Encouraging memes can fall flat when you’re in the middle of a firestorm. My experience is that problems or stressors rarely come alone. I’m dealing with X, but Q is spilling over, and my heart is breaking about T (and D through K).. I’m not sure I’m going to make it about P….
My daughter dropped a pebble she found at a fair while we biked and it was a drama. Some days later I turned out small pockets and found more stones. I kept thinking of this post so went to revisit. Maybe the message touches your heart too. Enjoy.
My son is a self-proclaimed ‘collector of stones.’ When I see a driveway full of rocks, he sees treasure. He searches for favorites and shows me his joys, describing and identifying beauty in each one.
I’m always surprised how unique they are when I start looking, despite being just rocks.
In February I got an email from my kids’ school to be alert for “trends and hypes.” All parents were encouraged to give extra thought to the cartoon figures we let our children wear or bring to school, via bags and lunch boxes. My kids attend a school that identifies as Christian, so we knew, in addition to extra singing/music, bible stories and praying, there would be attention to avoiding really frightening stories, or stories of witchcraft, zombies, etc. But this email called out Elsa, Anna, and even Superman. Uh, What??
[This post may be best experienced with speakers hooked up.]
Can we only experience God in a Cathedral or Sunday service? Do we need silence or meditation? If we’re searching with our hearts we might find *Him anywhere, but one powerful place is Music.
Now, I want to tell you a secret. When I’m waiting at the bike light you’ll find me tapping beats on my brakes. Sure, it’s a normal sight, but you probably don’t imagine I’m exploding internally. Amidst the peace and silence “outside”, there’s rowdy beats and wild noise inside me.
I’m a bit bible nerdy and instead of skipping over peculiar texts, I sometimes dwell on them. It’s a quirk I’m trying to appropriate so here’s my take on a text you probably never heard preached in church: The fourteenth day.
It appeared during Moses’ instructions to Israel before the 10th and final, most gut-wrenching plague. Every first born was to be killed and this plague sparked the Exodus from Egypt.
Remember “50 First Dates,” where Henry (Adam Sandler) meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore) who suffers from a rare form of amnesia? It’s a funny love story that shows how a devoted heart will go to all lengths, even self-sacrifice, to prove itself.
When watching we may consider our own relationship with God–atleast I did. Every day looking for *Him in Every. Thing. Hoping for an encounter in anything from a flash in nature, or a song, or moment with the kids, fill in the blank. The stuff where your heart flutters and you catch a glimpse.
But sometimes it’s like *He’s not there.
Sometimes, some days, some seasons, I feel nothing, sense nothing. I’m surrounded by Void. I hate these moments that unite against my heart’s grip on memories of when God showed up…
How can music banish a bad mood and transport us to a place where problems, cares, fear, sometimes even pain (and certainly time) don’t exist? For a moment there’s just that beat, or lyric line, or bass, or …plug in your own thing– it’s magic. I’ll be feeling down but if a song comes on that rocks, something changes–and even babies know the feeling:
Melodies can spark our spirits, balm our hearts, mirror something of our soul, and sometimes floor us. Who needs Ecstasy when some tracks are flat-out orgasmic?
And Music also heals Socially…
Just think: when we rock to the same jam, things like Race, Gender, ‘Status,’ etc., disappear. Love takes shape in a sea of people grooving. Unity, peace, joy, no fear, no shame, No Problem.
If God really existed, why is the world so wrecked? And if *He is so “good,” how could He let those things happen to me…? (note: I use He/His as pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female ‘identity,’ for lack of a better word, as evidenced throughout the Bible and the human race. 2-pt post here if you like).
Just one look at the suffering and oppression in this world –not just against people, but all creation– and it’s hard not to stumble on belief in a good God. But blaming (or denying) Heaven for all the woe ignores our God-Given freedom to destroy everything just fine on our own.
Hands can hurt flesh, and mouths can speak death, yet we rarely see God grab someone mid sentence, or mid swing. And if He did intervene every time we exercised our freedom, would we really be free?
Our lives have been marked by boundaries: the boundary of the womb, the boundary of the crib, the boundary of the skies… and we push these walls, kicking against the dark in the uterus, climbing out of cribs, dreaming of flight and touching the heavens.
It seems like all boundaries–from the glass ceilings to the Berlin Walls, were meant to be destroyed…
But some of the greatest walls rest in our Hearts.
Imagine with me. You have all the power in the world and want to showcase it. What would you do first? I asked this to a group of kids and their answers ranged from world peace and feeding everyone, to jumping out of a plane with no parachute, or bringing a loved one back from the dead.
How about you? Would you rescue someone? Is there a moment in time you would change?
Jesus, the reported “son of God” faced the same question. He also faced the hatred of God-fearing/revering religious leaders (Pharisees) who considered the “son of God” stuff blasphemy. After all, if you’re the son of God, you yourself must be “God” and thus all powerful (amongst other things). (And now we can all call ourselves sons and daughters of God..).
God can use anything to get our attention, from a song on the radio, to a kids movie. As a recovering Pharisee (aka, avoid-anything-not-blatantly-God), this was hard for me to accept, but Disney’s Frozen blew my mind (5 Lessons from Frozen I didn’t see coming here).
I recently saw “Oz, the Great and Powerful ” (2013, with James Franco), and it was chock full of heart lessons. Here are three that touched me, and I hope you too. (Warning, Spoilers!):
Today my son was cranky. Going out for breakfast with four children– three of them 4 years and under– isn’t easy or fast and my eldest was annoyed. “It’s too druk!” he protested (Dutch for busy/hectic), and I tried to soothe and encourage him. I shared about family from the perspective of The Incredibles (many God-lessons come from kids movies, like Frozen), noting that when they fought side-by-side they were the strongest. But my son didn’t want to hear, much less see me.
I suggested he walk ahead so it was like I wasn’t there, but he started to cry: ‘You are always there!”
The world got quiet and slow and in an instant I had a heaven-flash…
Is this what I said to you, God? Is this why we can’t “see” You? Did I not want anything to do with You and, didn’t trust You had my best interest at heart, and, from eternity, was totally fed up with “Your Presence”?? Ouch.
One of the saddest glimpses into God’s Heart comes from this paragraph from Paul of Tsarsus: