Sunday, November 21, 2010

i carry your heart with me

with surprising frequency these days, i find echoes of the gospel in film, literature, and song. perhaps this is inevitable, as it is God's own story, the message that is resounding throughout creation. yet it always seems to catch me off-guard - and maybe for that reason, it arrests me and draws me again to him. i hear his voice assuring me of his steadfast love and faithfulness, as when i recently heard the songs "bridge over troubled water" and "i'll stand by you." i see the irony and wonder of his calling on comparatively small and weak beings like us to play an indispensable role in his purpose of defeating evil and bringing redemption to his creation, as seen in the epic "lord of the rings" trilogy. and today, i found the heart of true worship in a poem by e.e. cummings. to whom can we truly say these things? there can be only One.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings - i carry your heart with me

Monday, November 01, 2010

object lesson

i enjoy using object lessons in my teaching. they're fun, and they're memorable -- sometimes more memorable than the actual message. i'm betting that someone still remembers the time i preached with my shirt (purposely) misbuttoned. and i know for a fact that some folks who went to that first all-church retreat i did for lighthouse back in 2005 haven't forgotten the notorious underwear object lesson; i'm less certain they remember the point i was trying to make!

of course, i wasn't counting on being an object lesson for so much of my life, though even a cursory reading of the bible might have given me sufficient warning (cf. ephesians 3:10, john 13:35, ephesians 5:32). sometimes, i am a cautionary tale (a voice from heaven warns: "don't let this happen to you!"), but more often, i am proof that God is both merciful and generous. perhaps i've been both in marriage.

m and i celebrated our 23rd anniversary tonight. i accompanied her to her systematic theology class (what's more romantic than three plus hours discussing the doctrine of God?), after which we went to shanghai garden in the international district of seattle. unfortunately, i forgot to pack the camera, so all i had was a lousy camera phone (hence the photo quality in the collage above), but that didn't diminish our enjoyment of the hand-shaven noodles and succulent scallops. afterward, we went in search of desserts (don tat and our first-ever paris brest - filled with an amazing pumpkin custard!).

in between delicious bites, we reminisced about our favorite memories of the last 23 years. for m, that included our family's around the country road trip from montreal to seattle, our annual family trips to pinnacles national monument when we lived in california, and our time in montreal (a fun season of ministry together, with a highlight being the international christmas camp in 2005). i cited m's and my first vacation trip to mendocino (we stayed at the lord's land), the sight of m in her re-designed wedding dress (made from her original wedding dress, which was deconstructed and completely redone) at our renewal of vows on our seventh anniversary, and playing board games with our girls (from special rules for the girls when they were little, so that they could be competitive, to special rules for us when they got bigger, so that we(!) could be competitive).

as those of you who have prayed for us over the years well know, we've had some serious trials -- some from within, others from without. i'm not proud of the fact that i've been responsible for more than my share. but through it all, God has been (with a tip of the hat to s.m. lockridge) enduringly strong, eternally steadfast, and imperially powerful. our anniversary is a reminder of his faithfulness -- and yours. we give our heartfelt praise to God, and our earnest thanks to all of you. years ago, i was given a word that we have the privilege of proving that God's promises are true, and that has been on full display in our life together.

through many dangers, toils, and snares
we have already come
'tis grace hath brought us safe thus far,
and grace will lead us home

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