Saturday, May 22, 2010
I've come across a couple of things online (most notably HERE) this week that have, perhaps, informed this post. I'm an avid (sometimes too avid) blog reader and podcast listener, and the subjects of kings and kingdoms have come up a couple of times this week.
I remember in a YWAM team meeting quite a few years ago in Canada, a friend leading our discussion asked which picture of Christ from scripture we relate to most. I said "king" right away.
A few in the group found it hard to relate to Jesus as King as we do not have royalty as a part of our everyday life. We do not have kings much anymore. Human kings are usually terrible. Kinda like politicians but they don't have to sneak around to do evil stuff. Either that or we think of the type of figurehead kings and queens that exist today. They're nice enough, usually promoting good stuff in their kingdoms (healthy living, peace, etc) but do not wield any real power to do get things done.
I've also been pondering lately a concept that I have been calling soul recovery... ways to remember, restore or refresh in my life the deep rich truths about what's real, true and beautiful. It seems the systems of this present darkness are bent on categorizing us into enemy camps and complicating our lives. Pitting us against one another in order to bring fear, confusion and perhaps make a buck out of it. It's tough out there.
I listened to a great talk this week by John Granger about the exercise of reading and specifically reading imaginative fiction as a way to recover your soul. I could not recommend this talk highly enough (you can find it HERE) The gist of what he's saying (he obviously says it a lot better than I ever could so, yeah, take an hour and listen!) is that reading the right kinds of books, unlike Eustace Scrubb in Lewis' Voyage of the Dawn Treader who read "the wrong kinds of books", will put you in the place of recovering your heart, recovering the heart of what it means to be human and to live your life for sacrificial love.
This was the reason for the answer I gave long ago and why I'll still say it. I am a lover of fantasy fiction (nerds unite!) which usually carries with it themes of someone with inherent royalty that lives and responds to others with sacrificial love and humility. These kinds of stories have always called out to me.
I believe it's because we are hard wired to long for the Righteous Reign of the Good King. This is why politicians make us angry, why greed and corruption gall us, why we notice injustice. This is why we cry at the end of all the Narnia stories and when Aragorn is crowned. We know how it's supposed to be. We know when it's not right.
And then today, I read Psalm 72, subtitled "The Reign of the Righteous King"...
"May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, save the children of the needy and crush the oppressor."
"May he come down like rain upon the mown grass, like showers that water the earth"
"In his days, may the righteous flourish and abundance of peace til the moon is no more"
"he will deliver the needy when he cries for help"
"He will have compassion on the poor and needy...he will rescue their life from oppression and violence, and their blood will be precious in his sight."
"may those from the city flourish like the vegetation of the earth"
"Let all nations call him blessed"
And with this in mind, it makes it that much more meaningful to pray with my mouth, my heart and my whole life the prayer that Jesus taught...
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..."
Monday, May 17, 2010
You can only post so many pictures of flipping burgers on South 9th Street. But during a great BBQ this past Saturday with 412 Crew youth group of Church of the Cross here in Modesto, I caught Arlie feeding a new friend.
Friday, May 14, 2010
At the very end of April and beginning of May, we hosted a team of Junior High students from Sacramento for a small outreach here in Modesto. We've never worked with a group so young (several of them were 12!) and didn't know how they would respond to our style of non-work project/relational outreach. That's them up there, eating at one of our favorite taco trucks.
They did great! They really caught our heart to listen to people's story and give folks the grace of listening. Their last night with us, we threw a BBQ for the South 9th Street community.
I was flipping burgers on the grill which puts me kinda in the center of things and there was a time when I looked around and saw all the kids patiently and kindly listening to someone's story.
There was one group of kids that listened to a struggling friend for two whole hours. Yeah, TWO! It was beautiful. This was a nice night on south 9th St (I know for you locals, that sounds a little strange) but God really met us down there and we had a great time with the people and the group did so good.
After we cleaned up and prayed our last prayer, their leader wanted to take them for ice cream and that's when we remembered Elvis Karaoke at our downtown A & W. Oh yeah.
Me and Jimmy got things started...
And the group got into it too...maybe a little too much ! : )