to be found this week. I stayed as long as I could outside the tomb. His mom and I and some others reminisced about Jesus’ impact on our lives. I don’t know if it was good or bad to do, since it made us all the more grieved.

I remembered the state I was in when he first found me. I was a mess. I usually don’t like to think about the demons that haunted me, but for a long time they were all I knew. They kind of ‘defined’ me. I believed a lot of lies about myself back then. When Jesus came into my life, he got rid of all of them. I didn’t have the power to do that on my own, and believe me, I had tried lots of ways to seek peace before meeting him.

Go figure, he was the only way to true peace. And he still is. When I was crying in the garden and he came to me, and said my name, I felt a surge of joy run up through my body. I hadn’t felt that in days, and I grabbed him, wanting to be as close as possible.
He said I couldn’t hold on to him, though. That he wasn’t staying. He was going to be with his Father, and told me to tell everyone about him. So that’s what I do now. I tell people, like you, about Jesus. I tell of his teachings, and how he changed my life. And the joy and peace I have now can’t be shaken. He is alive. And he calls me by name.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Birthday weekend

Some times when everything goes wrong, everything is right; though far from what you expected. Los and I planned this fabulous weekend away on the Washington coast for my birthday; and a couple hours into our adventure everything fell apart. “Our” plan was interrupted shortly after we reached the middle of nowhere, because my car decided to break down…
I was devastated. I lamented to some poor office lady at a crusty, greasy automotive shop how it was my birthday, and my spring break from school, and how my husband had just come home from the Middle East and I had such high hopes for this weekend… I am embarrassed to admit now that I felt so sorry for myself, I could not stop crying, what a sob story! But what could she do? It was 5pm in the middle of nowhere, on a Friday afternoon. Shops everywhere were closing, and my Acura needed a part that was hours away.
This was bad news to me, the kind of person that loves to plan details. I have been called anal, OCD, you name it… and I’m okay with that. I like order, I don’t like surprises. So when Los said that our weekend was going to be great, because, “God’s plans are always better than plans we can conjure up,” I was skeptical. That lasted about 3 minutes.
Rather than stay in this one-stoplight town, we decided to leave my car and carry our stuff (including dog crate, can you say awkward!) to the county bus station, to head back to Port Angeles, an hour and a half away. Thus began the grand adventure…
We had scarcely taken our seats when a young man clad in black skulls and bones sat across from us. I was too self-absorbed in my world of pity to acknowledge or engage him, plus, he looked scary; so I’m lucky that Los (my better half in many ways) is more mature than I. He began chatting with this guy who had lived his whole life in this small town, Forks. He said how thankful he was and how lucky he felt to live somewhere so special (on the edge of National Parks/forest/ocean) and beautiful. He got off the bus a minute later, at the stop for his home. All I could see out the window was a big trailer park…
He was in our lives one minute, and out the next; but I don’t think I will ever forget him. Forks is one of those places that are all across America, you blink and you miss them. Compared to the port cities or lakes/rainforests around it, it was a run-down little blip on the map, nothing special about it at first glance. But this guy’s pride and thankfulness for his home jarred me, as I reflected on how I had just written it off as some God-forsaken place of destitution.
How often in our lives are we so set on our goals that we miss the lessons/people along the way; judging them (as I had) to be insignificant. Life isn’t just about getting from A to B, but about the process of change we hopefully go through as we journey toward our destination. In a sense then, the journey IS the destination. I pray that it doesn’t take another “break down” to realize that I need to stop and look around at the beauty everywhere and in everyone.
He immediately impacted my attitude, and I took advantage of enjoying the mystery that was going to unfold throughout my birthday weekend. Los and I got a great room on the ocean, had a great time walking around the cute downtown, at dinner, and running along the shore. We bought a sweet chandelier (to be cool like Chris/Megan!) that will be a memory of the weekend for us.
Saturday we rented a car and went to the Quinault Rain Forest at the recommendation of Budget Travel; that was awesome. Ruby Beach, above Kalaloch, was another gem of a place. We had a lot of hilarious and awkward moments (e.g. not being able to find anywhere nice to stay Saturday night, so going to Ross to buy pillows before staying at a motel, where we listened to/yelled at the couple above us who were, as they say, knocking-the-boots for what seemed like forever, down to joining the horde of gay men dancing to techno on the ferry for the ride home) that will make that weekend memorable for a long time to come. Yes, it’s true, Los is right; the best stories never come from things you planned, when I thought everything was going wrong, everything was as it should be.

Jesus- the clear paradox

Unfathomable, yet made known
Glorious, yet made visible
Eternal, yet entered time
Who are you?

Mighty, yet came as a baby
Powerful, yet humble
Just, yet gracious
Who are you?

Most high, yet descended
Killed, yet ascended
Tender, yet stern
Who are you?

Always steady, yet always new
Consecrated, yet compassionate
Wildly imaginative, yet simple
Who are you?

Light-shiner, temple-cleanser, world-saver, thirst-quencher,
bondage-breaker, food-provider, humanity-teacher, dignity-restorer,
eye-opener, shelter-giver, dead-raiser, feet-washer, heart-consoler, life-sustainer,
joy-lavisher, the ultimate intercessor,
and our King!

Oh sight-giver,
May we see,
Who You are.

“Who are you?” they asked.
“Just what I have been claiming all along,” Jesus replied.
(John 8:25)

-CME rev. January 2006

Sunday, April 1, 2007

"For better or worse..."

I will fight for you
because I believe in freedom
I have tasted
I have seen
I know it's power

Bringing beauty from ashes
Restoration from rubble
breathing life
into death
water for the thirsty

Chains of captivity
no longer able to bind
nor lies able to deceive
space has been made
to receive truth

Fertile ground for planting
seeds placed with care
Showered with God's grace
tended until strengthened
with love and patience

I am committed
I'll go the distance
Wading through the muck
to get to a place of healing
I will fight for you.