Monday, September 22, 2008

honeymoon revisited

Matthew 11:28-30

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
(thanks, Jess)


Psalm 23

God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

I've been pondering a lot about 'peace' recently.

Paul's letter to the Romans outlines that salvation is marked with the knowledge of "the way of peace" (3:17), that "the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" (8:6), and that, if it is possible (disclaimer #1), as far as it depends on me (disclaimer #2), I should "live at peace with everyone" (12:18).

Everyone? Forever, ever?

Don't get me wrong, I don't go around finding it incredibly difficult to be at peace with people. Being at peace with myself has been an interesting journey but even most of those angels have been wrestled and I'm now entering my blessing.

But the way of peace, controlled by peace, and living at peace with everyone does not yet define who I am.

Recently, my mover has been surfacing and I feel more like the infamous words of Tybalt describe me better: "What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word."

Will "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding...guard [my] heart and [my] mind" (Philippians 4:7) only after I reach an end to my own understanding?

Why is it that King Asa of Judah (2 Chronicles 14-15), whose "heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life" enjoyed the luxury of fortifying Judah's cities "since the land was at peace...no one was at war with him during those years...for the Lord gave him rest" only after he demolished the Cushites and violently cleansed the country of idols, even disposing of his own grandmother, the queen?

What of Ezekiel's vendetta against prophets that soothed Jerusalem with "visions of peace for her when there was no peace" (Ezekiel 13:16)?

Isn't it Jesus that says (in the same gospel of Matthew, only one chapter earlier than the scripture from Jess): "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword"?

Does, as Jess often claims, the Lord have a both/and character instead of a either/or character?

I am tired, worn out, and burned out on religion. I want to recover my life. I want to take a real rest. I want to learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I want to live freely and lightly.

Amen.

2 comments:

Andrew G said...

chew, La

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