Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 11:28

23
Apr
21

Fanboy Nerves

Have you ever met a celebrity?

Growing up, my best friend’s father was the weatherman on the Channel Six Nightly News. I always thought it was pretty cool to go over to Kirk’s house and see Nick Thompson – the guy who told thousands of people in the Columbus, Ohio metro area whether to expect rain, snow, sleet, or sun – sitting in his BarcaLounger in a T-shirt, smoking a cigarette, and reading the newspaper. 

Many years later my friend and I bumped into all five members of the Grateful Dead walking up the alleyway behind Seattle’s Paramount Theater. It was an hour before concert time and they were heading into the stage door, getting ready to play. In that stunned, star-struck moment, the only words I could coax from my mouth were, “Play good!”

What an IDIOT!

To that I can add meeting and posing for a picture with ABC TV’s George Stephanopolous [Trust me, there really IS a picture. I know it’s somewhere around here…] and bumping into Bo Jackson as he dropped off his clothes at a Kansas City dry cleaner.

Compared with some people I know, my list of close encounters of the celebrity kind is very short. The fact is, being in the vicinity of famous and/or accomplished people makes me feel awkward, unimportant, and small. I fear if I had more encounters to report, they would all include awkward, blubbering fanboy moments like the one I had with Jerry Garcia and friends. 

But here is the truly amazing thing for me to stop and realize; every day I bump into arguably the most famous, the most earth-shaking, most significant human being the world has ever seen! And instead of tensing up and stuttering, I come away overflowing with trust, confidence, and deep peace.

I am sure you know I’m talking about Jesus, right?

No, he didn’t make multiple platinum selling records, or interview Princess Diana, or set NFL rushing records, or walk on the moon.

All Jesus did was make the deaf hear, the lame walk, the blind see, and the dead live again. He only drew the dividing line between B.C. and A.D. on our calendars and got up from the grave three days after offering his earthly life as a sacrifice for you and me. 

Jesus merely set into motion a world-wide movement that has transformed the hearts of billions of men, women, and children and has survived every attempt to wipe it out. 

And yet… this awesome world-changer reaches out to you and to me every day, smiles, and says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29, NRSV). 

And you know what? 

He doesn’t make me even a little bit nervous.

Abundant blessings;

21
Dec
18

The Empty Chair

Empty Chair pictureIt is hard to miss… sitting there over on the left side of the family dining table.

The empty chair.

A silent witness to a place that will never again be filled… a testimony to the part of our story that will remain untold except in our hearts.

How is it possible to so desperately miss the predictable comebacks and cornpone comments that once came from over there?

What I wouldn’t give to be able to roll my eyes in mock anguish…

One. More. Time.

Of course, the empty chair is there every day. But it somehow looms larger this time of year… the time when traditions are unpacked and festive gatherings abound.

My eyes search that place, aching to see the face that once sat there,

Yet seeing only the emptiness.

Today I pray the empty chair might coax me into stillness,

Might encourage a silent conversation with a realm too often ignored,

Might help me see the bridge that stands between my solitary island of grief and yours,

Might somehow weave us invisibly together.

Will the day ever come – I wonder

When I am able to see and give thanks for the strange gift

Of the empty chair?

May God’s peace enfold and surround each of you who approach the Christmas season with an empty chair in your lives… whether it is for the first or the 50thtime.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”                        (Matthew 11:28, NRSV)

19
Feb
18

U is for Undaunted

(This post is the second in a series. Recently, my mentor/counselor/friend suggested I create an acrostic from the letters of my name as a way of claiming my God-given identity.)

The entire lifetime of Janis Joplin.

The whole of the time encompassing the birth, infancy, toddlerhood, preschool, kindergarten years, elementary school, awkward puberty, high school, initial dabblings in music, endless practice, mastery, brilliance, slogging along, touring, recording, stardom, struggle… the whole ride, all the way up to the tragic and untimely deaths of Janis… or Jimi Hendrix… or Jim Morrison… or Kurt Kobain…

27 years.

Nelson_Mandela-2008Which, as it turns out, is the same amount of time Nelson Mandela spent in jail on Robben Island, and in Pollsmoor and Victor Vester Prisons in South Africa.

Do you remember the moment? Do you remember seeing the live video, via satellite, on the day of his release in 1990?

I do.

I remember the joy exploding from his face… the throngs of adoring South Africans lining the streets, ten deep, calling his name, singing, dancing.

I remember the stoic scowls of the prison officials and guards.

Mandela emerged that day – from Hell – undaunted.

Whole. Unbroken. Unbowed.

27 years??? How is that even possible?

Was Mandela secretly a Marvel superhero… bitten by a radioactive spider… or born on a planet with a red sun in a far-off parallel universe… or charmed by a magic potion?

Or did he just figure out a way to tap into a hidden spring of Something… Something that might live inside every single one of us?

Can I too live undaunted?

Can I tap into the same Source he found?

Or must I first be martyred… unjustly imprisoned… stripped of freedom, dignity, and humanity in order to gain access to the deep wellspring from which Mandela drank?

Or is it mine for the asking?

Can it be found by those seeking release from different prisons; from the prisons of addiction, resentment, fear, or despair?

Is it available to those wounded only by rejection, hostility, loneliness, prejudice, or greed and not by clubs, bullets, and whips?

How deep do my wounds have to be?

How close to death’s doorstep must I crawl in order to taste this True Freedom?

Jesus says, “Yes. You can have it, too… whoever you are.”

Jesus says, “Come to me… for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28).

Yes. We too can live undaunted.




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