Calling Forth Life

A favorite fairy tale of my childhood was Toads and Diamonds. I probably missed the point of the story because I was so absorbed in the gorgeous illustrations. Of particular interest to me was the picture of the kind sister spilling jewels and flowers from her tongue (while I hurried past the page with frogs and snakes coming from the mean sister’s mouth). Apart from the practical difficulties of having a BeDazzler built into one’s anatomy, I was fascinated by what a trail of beauty goodness can leave in its wake.

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A Soft Answer

They were feeling me out, poking to see what I was made of. Mischief sparkled in their eyes, and gentle teasing bounced toward me. This lunch was the first of many among new friends, and I felt a mighty push to impress. Gathering every ounce of wit available, I opened my mouth. My young heart swelled as the pert joke aimed at my jousting opponent met laughter. Was that admiration in their eyes? Really? I had discovered my superpower—a quick tongue. And so it began.

I’ll give you three guesses as to where this is going.

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Resurrection Rhythms

“Though [death] come, God came first and in Christ has walked through it before us and walks through it with us. The good Shepherd who daily bears our burdens bears this burden as well: He carries us through death and into life.”

(Kimberlee Conway Ireton)

Our culture is terrified of death, so we pump ludicrous amounts of money into the industries of beauty to delude ourselves, health to stave off the inevitable, and entertainment to numb our souls in the meantime. But, friends, this is not the kingdom way.

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A friend recently pointed out that the population of Connecticut moves to rhythms rather than to routine. As a native Okie gal, I found this observation intriguing; my soul took a deep breath and smiled. Of course! Of course Connecticutians (or Connecticutters, or whatever they may be) adhere more to rhythm than routine. And of course this would be another reason God meets me in New England in the places I’d least expect.

So my soul sways to rhythms, taking a cue from the weather (which, today, is deliciously foggy but warmer than it’s been in months). There are three possible responses to this fact: I can struggle against it, be dominated by it, or embrace it. There’s really no point in fighting rhythm, so the first one’s out. Being dominated by it doesn’t sound like much fun either. How, then, shall I make the most of this tail-end of winter?

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More Curious Than Certain

(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on March 4, 2019. You can find it here.)

“To be, or not to be?” “What’s love got to do, got to do, with it?” “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?”

Questions have always held a deep fascination for me, but pretty early on I learned to stick to what’s known and acceptable. I’d be doing just fine, marching along to everybody else’s drum, when that dang inquisitive streak—the one that made Sunday school teachers constantly run for cover—would raise its hand. Little me figured out that periods bring relief, while question marks bring consternation.

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The Naming

Your fingers hold tight to the pebble you picked up in the most important moment of the life you just left. They say you can’t take anything with you, but no one ever seems to remember the rock. Bubbling with excitement, you scan the crowd and take it all in—you’d never imagined so many different shades of beauty and the mostly exotic rhythms of language swirling about you now. Grins everywhere. This is Christ’s tribe, anticipating the great billows of music which begin the ceremony. You turn your pebble over and examine its shape, color, markings, so foreign all those years ago, now as familiar as your favorite song. Jesus, who had met Peter on the beach with breakfast and forgiveness millennia before, met you there, too. He asked for your heart and gave you this smooth stone to put in your pocket.

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