Flights of Faith

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Healthy Justice and Messengers of Love

It seems like there are some times when justice making and restorative works of compassion require our own personal lives to be off kilter for a season. The work in Haiti is one example. Relief providers are making necessary sacrifices and the enormity of the events have led to disharmony. This is not ideal, but it may be needed for a time. We can help this through expanding communal resources. This pace adjusts over time as we have seen with New Orleans. The rebuilding effort can be part of a replenishing and healing lifestyle as opposed to full tilt acts of service. Time settles.

In fact, some local issues are always meant to be lived out of a healthy rhythm as opposed to a random banging of the keys. So many of the friends I've interacted with around homelessness or youth violence would never want me to damage my other friendships, fall into bad health, or even ignore my school work. They don't need someone who is dying (or letting other things die) to help them. They need a lifegiving force, just like I do. I need to be an integrated person who is working on wholeness to provide another image of what restoration and healing looks like. I need to see that in the mirror. Others need to see it too. That's the only way it will be sustainable. Otherwise, we become bodies who toil and labor, burn our bodies in the flame, and we hope no one will notice the damage. The truth is the difference between an alive spirit and a dead one always can and will be felt.

This is a tough word for me and for many others with sensibilities to serve and to do justice.

If there is a force that loves us and wants our spirits to be alive, then it means that force cares more about us than our ambitions (however positive we think they are). It also means that the force might thwart our plans for the sake of us getting connected to a sustainable, lifegiving source. That seems counter-intuitive but if I try to envision myself as a parent, then I think I get it. I wouldn't care if my daughter was working for global climate change if she was getting no sleep and falling into destructive patterns or relationships. I'd try to rescue her. I guess someone like God can do that perfectly. I'd have to be in that smooth rhythm. Otherwise, I will be just another victim of ambition and striving while leaving a Love that actually works.

Love is. True love is ready made with the stuff of purpose, direction, call, sustainability, abundance, and power. All we have to do is listen to where we are supposed to take it and how we are supposed to show it. True Love will never be careless or random. True Love always has a mission, and it always starts a path to save, heal, and transform. We cannot get around that Fact and that is good news. We are carriers of Love. We shout Love's message. We do not deny Love's name. We are creative with Love's power and Love's familiarity and vastness for all. We acknowledge that Love, named or not, is always freedom. We understand that Love is a narrow way. It calls us to die, to go deeper, to sacrifice.

This might not always be heroic and cinematically appealing. It might mean trusting something or someone we've feared. It might mean being humiliated or feeling weird by something we're called to do. It might mean giving up something that looks and feels very nice. Dying is not just martyrdom to physical life. It is a slow and long death that starts when we realize Love is a force that changes us. It pushes darkness out, and brings light in. We begin to realize this Love we may have embraced in small part is after all parts of ourselves. This Love has patterns. This Love is unpredictably predictable. This Love seems trustworthy even if it calls me to the farthest reaches of the earth or invites me to stay where I am the rest of my life. I could always act like I don't hear or tune away from Love's station. I could always rebel. I could always justify. I could use my sliver of a tongue to flap off any number of convincing responses as to why Love is wrong, and I am right. This would work especially well for those who aren't connected to Love. Honestly, remaking 'Love' to my own image seems like a waste of time. Maybe, I'll make my last stand when I'm being particularly disobedient about a big life choice. I don't know. I guess I hope not. It's just that I love Love, not just the things that Love does for me or I do for Love. I actually just am in love with who Love is and Love's attributes. It's ridiculously attractive to me because it's all who I fail to be alone, and it's all I'm becoming when I walk with Love even though I stumble often. Patient, Kind, Does Not Envy, Does Not Boast, Is Not Self Seeking, Long Suffering, No Record Of Wrongs, Does Not Delight In Evil But Rejoices With The Truth, Always Trusts, Always Hopes, Always Preserves. Love Never Fails. And I want it badly.

Maybe the tension is this: How do we run to save and heal and also be still and know Love? I want to be known by Love, not just a stranger who does Love's work. I'm still learning, but I want my feet to feel the coolness of the water running past. I want the breeze to be Love's whisper. I want the Sun to be a promise that this isn't just for me because it shines for all. Yet, I feel its burning as a reminder that others are not warm despite its presence. What is it like to be a messenger of Love? Maybe, it's just being aware of what is happening around us and simply following the way of Love.

7 "But blessed are those who trust in the LORD,
whose confidence is in the LORD.

8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."

(Jeremiah 17:7-8)

May we be blessed to know and love a Love that will never leave us nor forsake us while accepting and welcoming a Love that always desires more of ourselves.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Simple Truths, Hard Actions

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Let's join God in this work, yea?