A quiet beautiful sunset. The fire crackling around me. Gurkha 'legend' burning, with the smells of cedar and spice. Birds chirping and my dog dreaming of getting every one of them next to me. I've had so many decades of victories and defeats. So many life changing intersections of pain and pleasure. My bride of 30 years sitting on another macbook behind me quietly reading. Ok the dog just brought me a racquet ball and keeps re-dropping it at my feet. Nope... I shall not be moved. I'm savoring this brief moment. No thoughts of 4AM to 12PM worship crisis moments or notes and emails of what should or might have been mixed with glory reports. Nope, I'm savoring this moment.
I know God loves me and it moves me to tears.
I don't deserve a second of it. We'll I don't feel like i do anyway. But I'm lovin it. Like a son sittin next to his dad and all I can do it look up and say "thanks dad, you're the best". You don't need me to do anything. You've done it all and it will all make sense some day. How you make triumph out of tragedy. How allow free will to destroy what You mean for good. How natural laws kill what you meant to live.
But the breeze just hit my face and the smoke just filled my jeans with the greatest smell on the planet. And like a lovers scent, I'll pick up my jeans in the morning and remember it all. Nope I shall not be moved. Heck, I might just get a sleeping bag and stoke the fire all night. Been there. Done that. Don't care what the neighbors think... I shall not be moved.
And you God. If you thought the thoughts about me that I do sometimes, I think you'ld have given up on me already but nope.. You shall not be moved either. You cheer me in victories that I don't self proclaim, you cheer for me when I'm down. You ache for me when I fail over and over and keep trying to keep me looking at the cross.
I know that in the midst of it all, you read my heart. Yup it's the one thing I hold onto in this life. I know You know my heart.... and every other breathing mortals heart trying to make sense of what's impossible..
Then there is the pursuit of understanding You. How can I? And when I try, and the deeper I attempt, I just get more questions and fewer answers. And in the end it's always Faith, Hope and Love.
And I don't know about you, but the older I get the more forgiving I become. The more tolerant I'm becoming. And when i go the other direction it brings only sorrow and division. And Jesus? The one who came and changed it all. Who rescued me and put hope into my days. To whom I owe it all and to whom I fail over and over every day. In the words of Andre Crouch... How can I say thanks...
Well. I can try to be real. more real than ever before. Heck who am I kidding anyway. If we are lucky enough to wake up tomorrow breathing we should be asking ourselves how do I try to make my dad proud of me. What has He taught me that can help me be better today. How can I show someone I don't know that there 'is' hope, that Faith works and Love wins in the end.
Everything the western world teaches seems to be "me" driven. Pride, winning, beauty, money and self-righteousness. Mix that with religion and it's an impossible dish to eat and be healthy.
I've never felt more human, more fallen, more lost and yet found. Never felt sadder yet happier about life. Never felt further yet closer to God. Never felt more in need of all that Jesus did for us and thankful and undeserving than today. But I shall not be moved. Where else can I go... You can't deny your own experiences. You can explain them away with science or thought till the enemy of your soul (oops, sorry, a supernatural thought) robs you everything. And it will if you let it... But I shall not be moved.
Can't imagine what Jesus carried at the cross. The weight of all of this.... for all of us..
Here I can begin to take a left turn into biblical theology that no one really cares about except scholars who want to argue who's really right... Nope not going there. You don't really care. You just want peace, you just want joy, you just want to know you are loved.
I sat with two young arabic men in a hot tub the other night. All tattoo'd with arabic phrases and looking very threatening to an older white male wearing a cross and a jewish star on my neck. Silence. There was silence. And i prayed. Lord my boys are that age. I love them and I looked in their eyes and remembered my early youth and narrow thoughts. And I began complementing them on their body art and hair cuts and working out ethics and commitment to God. And I smiled, and I asked God to help them listen and find His voice and to let me be an arrow of Faith, hope and love. And they saw my symbols and we shared smiles and handshakes and God said. "I'm all over that".
And I guess they might think I hate them down deep and I guess I might fear they might just be willing to throw a grenade in my hot tub if someone convinced them to. And I guess we might have just moved one step away from those fears in a real smile and an honest hand shake. And i cant wait to see them again.
And in the end the sun is going down now, and the fire smells better than when it started hours ago. The chill in the air makes me want to be in a mountain camp with the smell of trout on my hands and dirt under my nails. And I close my eyes and I'm there. And it's beautiful. And I'm thankful for all the people who have loved me, and spoken and lived beauty in my life. And some have come and some have gone and I miss them all right now. And I wish everyone I ever loved could be sitting here, right now, next to me , in the moment, hearing my heart say "I feel so close and yet so far" from all that will be one day. And i believe in you, and the fire is burning and the grace is overwhelming and I shall not be moved.