When the saints went marching

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MLK Jr. day was on Monday. I went to my first march and it was incredible.

The march snaked for two miles along Seattle’s streets. It started in the Central District, and moved through Capitol Hill, ending at WestLake Park. A multitude of people, fighting for a plethora of causes, turned up to have their voices heard. There were friends and families fighting for the Free Nestora Salgado Campaign.  There were those against mangling and powerful nuclear weapons that nations spend millions of dollars stock piling.

Nuclear WarHeadThere were Buddhist for peace, Iron Workers, Steel Workers Union, Teachers, Black Panthers, Communists, Socialist, The Rainbow Coalition, and every other strip in between.  

The largest faction of the day were the $15ph minimum wagers. Led by newly elected Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant, they were a sea of effusive crimson platelets surging forward for their cause.

The call – “What do we want?”

Westlake Mall

The response – “15”

The call – “When do we want it?”

The response – “NOW!”

I  am aware that many of the feet that ate up ground with me that day, would go in radically different directions to me on many, many issues. Be it economics, race, sexual ethics or religion, but there was a chord that bound us together. There was a throbbing, prophetic impulse, that echoed the Isianic cry of all humanity – “Oh! That you would rend the heavens and come down.” Is 64:1. It is a realisation that all is not well with the world, creation groans for redemption.

Although these modern prophets and preachers would balk at my religious reading of the march, to me it was 2.1 mile prayer offered. Joyful, intense, crude, sweat stained prayers; cries exploding from human hearts for heaven to influence earth again.

During the march, I saw around me a congregation of brother’s and sisters, mothers and fathers desperate for the will of the Father to be done. Sure, some of them see through the mirror dimly (don’t we all?) and some don’t even believe the mirror exists, but I know they echoed the heart of the Father.

My heart has been full, but aching, since the march. As a witness of Christ’s inaugurated kingdom, and a herald of the renewal of all creation, I want to meaningfully demonstrate the gospel to my brothers and sisters in the here and now. Bill Johnson in his book Hosting the Presence, p96 makes the point that since the treasure of heaven (the Holy Spirit) has been released amongst us. “To look for another open Heaven is to incorrectly steward the one we’ve been given.”  I pray that we will all be faithful stewards of our cities, towns, villages, hamlets and homes in 2014. I pray that we will add our time, voice, and money in coaxing the moral arch of the universe to bend toward justice.

amen —

This is life.

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I came home last night around 10pm. My wife had told me that our daughter was still up, which is unusual for her.

Nothing could have prepared me for what happened when I opened the front door. My 7.5 month year old daughter saw me, and before I could take another step in the house she squealed. A toothless, dribbling laugh that arrested all my worries, and incarcerated by concerns. Then she started to jump ecstatically on my wife’s lap, and beckoned me toward her newly created euphoric space, with her plump little hands.

I breathed in every last drop of her sweet happy dance, and burst into a smile. After exiting the stage of the days events, where I am judged on my performance, and critiqued on my output, it is soul restoring to slip behind the proscenium, and be anointed by the rich adoration of my daughter. Not because I performed, but because I exist.

In that moment she transformed ordinary life into a eucharistic act, and became a faithful witness of God’s unfettered love to me.

This

Is

Life.

Express Success

The interesting thing about university is that sometimes your greatest learning moments come outside of a classroom setting. One on one with professors, chance encounters with your peers, those are some of the most formative moments you experience. I had one of those moments yesterday. I bumped into a friend and we started talking. We shared our struggles and hopes for the future. He mentioned that many times when we embark on our God-given missions in life, we become side tracked, aspiring to gain the approbation of man and forfeiting the blessing of God. Often our limited view of others cause us to be rabid malcontents who are never satisfied. We desire the trappings of “success” that others in our field have reached, and the recognition that inevitably follows. In short, we desire their anointing.

In Palestine anointing oil was made by crushing olives into a paste using a large milestone, and then putting the crushed paste in between disks and through irresistible pressure extracting precious drops of pure olive oil. All that is left is mangled pulp, but the output is oil. My observation is that those who are truly anointed by the Holy Spirit go through painfully crushing experiences in private that produce public lives coursing with power.

It puts the Shepherds Psalm in perspective:

Psalm 23:5
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Before the table was the valley, before the anointing was the crushing. There are no shortcuts to the table, and there are no express lanes to GOD’s anointing!