Sunday, December 6, 2009

wake up

tonight, a homeless man asked me why there wasn't a place for them to stay every day and night...

i didn't have an answer.

then he will say to those on his left, 'depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. for i was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, i was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, i was a stranger and you did not invite me in, i needed clothes and you did not clothe me, i was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
he will reply, 'i tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

Lord, that i may see the world through your eyes...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

beautiful thinking

εύνοια... "beautiful thinking."

i randomly found this word a few days ago, and it immediately intrigued me. what in the world does beautiful thinking really mean? but it has struck me in a powerful way, and i think i'm just now beginning to get a glimpse of what beautiful thinking truly is.

forgiveness. another intriguing and powerful word. the very heart of the gospel. i've been on both ends recently, and it never fails to absolutely floor me. just think about the premise for forgiveness. God sees us in our sin, all day, everyday, and yet somehow looks at us new every morning. and keep in mind that this 1) in no way has to do with any redeeming qualities of ours, and 2) is a choice made by God. God didn't just look at the world one day and say, 'Oh, poop, the humans screwed up today. well forget that then...' no, no, no. he knew. he thought. he planned. he decided to forgive. beautiful thinking.

...and yes, God does say 'poop.'

which leads me to another recent revelation God has shown me--i am a middle school girl. yikes.

i've spent a lot of time with some middle school girls from the neighborhood in our dance program this past week. lemme give you a brief picture of one day's events. on the ride over from school, one of the girls was getting a little sassy at me when another girl quips up and says, "you can talk to her like that, but we don't; she's our friend now." don't ask me where that came from. your guess is as good as mine. but don't get your hopes up just yet--the day has just begun. then comes the blatant disobeying of any rules ever established by us. oh but then you get a hug and a "yes ma'am." oh but then the effect gets negated when 1 minute later the same girls start screaming at you and out the van window. oh the joy of it all!

by the third day of being with the girls this week, i was exhausted and at my wits end. as i arrived with the girls from school, however, downtrodden and disheartened, God spoke to me in ways only he can. He stared back at me from the faces of 8 middle school girls and said, "you do this to me everyday, too." every. single. day. my BFF, my BFFL, my BFFAETE(best friend forever and ever til eternity, for those of you unaware of the lingo). think of how you feel when you have to forgive or be forgiven by a close friend. now multiply that by like, a trillion EVERY DAY. it's absolutely insane to the membrane...or is it beautiful thinking?

we all just want to be loved. there is a song by don henley(amazingly redone by the one and only India.Arie) called heart of the matter that speaks this idea of love and forgiveness to me. one line goes, "how can love survive in such a graceless age?" i'm convinced that showing and practicing grace and forgiveness are the very means by which we learn to love. the people in my life who have shown me the most love, who have shown me what it truly means to love someone, are the very people i have hurt the most. shoot, i wouldn't have any friends if it weren't for God's plan of grace and forgiveness. but the most stunning part about this is that i wouldn't have love either. because amidst any hurt, anger, or confusion i cause or have thrust upon me, there is a place of joy, of love, of redemption. to use another song, God's plan presents to us a perfect place where joy and sorrow meet. is God showing me that the practice, the application, the very acts of love are really the art of grace and forgiveness?

i guess God lives for those moments when we get it right. or for when we realize how far we fall short with every breath and turn ourselves back to him. cause as crazy as it sounds, i feel the love of God, of my sisters and brothers most powerfully in the form of forgiveness. and that goes for giving and receiving. it's down right beautiful. oh, it's hard all right. when i looked at the girls on that fourth day this week, i had to make a choice to forget their past wrongs, to draw to the forefront of my mind that God's grace and mercy is new for me every morning; shouldn't the grace i give be the same? what beautiful thinking.