i'm not going to apologize for my lack of activity in this space for the last three months. in fact, i'm not going to say any more about it but this...in that absence...there has been no lack of real activity or thought...it is simply that what i have been learning...what has been shaping me, challenging me, encouraging me, devastating me and pressing me is so close to my heart and involves those that are so close to my heart that it hasn't even really felt right writing about them...and so i have been silent. but the holy spirit has not been silent. in fact the spirit has been very active.
so i walked over to this house the other day with a friend of mine and sat down on the front steps with him. he didn't want me there. he told me he didn't. he told me to leave...but i didn't. there were others there who didn't want me there either. but they didn't ask me to leave. and i found myself watching these men and women filling themselves with their drug of choice. three drinking beer...a couple, vodka...and a couple over in the corner of the porch smoking crack...seemingly oblivious of my presence...none of them caring...all of them controlled by deep pain of their addiction. and i found myself thinking...is this what it was like jesus? is this what it was like when you sat with those who were seen as the worst of sinners...the outcasts? it this how you felt...what i am feeling now...a sickness in my gut that screams in sadness? and i realized...not in the least bit. it might have been similar to that...but i don't think it was how jesus felt. here i m sitting there on the porch...praying for my friend...praying for the others...and all i have to do is love them. talk with them. speak truth to them. be jesus to them...except...not completely. because as jesus sat with the sinners and the tax collectors, what must have been running through his mind was that...although some got it...some realized their deep need for him...there had to have been others who...oblivious of jesus...continued in their ways...
and all the while...jesus thought about how he would die for them...oblivious or not...he would die for them. and so all the while, he was truly loving them.
and so i sat on the porch of this house and realized...this is what it is about. it is about leaving the security of the yard where so many come through in a day and setting aside the familiarity of the environment where so much has taken place in the last several months and going where jesus went...to the houses where no one else was willing to go. it is being willing to sit with people who are oblivious of your presence...over and over again...and being jesus to them. instead it isn't dying for them but dying to self. my wants for them...my desires for meaningful conversation...my hunger for true breakthrough in at least one of those lives...all of these must die. and i must be jesus. and i...above and over all else...must desire jesus. jesus must sit on those porch steps and pray for those people.
it is what paul means when he speaks about "attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of christ" in his letter to the ephesians. it is what john means when he insists that we ought to be like-minded with jesus in love.
and it is what jesus meant when he called the twelve, saying..."come follow me."
because that's just it...to follow jesus means to be jesus...to a hurting, darkened, lost and dying world...and to those who have already seen the light and know him.
and so when i wrote back in march that i wanted to live a wild life that is moved by the holy spirit...there was truth in that...but my heart has changed over the last couple months. it isn't that i want to live some wild life that is misunderstood or seemingly wreckless...although i'm sure it will be seen that way by some...
but i want to live jesus. dangerously and passionately. even amongst those who are oblivious. and i want to be his bride. i want to be intimately married to him as he calls us to be.
so i will listen for hours if it means giving a voice to a man who has had his voice stolen from him by the world.
and i will study the scriptures with a drunk man who may not remember the time spent the next day...simply because jesus can breakthrough even the most intense drunken stupor.
and i will talk with the dear woman who lives next door about her tomatoes because she is just as beautiful now and matters just as much in the eyes of jesus as she did when she was young.
and i will sit on those porch steps again and again...laughing and joking around with these friends who do not know quite yet...and will...all the while...be praying that jesus will show up in those moments of laughter and camaraderie.
and i will fail at times. and i will fall short at other times...and on my face at other times.
and that is okay...as long as continue to learn from my weaknesses and replacing them with his strengths. because at the end of the day...what brings the fullness of joy is to know and experience and live out the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
and that fullness is undoubtedly beautiful in every way.