Archives For Lent

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Wings stretch and earth darkens.

From West to East, wrists to wood
From the river of bitter vinegar, to where it merges with blood from the north.

South past open flesh,
.                        before which mockery stood.

To where pierced feet meet;
.                        on branch intersecting branch;
.                        where branch kills the vine,
.                        and the vine is laid to rest.

All within the borders
.            of an empire, and an empire’s hornets’ nest.

To where silent spaces are professionally sealed
For fear of blind and impassioned zeal.

Before the scarlet X.
That marks the scarlet spot;

To the place where men and women,
.                  embalm the unforgettable
.                  with a burial cloth.

Look to the place forged by Light;
.       to the heart of where the darkened,
.       once received their sight.

To where the sudden presence of the messenger
disturbed the guards and the still of night.

There you’ll find that death
.         and boulder was no match for Light from Uncreated Light.

There the fire-born, who stands inside this broken enclave.
turns to humanity and sets its gaze.

“From God comes His own humiliation.
This; God’s self-limitation, now become your exaltation.

This unforgettable vertical collision,
lifts the now forgiven.

Therefore, rise as you are raised.

For I tell you the truth, He is Risen!”


(©RL2017)

‘In the person of Jesus Christ, in the death of the Son of God on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. God allowed this humiliation to come upon Himself and this exaltation to be the lot of the other, humanity […] God could not be more glorious as God than in this inconceivable humiliation of Himself to humanity, and the no less inconceivable exaltation of humanity to Himself.’ 

-(Karl Barth, CD. II:1 pp.662-664)

Homeschooling is an ever evolving journey, not an ever revolving journey.

There are some areas that might fall into the latter description such as, ROTE learning of music theory, chemistry, Latin, Koine Greek and mathematics. For example: formulas, elements, phrases, alphabet, and rapid recall multiplication, addition, subtraction and division.

I wouldn’t be so quick to place Bible memory verses into a revolving journey category simply because they apply to both a revolving and an evolving journey; more so the evolving than revolving, because as we grow and face new life experiences the Bible speaks for itself to us in different ways.

The Bible confronts us. Although God remains the same and His Word remains unchanged, when we are met by this Word, we do not remain as we once were.

Maturity in the faith isn’t being able to rattle off a bunch of scripture verses. Nor is it based on my church attendance record, Instagram followers, vanity metrics, “friends” or high hitting blog stats. Maturity in the faith is recognising how scripture verses rattle us in our sin, out of our sin; out of complacency, apathy, negative stubborn patterns of behaviour and selfishness.

An evolving journey is about character development, whereas a revolving one implies that we’re stuck, immovable. Like Sisyphus forever pushing the boulder.

An evolving journey is still forged by routine. The difference is that in an evolving journey new routines break old ones. This is one of the reasons we observe Lent.

Lent provides an opportunity to reconsider routine; to act against unhealthy habits. It’s a small part of a global commitment from Christians to observe, review and let go of the certain things in our lives that slowly consume us, the more we consume it. Within that comes the humility to recognise that no matter how successful or privileged we may be; we are all still sinners in need of a Saviour.

Participation in Lent doesn’t have to be complicated, overly planned or structured. It just requires commitment. I won’t say simple commitment, for the reason that I know even the smallest of fasts can sometimes be the hardest.

Author, activist, Pastor and urban theologian, Eric Mason wrote:

‘In rabbinic culture, disciples walked behind those whom they followed as teacher. They would literally follow their master around imitating him […] Following Jesus always means abandoning something else that preoccupied our lives prior to grace passing us by and being preoccupied by Him. To follow Jesus is the follow the grace of God. The Christian life is filled with things that will seek to deter us from following Jesus. There must be a point in our lives where we decide we are committing our lives fully to the master.’
(Mason, 2014)[i]

It may not seem Holy, and it may seem too simplistic, but this year my wife and I committed to ditch our after dinner snacks. We like to celebrate our only alone time together throughout the week and this is one way we express that.

Our kids made their own decision. They were asked to come up with their own joint fast. After much discussion, they presented us with their agreed upon proposal. The consensus among them was to fast from streaming movies, including YouTube kids, Netflix etc[ii].

This is what being part of the Church; or as Karl Barth would state it, the Commonwealth of Christ, means to us. Being part of the Church is an evolving journey that sometimes, though not always, involves the revolving door of routine. Lent comes in many different colours, applications and ethnicities. What unites all those in their diversity is Jesus Christ, the absence of Pride.

For Lent to be what Lent is, humility must win. It is a time for a more active participation in the life of God; a time where minds, deeds, hearts and attitudes are directed towards focusing more intensely and intentionally, on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Homeschooling isn’t always filled with routine. It involves random group activities or popcorn and movie marathons like watching Ben Hur. Like lent, stopping to look and listen for lessons as they present themselves requires humility.

As I’ve pointed out few times here in the past, pride is not compatible with love, self-denial and grace go hand-in-hand.

It requires stopping, breathing in grace and exhaling the dust accumulated over the past year. We are set free by God to do so, if only we would ‘submit to God, and resist the devil’ (James 4:7)  and ‘put on (not put out) the armour of light’ (Romans 13:12). Like Bible memory verses the evolving journey involves new routine that breaks unhealthy routines that have long ago over-stayed their welcome.

We are broken by the Word of God, pulled out of mindless routines, soul sucking environments and away from merciless task masters. Called to remember that by, in and through Him; His faith, His journey, His-story, we are made new and called out to live as one who is adopted by a Father who reached for us, so that we may be free, and therefore permitted, to reach out for Him.

‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5, ESV)


[i]  Mason, E. 2014 Beat God To The Punch: Because Jesus Demands Your Life,  B & H Publishing

[ii] Lent is 40 days and doesn’t include Sundays due to it being a traditional day of celebration.

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Light from Uncreated Light RL2017

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The drop in temperature
.     preceded the mist’s silken stroll.
Words sprinkled down.

Like snow, their slow fall,
.      caught on branch and leaf,
.      and these melting words,
.      filled the earth beneath.

The patient cascade of living water.
The colour of Christ’s red-royal-robe of white,
.      spelling out, “behold, life from uncreated life!”

The shimmering emphasis of divine repetition.
Wrestled from the hands of broken human volition.

The consequences of hot headed men, and power hungry women.
Those who’d left God for dead in their decisions.

Instead of cleaving themselves to God
.              cleaved God to their ideas
.              and in vain submission,
.                        let ideas become the god of
.                        their own self-justification;
.                        the mirror image of self,
.                        the deep evil in the Garden’s violation.

Failed gratitude
Warped considerations

All for approval and the prospect of substantial renumeration.
Though overlooked
.          Each quiet word, as if an earthen tremor.
.                   Each still small voice, as that of thunder
.                            Each cool puddle of water,
Filled with proclamation

Speaks only of emancipation:

.           “Behold, the dark advanc
“Behold, the dark advance of lordless night,
will unexpectedly be countered,
.            by the Lord of light from uncreated light!”

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“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”

(Romans 13:12-14)


(©RL2017)

.         ‘The Church is therefore enlightened by
.                the light of eternity, by light from light uncreated.
.                      The question is whether the Church is able to recognise this light’. 

(Karl Barth,1922 The Epistle to the Romans, [1933, p.374]).

 

Shimmering Descent

February 23, 2016 — Leave a comment

Moon Set RL2016

With a slow slide,

          the fading mirror yawns.

          This morbid lamp,

with precision

         releases its dim handshake.

 Pointing towards time,

          announcing the fulfillment of promise;

life-giving light,

                fresh mercies

and a new

                 blazing dawn.

Into the West,

          the lunar sets,

And this pilgrim rides

                 its shimmering descent.


(RL2016)

Lament.

 What Jesus the Christ gave and what He received in return…

 A visual reflection on a Lenten Lament:

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Artistic process:

This bread was made from a RiverCottage recipe by my beautiful daughters. I used instagram, cartoonize.net and the standard photo editor that came with windows 7.

It looked so good we decided to use it as a display, in order to photograph it for our Lenten reflection.

A Lenten Litany

Inspired by Psalm 42:1/Romans 8:15/Hebrews 12:1

We shudder.

In loving gratitude, we are brought to our knees

Because we are reminded of whose we are,

and the who we are becoming.

Crying out, kyrie eleison we join the great cloud of witnesses, contemporary ancients participating with the Spiritual agent.

When we allow God as Father to work through His son in our lives,

The

Spirit

Shatters our defence mechanisms and our primal survival tactics

He turns us away from the proverbial kill or be killed…

Allowing us to breathe,

Allowing us to smile,

Allowing us rest,

Allowing us to heal.

The Spirit.

He who intervenes,

He the chosen incarnated one removes us from perceived indelible stains,

the kind that chain us, bind us and define our identity,

and

He frees us to be free for Him.

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