Fresh off the first weekend of my third (and FINAL!) year of school I am left with hands full, palms up and open and dripping as life giving water runs over them. I am struck anew by the idea of a fountain flowing down and raining Good Words on the world, comfortable words.
We talked about this circle of God, how it flows to me, to my own tools and channels, how it flows to those who are calling for what I have, to me giving that, and the changed lives like small campfires across a plain, plumes of smoke rising in thanksgiving to God for lives changed. We talked vocation and the sacrifice that is behind that, the call to lay down ourselves, to let folks think we’re crazy to have had a word from God, to embark on this path that requires us to empty ourselves when the well, the replenishing waters, are not very close at times.
Today we talked about how we can make disciples of all nations. Ok. We talked about how to make disciples in our own ministries, and parishes, how to raise you all up, how to equip you, how to send you forth. In light of the weekend’s news, the Facebook videos and the posts from folks on the scene, we need disciples now more than ever my friends. And I think we might be closer than we know.
I think if we can show our people what it is means to disciple, what it is to dig deep and to be brave and to witness, if we could have workshops where we shine up our courage like silver – I think we could make so many disciples that the kingdom could be realized. I think that you, friends, have to desire for more than sterile news and stories that don’t touch you. I think that you, friends, have to see these folks as yours, as ours. I think you need to realize that we belong to each other, and that a revolution will take every body (I mean that, Every.Body.) to carry out. I think you, friends, need to put your brains to the side for a moment and listen with just your hearts to the call for justice, the call for solace, the call of a people who long to be free.
Because deep down we long to be free too.
I need you to slide back the bolt on the door, unlock the window, to take, brick by brick, down the wall that guards your heart, I need to you to be vulnerable, I need you to feel so deeply. And then I need you to act. I can show you how, #deaconschool hasn’t been for nothing. I am being equipped to lead an army, but I need that army friends.
You are so needed.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Rich Mullins lately. I remember seeing him, just a few feet from his own bare ones as he drank a Diet Coke and paced the stage barefoot in Levis. Sometimes he would go to the piano and play and sing, he would play the dulcimer and the guitar. I came into that situation so unwilling, and came out so filled. And so I’ve been reliving the wisdom and the lyrics of this man and learning at a different point in my life his wisdom, his transparency, his brokenness and his own longing. And I’m so sad that he isn’t with us anymore, but I wonder how many disciples he made.
And I knew today as I hurtled down the highway toward home that I am one.
I learned this weekend that faithfulness has a context, I learned that theologians do too. It seems that there are so many layers to everything, that is there is always something more, which is both discouraging and exciting – all at the same time.
I feel that there is so much more to say. I feel that I should make fliers or t shirts or something, that I should stand somewhere on a street corner and proclaim that the kingdom is SO NEAR…
That it is with the clergy who sang a Sunday School song to drown out the hate speech of white power.
That it is with the black cops who had to protect that same speech.
That it is with the people of color who stood up instead of standing down.
That it is manifesting itself every single day in the laugh of a baby and the dying breath of a person who departs knowing they are forgiven and headed home.
That it is in the friends who were missing the weekend, broken off pieces of the body of Christ that is our community, that is our church and our home. Friends who had to leave as the body must be broken, because to remain intact and at home cannot save anyone; not even ourselves.
The kingdom can be coffee, friends. Fuel for the day. And a whitenoise app that helped you sleep.
It can be a hymn that a professor allowed you to choose, that you don’t, when it comes to it, know. It can be the grace that you find there as a community makes up the tune and sings it gladly.
Thin spaces are all around us. Kingdom spaces.
And I feel as though I have been brushing against one for some time and not realized it until now.
I love a show on PBS called Grantchester. I acknowledge freely my brother’s concerns that the vicar isn’t managing his church as he solves mysteries. And I love it still, especially the parts where he preaches or is actually a minister (few and far between).
A few weeks ago this vicar said to a dying woman, I believe in the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, wait on the Lord. Be of good courage and he shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say wait, on the Lord. And it sounds like Psalm 27.
But sounds like more.
And I couldn’t find that more until today.
Today I rode home with part of my cohort, my people who understand what it is to hear and to obey this ridiculous call to empty with no replenishing fountain in sight. After spending a weekend talking about just that thing. After a weekend of encouragement.
I thought about spending the next week away from home, living in a hotel room that has great toiletries but doesn’t have the frustration and wet heat of my kids. A place that doesn’t have the squeak of the door as Casey comes in, tired and dirty from the miles he has walked to provide for this family. A place that doesn’t have a small black and white kitten who loves Justin Timberlake (suit n tie!) and baths.
And the thing I had asked for, in every open space of intercession all weekend came to me. I stood under a rain shower of peace. I felt it lap against my toes like the big lake down the road. In my heart I heard “be of good courage and wait, wait I say on the Lord.”
And I wept a little. And I sang come thou font of every blessing as I invited this spirit, this kingdom, to come deeper in. To nestle down, to pitty pat like a cat and to make a home.
And I believed that word and I will wait on the Lord. I will wait.
And I just know that something is coming, friends. You guys, I just know it.
I’ve spent a whole weekend talking about how crazy I am to obey a call to servanthood, a call to the logic of the cross, and I am not afraid to tell you what happened.
You all, y’all, friends.
I am learning how to equip you.
I am learning how to lead you out.
I am living in thin and uncomfortable spaces where the spirit speaks. I am called to walk to Jesus across the water. I am coming for you, I swear to God that I am. I am coming. It isn’t long now.
Please show up.
Reach out your hand to mine.
Come with me.
I love you still.