Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Two Stones, a parable of burdens

“Carry those stones,” I hear the Spirit say.

In my path are two large stones. Each far too large to put in any pocket and much too heavy to put inside my bag. I take one in each hand and start the mile home, with a fistful of weight.

The stones are comfortable at first, not requiring much effort to carry. Why do we carry unnecessary things in life? Because they were in our path, and it somehow feels right that we should pick them up and take them with us. 

Block after block I meditate on the stones in my hand, fumbling with what feels to be an increasing weight of regret. “Why do I carry this?” I say sensibly. But the Spirit does not answer my gripe, because it is a bitter question without answer. 

Onward I walk, trying to make sense of this God-given task. Is it to mock me? I compare myself to the woman nearly-stoned for her sins (John 8:5), but no condemnation did I find. 

My arms tremble and my shoulders ache, but I do not let go of the stones. Instead of focusing on the heaviness of the stones I turn my breath to worship, listing without cease the praiseworthy things in the past, present, and future comings.

Thank you for Your strength in place of my weakness.
Thank you for Your love in place of my heartbreak.
Thank you for Your clarity in place of my confusion.
Thank you for Your beauty in place of my ugliness.
Thank you for Your hope in place of my doubt.
Thank you for Your victory in place of my failure.
Thank you for Your joy in place of my sorrow.
Thank you for Your light in place of my darkness.
Thank you for Christ in place of myself.

The worship does not take away the weight of the stones, but it takes away the yoke of the journey. Upon completion I find myself as far east as Manhattan will go, to the overpass and a river. 

“Why do I carry this?” I ask again.

“So that you can know the freedom that comes from letting go.” the Spirit says.

With a mighty shove I throw the first stone from my lofty place and then the second. I sigh and watch the two stones fall into the waters never to be carried again. The ripples of release make a perfect 8 in the black night. 

8 the number of New Beginnings. 

There is a lightness now. With a strength unlike before, I am no longer the weight of what I carried. 

In times when life is a heavy burden to bare,
May we remember always that it is a gift from You
Lord, You will equip us to walk through hard things.
We bind every unnecessary load and throw it into your hands
We pray for those that hurt us, and those we have hurt.
We evoke new beginnings in place of old shame.
In Jesus name,


 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” Luke 21:6

"...a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing," Ecclesiastes 3:5

"Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones..." Isaiah 62:10

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Evoking Ascension

It all started when the snow fell.

That's when She realized the season had changed. It was summer a month ago, or so it seemed. She remembered herself blossoming and glowing in its warmth after the previous spring. But her fall had left her dazed and in many ways too weak. She died in the snow. Spring, like an angel, came and melted away the naïveté of her past. Now all that remained of her was someone sort of like the color blue: not too bold but just sure enough. 

"I think you are a cloud," She says.

He lifts a brow but doesn't say anything. She knows He thinks she's crazy, because She knows deep down that she is. We're all crazy for trying to change the world that's already constantly changing. But He doesn't say anything, and She loves him for that. 

He's a bigger boy than what She's used to. He was like staring into the parting sky; like a single beam of bright light into dilated eyes, He gently touched the soul and burned it at the same time. He often joined her there in that comfortable pasture, and She'd ask him questions about his last adventure and where he was off to next. 

It was a kind of Eden for them to stay for hours with backs to grass and palms to heaven. They didn't have to look at each other to know the other was there, they didn't have to speak unless they cared to, and they didn't have to answer to anybody but themselves. And so it went like this from summer to fall, and fall to winter. Until the day came when He disappeared...

He had mentioned that he would be leaving again. He loves the freedom of the sky but also comfort of the ground upon which they would lay. It is his time, they know, to journey ahead and out of reach. 

"I think I am a cloud too," says She. "A big blue cloud."

She stands to her feet for the first time in years and saw that He had not yet gone at all. He had been by her side, watching her from above, and waiting for her to rise.  A cloud is what He knows he is, and that she too is the same. A fog is just a cloud that has forgotten its call to ascension. She swears to never return to the earth again unless to reminisce; for they were created for horizons, and only occasional mists. All because they chose to rise above, they can now simply float away.