Tuesday, June 14, 2016

shalom: for these days when nothing is as it ought to be

I'm starting to feel like the world is one giant swirling gust of wind.

Swoosh... there are ants in my kitchen and I can't seem to get rid of them. The bug guy says they live in the walls. SUPER!

Swoosh... my left eyelid is starting to wrinkle at an unprecedented rate, like it's in a race to look eighty-five before I hit fifty. It's so ahead of its time. I think I may name this new wrinkle "Adele" because it says Hello to me every time I look in the mirror.

Swoosh... my daughter asked to be baptized spontaneously last weekend.  We squeezed this monumental moment between first service worship and my son's baseball game. She also cut all her hair off last week, so basically my baby is all grown up now. Waaahhhh!!!!

Swoosh... so many people we know have hit a wall and  are believing for a miracle of some sort. Miracles and justice are hard to find when we really need them. I'm pretty sure they're out there, but they hide in plain sight and it takes time and faith to see them.

Swoosh... the election is more complicated and confusing than we can bear. Every election reminds me that I don't actually understand the intricacies of the political process, but this time around I also am learning I don't understand anything about people, the media, psychology, speech writing, political parties, or the best way to fry an egg. (That egg part was randomly placed in there because I am that confused about all the other things- I don't think it actually has anything to do with the election. But maybe it does. I don't really know.)

Swoosh... people are gunned down in an Orlando night club. Girls are trafficked right off our streets. Foster kids have nowhere to go. What are we going to do, you guys? How can we right the wrongs when they are in such great abundance?

Swoosh. Swoosh. Swoosh. I can barely stand some days.

James 4 says our life is like a mist, appearing one day and disappearing when the sun appears. No wonder the swirling wind of life affects us this way.

Then I pull out this old video of my daughter when she was three years old, and somehow her disjointed theology makes me laugh and remember that faith doesn't always have to make sense to be true.


Can you see God? Yes. Can you see God? No. But God is always with you. It makes me think of the disciples on the boat in Luke 8, stormy winds swirling, and Jesus right there asleep in the boat. I want to shake Him awake with my prayers, but I also want to amaze Jesus with my faith that because He is God with us, everything will be okay in the end.

Gosh, I just want everything to be okay in the end.

Morgan preached about Shalom on Sunday. Shalom means peace- the kind of peace where all is as it ought to be in the world. My new dream is to make space for shalom in the lives of the people I know and love. Even if my personal shalom is small, I am trusting it will grow.

And so today, I am making cookies for the neighbor who has never spoken with me until last week, when she told me in broken English that she "want to be friendship" with me. I want to be friends with her, too, and cookies are the best way to say "friendship" I know.

I'm folding laundry and filling the pantry with food and playing a card game with my kids, because shalom is in all those acts, too.

I'm saying Hello back to that wrinkled eyelid, telling my aging skin it's doing a great job facing the world without the collagen it once boasted. Shalom looks like being a little more kind to my own self some days.

I'm writing a book about ministry and all the ways we bear in our lives the gospel of transformation, and all the ways we suffer for the sake of a higher calling. Because shalom comes in the form of pastoring and shepherding our churches.

Most of all, I am praying. I pray you find shalom in God's presence. I pray that even though the wind blows and it seems nothing is as it ought to be in the world, you find you find a way to lie down beside Jesus in the boat and rest until the wind dies down and the boat carries us all home.

Shalom also means being brave and clinging to this promise Jesus gave us:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
-John 14:27

Peace, shalom, and Happy Tuesday, you guys. I love ya bunches.

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