Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Blessed are the...

For the past few months I have not been able to shake the urge to notice people.  I try not to stare but my curiosity gets the best of me at the strangest of times.  For example, I was at Whataburger the other night with some friends and I couldn't help but observe the guy at the cash register as he slowly worked the clock down.  This guy was just another spoke on the wheel, an employee we all ignore from time-to-time as we gaze above his head to decide on the #1 or #3 combo meal.  Once the order is made we fork over the cash and wait for our Whata-meal.  But I cannot stop thinking about that guy!

Who is he?  What is his family history?  Why does he have that job?  Is he happy?  Does he get embarrassed when people his own age come in to order food?  So in an effort to actually connect, and not ignore, I asked how his night was going.  "What,"  he jerked his head back towards me as if I were speaking another language.  In truth I was speaking a different language.  Instead of barking orders or asking for more ketchup I simply asked how he was doing.  When he finally responded, he cracked a smile and said "tired."  The entire discourse only took about one minute but I could tell he appreciated it and so did I.

Do you think people know when they are blessed?  I mean to say, when Jesus tells us "blessed are the poor in spirit...blessed are those who mourn," do you think the poor and mourning ones know they are blessed?  I would guess not for most cases because they don't feel that way.  However it is precisely these people Jesus sought after because they were overlooked and seemingly useless.  For those of us who seek to live out the principles of the Kingdom of God, we see people like my Whata-friend and an opportunity to love arises.  It's not just an opportunity for us to seize so we can prove that we love others, rather it's a chance to let that person know he/she is blessed.  Ours' is a ministry of blessing others and not just waiting to receive blessings.  I wonder, who are the people in your little world that are waiting to hear the good news of being blessed?   

Monday, October 1, 2007

Missing my Love

As a music connoisseur I, by proxy, must enjoy all varieties of music; this includes love songs. Perhaps my favorite modern love song is by the rock band Incubus.  Their song "I miss you" tells of the lead singer's heartache over missing his love, even though she "has only been gone ten days."   It seems he is left to wander around the house, searching for signs of his love.  Eventually he describes his longing by saying, "I see your face, I smell your skin on the empty pillow next to mine."  Even the smell of his love arouses the deepest, simplest need for her presence.  

Yesterday my love, Allison, returned home after a weekend visit to get away from school and be with me.  For three days she graced the space inside of my home, leaving her sweet aroma in every room she visited.  When she finally left and I came home, I could only wander around my house to search for signs of her.  The bed where she slept was unmade, the towel she used laid drying in my bathroom and her Bobby pins rested on my chest of drawers.  These traces allowed me to track where my love had been.

On the same day I was missing my love, I experienced a deeper need for the presence of my biggest love: My God.  I went to the places where I had met Him before: church, the quietness of my room and holy scripture.  I stumbled around aimlessly searching for a sign of God.  For a long time now I have been doing a lot of things for God, trying to know about God and serve Him at the same time.  However, these pursuits have become tiresome as I truly miss His presence.  I miss laying at His feet and being changed by His presence.  I can learn about Him, talk about Him, read about Him and still not know Him or be known by Him.  

I never understood why, in scripture, Paul sometimes called God "his God" (see Phil. 1:3).  It's not as if Paul made God or kept God as some controllable possession, so why would he call God "his God?"  Paul describes relationship with God as "being known by God" and "being found in Him" (Gal. 4:9, Phil. 3:9).  As my fiancee Allison has pointed out to me, Paul's reality of God was so powerful and so earth-moving that he had no other choice than to believe.  It was Paul's combined past, present and future interactions with God that made God his God.  In the same way we would describe someone we love as ours' because we know them, Paul described God because he knew Him and was known by Him.  

Search out the love letters He has left for you in scripture.  Find the fragrant aroma of the Christ in your daily living.  Please join me in being discontented with a cursory look at God. Let's stare deeply into His faith so that we may be changed into what He has made us to be (2 Cor. 3:18).