Saturday, 7 November 2009

conversations at church in the park... and talking with Papa about it all, afterwards

Sept 13, 2009

This morning (Sunday) I was up at 3 am to set bread dough – and make fried bread (and cow patty cookies). Realized my deep fryer just doesn’t heat up like it used to… so I heated a pot of oil as well… and the bread was all fried in double quick time! (So I had time to make cookies, and not be in a panicky rush…)

So right now, at church-in-the-park, there are about 20 people or so gathered around… and talking about how we trust God (a topic brought up by the gathering… Pastor P purposely did not plan a sermon…).

When the first 8 or so people were here, Pastor P (as usual) led in opening prayer… and then someone else prayed (and prayed!)… and then someone else shared the BIG trials in his life in the last 3 weeks – and how God has been with him in it all…

And since then I’ve had conversations with so many… I love this, Jesus! Thank You!

(I want to talk to You later about church and stuff, is that okay?) (But now I’m going to listen to the conversation going on right now… please let YOUR voice be heard clearly in it! Thank You!)

……… later ………

Papa, (I love calling You Papa… and Father… I love that You love me, that You are my Father – Abba, Daddy, Papa – and I am Your little child! Thank You for revealing Yourself to me in this way. I read it over and over and over in Your Word, and yet for so long I felt so – disconnected – I saw that relationship between You and a few others – and wondered at it – and then You opened my eyes and heart to the reality of it, the experience of it! Today I mentioned The Shack book to C, and he said immediately, “I don’t like that book!” … so many people say that to me… yet countless others have found amazing reality of relationship with You, in it… It is a book written by a man. It has “problems, theologically” (though not as crucial as some would say, I don’t thing… though they might rejoinder that it is the subtlety of it that is the greatest danger!) but You HAVE used it… of course I’ve known people who won’t let their kids near the Narnia series… and I suppose even the Screwtape Letters could be seen as making the “senior” and “junior” devils seem “too human” (C was concerned that “The Shack’s” depiction of Jesus made Him seem too laid-back, too friendly, not enough the “Suffering Servant” … and others are freaked by Papa being portrayed as a black woman – though Papa’s later portrayal as an older white male seems to be seen as more “acceptable” to some, which is kind of strange because You aren’t that either, really… just as You are Aslan the Lion, Jesus… of course You are “The Lion of Judah” … oh my goodness, people freak about things…

Interesting… I guess a lot of our reactions have to do with our personal perceptions and experiences with You: for C, coming to understand Your holiness and Kingship and majesty and so on has been an amazing step forward for him… while for me, coming to know You as my loving, amazing, personal Father – my Papa – has been an amazing step forward for me… hmmmm….

I gave E that copy of Perelandra. I wonder… will he allow You to speak to him through it, Papa? (C thinks E was just “baiting” me the other day, with his questions about the Bible and all… but I don’t know – I didn’t feel baited – although he was defending his “position” and his “questions” … Papa, You reach each of us in different ways because You know our hearts… and I wonder if he’d keep coming back and asking questions if he didn’t, really, at some level maybe he himself doesn’t yet even recognize, long for Truth! For You! I suppose some people who question a lot are just showing off, or seeking to have someone affirm conclusions they’ve already chosen (those “tickling ears” perhaps, eh!) – but questions can also be seeking… and those who seek You will be found by You – and thus find You – relationship! Eh? Yes!

About the scripture about King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:5-21)… I wrote it down because when I read it, I heard You telling me that I have been prideful about my “success” in the “position” You’ve placed me – planted me, even granted!?!?) – at the church office. Oh Papa, I am sorry. Please help me be constantly aware – and humble – and glorifying You alone… knowing – and sharing – that this is YOUR doing… and YOUR strength, gift, work…. Because boy, oh boy, if I really was a “neutral” kind of person, I would have “helped” the “church problem” a long time ago… but rather I, like others – no, worse than others! (like Paul – chiefest of sinners! Ouch! I’m sorry, Lord… thank You for showing me so graciously, when what I deserve is judgment and punishment – death!) (Sorry….) have been a gossip (terrible! The worst!), self-righteous, self-sufficient, critical of others (and You… I’m so sorry…), impatient, BITTER when others ignored my “great ideas,” etc, etc.

Well, oddly enough, that is so often how You work… through the weakest, most hopeless, useless, sinful, destructive vessels… hard to understand, Papa… I feel humiliated to think of where I’ve been, vis-à-vis that church (and my PRIDE re church-in-the-park… I’m sorry….)

Papa, thank You for loving me – unconditionally! That is amazing!!!

Thank You for this beautiful, awesome, sun-shining, light-breeze, fall-smell-off-the-lake-waters, wonderful day.

Thank You for Your amazing family!

Thank You, Jesus, for loving me so much that You died – for me! That You would have died just for e even if I was the only “failure,” the only “sinner!” (That is beyond amazing, to me…).

I liked what C said, how when we are with You in heaven, somehow we will all be able to be with You – at once, and yet, individually – as of course we are already, all of Your children, each of us, individually and together – but then in an infinitely greater way, because we will physically be face-to-face with You! I don’t understand it all, but boy oh boy, I do long for that day (in Your perfect timing, eh!)  Cool! (Some folks might say that “cool” is an inappropriate expression – but really, that thought is so cool! You understand, don’t You!  thank You!)

C dropped by and picked up the yoga/exercise mat I’ve had around here for years (left by one of my girls) and I only used once, I believe… so I offered it to him this morning; he is sleeping on the ground (in sleeping bag) these days… and gave him the petty cash from my pocket… after all, I prayed for him that You would provide for his needs (and quoted the little song about the cattle on a thousand hills, while praying)… and You have been really impressing me about not withholding what is in my power to give to those in need… and that You will bless – me! – for it! Wow! Especially “Wow!” since it all came from You anyway  !!

Every day, more and more, I am thrilled to be part of Your church! Your body! Your family! Your kingdom! Praise God! Amen! 

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