Thursday, April 30, 2015

Come Alive

Easter is an awesome time of year where we celebrate what Jesus did. It's huge, it's powerful, it's life-changing, and sometimes, it's difficult to put into words what the Cross means.

But, lo and behold, I was asked to craft together an item for this year's Easter service at church. The theme for the morning was 'Come Alive'. It's quite daunting putting together something creative that can be open to interpretation by people and their personal ideologies, history, and paradigms. But after spending much time mulling over what it means to come alive, and to have a Savior bring you alive, the words below formed.

Props to our creative and dance teams who pulled off a diverse and thought-provoking item, with a little bit of Mumford & Sons thrown in for good measure. And double props to Andrew our tech extraordinaire who put together the video.

It's a beautiful thing when everyone works together to pull something great off.

/ / /

There are universal themes that weave their way through our lives. They are the threads that pull us all together, the common stitches that anchor the fabric of our existence into a garment of love and joy, pain and disappointment.

We all wear this garment and whether it’s comfortable and familiar or an ill-fitting cloak that wears at our senses, our humanity and our collective threads, are common and relatable.

But it’s when these threads become loose and unravel, where the safety and security of what we’ve always known - our beliefs, the foundation of what we’ve built upon, the safety of our created reality - when these fall out beneath us, questions and desperate pleas become the rhythm of our song.

It's in this place, where the chapters of chaos and pain read the same, that a story of hope rises out of the ashes of disappointment. It's in this place, where a Savior, who is not common, who is not one-size-fits-all, comes and mends our broken and loose threads into a garment far more stunning and majestic than we could ever purchase with our own efforts and striving. It's in this place, where we cry out, that we come to realize that our pain and disappointment do serve a purpose... to draw us into a dance with the only One who can bring us to our feet again.

It’s in this place, where we learn to believe and come alive.

/ / /

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A few things I know...

I know. I said last year that I would write more regularly. I know, I know. So much for new years resolutions. I managed to keep the majority of them. Well, probably about half of them. But hey, that's a vast improvement on setting none, keeping none, right? Lame, I know.

But in all seriousness... let's get down to business.

Lately, I just can't shake this voice in my head. I've tried ignoring it, I've tried placating it, I've tried keeping busy to drown it out. But I just can't shake that repetitive mantra in my mind... I should be writing, I should be writing, I should be writing. It was like a quiet shout. No-one else could hear the yell from inside my spirit... you're a writer who has stopped writing. But I sure as hell could hear it. And it got too much for me to ignore anymore, like I was failing to recognise a limb, or forgetting to exhale a tightly held breath.

So. I pick up the pen again, my weapon and my burden, to wield the words that will cause dry bones to rise, that will bring a relieving salve to wounds long nursed but not healed, that will deliver a cathartic release to the silent prisons many face in their own minds. Wow. Lofty words. But ones I pray, in time, will come to pass.

There are a few things I know:
• I know that regardless of how good they are, intentions don't mean anything unless you put them into action. Every morning I intend on getting up early, but when that alarm rolls on around early in the morning, those intentions mean about as much as my promises as a kid to pay my parents back for that loan to buy the latest Super Nintendo game.
• I know that in life, you will stumble, trip, fall down, and bite the dust. It sucks. But it sure makes you stronger. You find all these new muscles that you haven't used to their full potential until you have to get back onto your feet.
• I know that if you don't get back up again, you'll stay down. Profound. It's okay to feel winded, it's okay to feel things. Just don't stay on the ground. You can't move forward when you're stationary.
• I know that sometimes, your carefully laid plans won't come to pass. 'A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure' (Prov 16.9). Often our ideal pathway is God's easy-way-out.
• I know that there comes a point when you have to fight for your own freedom. People can encourage you and cheer you on and pray for you and say nice things, but, damn it, there comes a time when you just have to roll up your sleeves, pick up the sword, and go to battle for yourself.
• I know that you have to want freedom, otherwise you'll stay bound up. If you don't really want something, then you're not gonna fight with everything you have to keep it.
• I know that we don't have to do life alone, but you can certainly choose to remain solitary if you want. It's not the best choice. And we weren't designed that way. Sometimes you have to actively seek out company and friendship, not because you want to, but because it's good for the soul. Community is God's idea, it's who he is, and you're made in his image.

Just a few things I know. Maybe you already knew them. That's cool. Maybe this blog was boring. That's not cool. Either way, I'm writing again. And that's very cool.