Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Ugly and the Beautiful

My children’s bible had three pictures in it. One was of the crucifixion, and, I confess, it mesmerized me, so I flipped to it often and stared long and hard. Baffled, I would wonder,

do that?!

Crucify someone?

Who could inflict such gruesome torture?

What’s worse, it looked pre-meditated, which made me wonder something else entirely:

do that?!

Be crucified?

When He could have called ten thousand angels?

I graduated from my children’s bible never knowing what to do with that troublesome image. At least I didn’t have to look at it anymore. That is, until Easter week rolls around each year, when I grapple with these questions anew and revert to the little girl with inadequate answers.

The cross makes me squirm.

I never know what to do in the days leading to it. Living ordinarily seems all wrong. I attempt to observe, acknowledge what unspeakable, singular thing Jesus did on that cross, but that makes me wholly aware that I’m injured beyond recognition by my hideous sin and gross need.

I am undeserving.

Every feeble attempt at a response feels unworthy, as it should, I suppose. I am undone, at a loss for word or deed. My inhibitions are stripped away by the shocking spectacle, and I do the unthinkable: I draw near to the bloody cross with the beaten Man, the One unrecognizable as God, and yet He is.

It’s all so ugly and beautiful.

Not knowing what else to do, I fall flat before Him; I am rendered righteous by Holy.

And I stare, baffled, uninhibited, drawing nearer still.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Difference Between Anthony and Me

Finishing my impromptu "to do" list in the corner of my notebook of sermon notes, I looked up in time to see him. Anthony, holding his father's hand, galloped slowly to the altar and tossed a dollar bill into the air. It float gently down into the offering box on the altar, but he was already trotting down the opposite isle and out the door to children's church still holding his father's hand. Anthony is four.

I know. I'm not supposed to make a "to do" list in church, but sometimes that's all that goes through my head when I bow for prayer, even the offertory prayer on Sunday morning sometimes.

I figure if I can get it down on the page, I can get it off my mind:

Reagan's costume
schedule interview for article
fold clothes
Adrian's work schedule
call Mom about Easter lunch
baby shower gift

While I'm gathering all my responsibilities into one neat, doable Tower of Babel on the page, Anthony's tossing his paper bill up to God not bothering to wait and see if God's basket will catch what he exuberantly let go of.

I wondered about the difference between Anthony and me. ...

I'm writing the rest of the story at Laced With Grace today. Come on over and let's ponder our differences.

Laced With Grace

Friday, March 8, 2013

Spontaneous Friday Dance Party


Just for fun, I'm talking pop music today.

I have three teenagers, so it's inevitable.

It happens in the car, in the kitchen, behind bedroom doors, into Adrian's microphone even, and up little wires into their ears.

Their music is only "off" when they are in school.

And, yes, some of it is Passion Band, but some of it is Taylor Swift.

Mike was playing his Christopher Cross Pandora station while the family was foraging through the kitchen for a snack before bed.

And although he is a teenage boy and not a whole lot trumps food (especially when it's been two hours since he last ate), Adrian closed the refrigerator door still empty-handed and stepped to the glowing screen. He began typing a list of songs from the Christopher Cross channel into his phone for downloading at a later date. And then he said this:

"When I'm old, I won't be able to share my music with my kids like you guys did. Every one of these songs is real music by real musicians with real instruments and real talent."

Thus began an impromptu retro dance party in our kitchen at 10:30 one night not too long ago involving John Travolta and a flashing neon dance floor.

Since then, singing along to a few of my girls' Taylor Swift songs, I was beginning to agree with my son.

"Oooo--oooo--oooo-oooo-oooo, we called it off again last night.
But oooo-oooo-oooo-oooo-oooo, this time, I'm telling you, I'm telling you,
We are never, ever, ever getting back together."

are a pretty sad excuse for lyrics, no matter how much fun that is to sing. Whole lines are missing, so she just sings ooo, oooo, oooo. That's supposed to be the back up singer's job, not the solo line. Goodness.

Then there's trouble with another of her songs when she repeats the phrase "you found me" (or some derivative) three times and then finishes with the next four counts extending the word me: ee-ee-ee-ee. Oh, oh. Trouble. Trouble. Trouble. Lazy lyracist.

I'm not hating on Taylor Swift. She's clearly a successful business woman with earning power stratospheres beyond mine.

And besides, she did write "Mean." It's fun, clever, artistic, and sometimes—sadly—true. I'm not trying to be the object of her creative prowess on display in that song.

Then I heard—and really listened to—"Fifty Ways to Say Goodbye" while I was trapped in traffic this morning, and I felt hopeful for Adrian's future children.

That song is true music with real instruments and a surprisingly light take on how God really meant a love affair to last a lifetime via marriage. Even the world knows this. But I digress. This is a post about pop music, not theology.

So, just in case you'd like a spontaneous Friday dance party in your kitchen or office or wherever you are today, click through to the You Tube vids and then Pandora. Just type in Christopher Cross and enjoy a mellow afternoon to recuperate from the disco.



Happy Friday. Keep dancin' and singing. Especially with your teenagers.

And, Adrian, if you're reading, there's even a purple Scion in the lyrics. You can tell your those kids of yours your dream car story.

Related Post:  Dedicaiton Dilemma
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