Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Consolation Prize

I woke up this morning with the sun on my face. Looking out my window I could see the sky, a perfect Colorado blue, the type of sky that John Denver sings about in Rocky Mountain High. Just another perfect day in a seemingly perfect place.
Serenity should be the state of my heart, perfect peace as I look out my sliding door to see a few lonesome puffy white clouds floating across the perfect sky. However, the past few days have lead me to a numerous onslaught of thoughts.
Thinking, pondering, over thinking, analyzing, that's sort of how my life cycles. For an extrovert I tend to be a very introspective thinker. My freshman year of college I picked up a journal, and have written in a journal nearly every day since. I have an entire shelf filled with old journals, and on a rare occasion I like to read through what my hopes and dreams were just a few short years ago, and how much I have grown and changed. God has been abundantly faithful to me, and that is so clear in the pages written so clearly in my own hand.
Yet, for some reason I still tend not to trust him as much as I should. The other day I heard that someone I trusted was spreading rumors about me at church. Gossip gets under my skin, because I have seen it destroy churches completely, to the point where I've seen churches have to close their doors. Gossip is never constructive, it's always destructive. It is never helpful, it is always hurtful.
It felt as though I had stepped out of the world of the youth pastor, and into the life of one of my middle school students. How many times have I held them as they have told me of the cruel things people have said behind their back? How many times have they had to go back and look into the faces of their accusers?
Yet, here I was, frustrated, confused, hurt, and angry as someone hadn't approached me to clear up a misunderstanding, but made it worse by calling everyone about it.
I let my frustrating seep into me, grab a hold of my heart, and nearly suffocate it. For though my hurt was coming from a place deep within me, and I had every reason to feel hurt, I forgot a very important fact "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31. For a few moments I thought that it was when people said nice things about me that I am following God's will, yet it is the opposite. I forgot that the desire of my heart is to be more Christ like, and that in being like Christ I also must enter into his sufferings, sufferings that went far deeper than rumors and lies. I seemingly forgot that I am not trying to gain the approval of men, but of God. For it is God who holds me accountable in the end, not someone in my congregation.
"As a consolation prize we may sometimes remember the words of Jesus: 'Woe to you when all people speak well of you,' and take comfort that we have at least escaped that woe."
~J. Philip Wogaman
And at least for now, I have escaped that woe.

Monday, April 20, 2009


My students don't have school today. It's April 20th, 2009, exactly 10 years from the columbine shootings at columbine high school. I drove past the school today and saw the camera crews, the masses there paying respects. It is an honorable thing to do, and it is beautiful to see the love and respect, however, the reason I was driving by the school was because I had to teach at another school. A school that no one outside of Denver has every heard of, but a school where violence occurs almost regularly.
I mentioned to the person I was teaching with that I found it odd that a school so close to Columbine had school today, while all of my students in Littleton did not. That's when I learned a different side of the story, the perspective from those who don't live in suburban america and it was interesting. He told me that the days after columbine where very polarizing to the neighborhoods in Denver. Though they felt it was a horror, and they felt compassion for the people who had lost loved ones, they struggled to understand why this violence was broadcast so widely around the world, while the violence that plagued their halls everyday goes without notice.
I began to think about it. It is interesting that the violence of one school could change so many schools around the country, while others were virtually unaffected by it, not because they didn't care, but because they live with violence all the time.
My students don't really remember the shootings at Columbine, most were in pre-school, though I do have friends that are Columbine alum who were there when it happened. I know people who remember it vividly and describe in great detail the events of the day.
Though I remember and am saddened for the great loss, I am hanging out with a different crowd today. A crowd of students who feel like their only hope is in gang violence. A group of students who walk the halls afraid everyday. Students that I myself have watched be cruel to one another and wonder how far the cruelty would go. It is for these students who don't make the news because they are expected to be violent, a group of students at a school in an area that most people from Littleton won't even drive through.
It's not just a day for remembering a shooting in a suburban high school, it's a day for everyone everywhere who has believed the lie of redemptive violence. That has been suckered into the fantasy world that one more punch, one more put down, one more gun shot will solve our problems. If nothing else, this day reminds us that violence wherever it is wrought does not free us.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Dark chocolate is probably my favorite. Something about how it is not too sweet, it's sort of, well, bitter. Bittersweet seems to make the sweet aftertaste even better than just the sugary sweet of milk chocolate.
Bittersweet doesn't only describe the state of my favorite chocolate, it also describes my state of life as a youth pastor. Though most people get to see the fun parts, the lock-ins, the retreats, the tons of pizza consumed, and the teen drama day... I get to see all the parts. The parts that are far from fun.
The eyes I have been given see scars on the arms of kids who feel ugly and used, scars put there by themselves. I have seen them walk away from everything they have known to stick one more needle in their arm, one more razor blade to their thigh, one more pornographic picture in front of their face. I've watched girls as they've urinated into cups as they cry tears, hoping and praying to God that He will save them from the consequences of a choice they've made, only to go home and celebrate that everything came back negative with a night of senseless sex, to return again. The tears that have been cried at the altar, I've seen turned in anger towards myself for taking the side of a parent, for being the one who is trying to show them truth when the world is trying to sell them lies, just to have them walk away cursing my name directly into the arms of the lies that want to claim them.
There are moments of joy, immense joy, but there are also moments of such great pain and heartache, that I begin to wonder, if my small glimpse of pain is this bad, what it must be like for Christ every time they hurt themselves?
Sometimes the exhaustion sets in. The tired eyes, the weakened heart, and I wonder how people have done this for years. I wonder how they have woke up each day for 15 years to do it all over again.
Tonight I was reminded, that though I grow weary, God never does. Though my heart breaks, his breaks more. Though I love these kids, there is one who loves them more deeply than I ever could, and I know that He is capable of doing more than I could ever think or imagine. He is capable of putting back together broken lives, of healing open wounds, of being the only love that we will ever need.
It is in that, that I put my hope and trust. Hope and trust that God, who has always been faithful, will be faithful once more. Hope and trust that God will be strength when I have none less, and will give me the words when I don't know what to speak. Hope and trust that this too will be made right.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Subtle Seed of Hatred

To say that I am appalled by racism would be a vast understatement; especially when I am confronted with such forms of hatred in the church. They are more subtle than they used to be, a comment here, or there, but just as ugly and hate filled.
Ethnocentrism is a pet peeve of mine, because it seems so clear in scripture that such a lifestyle shouldn't even be in our mindset. Our minds should be focused on loving God and others, all of the commandments hang on these two commands.
In my idealism and naivety, I just assumed that the concept of love is a no brainer to Christians, and that racism (of all things) would be considered wrong.
Then a comment was made to me the other day that has bothered me ever since. I mentioned to a member of the church that I was teaching a few abstinence classes in a school nearby. I continued by mentioning that they were good kids, the comment returned to me was, "good?! That's not what I've heard. I had a friend who went there and she said she was the only white girl in the school!" Maybe this particular person didn't mean it the way it came out (I am going to give the benefit of the doubt on this one.) However, I was insanely hurt. I've spent 4 days with these amazing, smart, beautiful kids, and someone made the assumption that because there is diversity in the school, they aren't good kids!
When did we start thinking things like this? When did we think it was ok to say that kids that are privilidged enough to go to a better school, are automatically better kids?
It is stereotypes like these that keep things from getting better. Not to mention, I still think that if more Christians would stop living in fear and live by the great commission and great commandment, there wouldn't be any school with violence, hatred, etc. because we would have already conquered it with our love.
This was a reminder to me, to watch my words. To watch my labels. To watch writing people off before I give them a chance. Genocide is started with racism and hatred, redemption is started with love.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Life is beautiful despite the busy

I recently recieved my acceptance letter to Christian Peacemaker Teams' delegation to Tiquiso, Colombia in july. It is what I've prayed for, and i look forward to it every day. Time will go by faster than it seems, and before I know it, I will be bake from the life changing trip and sharing pictures and stories with everyone.
However, my restlessness is getting the best of me. Though I am insanely busy all the time. This week alone I am teaching 3 classes at a middle school, doing all my normal youth pastor stuff, and getting ready for another choir performance on Friday (followed by Easter).
When my brother was here last week visiting, he asked me what my plans were for easter. I told him I didn't have any. Honestly, that sounds wonderful right now. I still haven't done my taxes, and am feeling the crunch, and have a huge paper due for class next week. I am also officiating a wedding next weekend, and getting ready for Invisible Children's "The Rescue", as well as preparing 30 hour famine for my students.
Life doesn't ever seem to slow down. Things just seem to get busier and busier.
It's difficult to remember to take care of myself, to take a mental break, to enjoy the beautiful weather outside, when it seems like there is always something else going on.
God is moving, it is so clear that He is, and I am excited to be a part of the adventure, even if I am running on near empty right now... Christ is risen, and life truly is beautiful.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Snow day

Snow is one of my favorite things in the world. That may seem strange to many people, but I have always enjoyed it. The beauty of it, the cold air in my lungs, how silent it falls on a world of darkness turning into pure light. I can remember standing in the middle of my street in Kankakee and looking up at the street lights as the snow gently fell to the ground around them; this generally noisy street in the city, perfectly silent as if it had been transported to a different place in time.
Today was the first snow day I've had since moving. Feet of snow fell in a short amount of time, and everything was canceled and even businesses closed. I worked from home versus making the drive to the church today, just to be on the safe side. No one would expect me in under such conditons anyway. Though I normally love the snow and embrace it, it seemed so much my enemy today.
Contentment has resided in my heart over the last month or so, which is a great state of being considering where I was just a few short months ago. Yet, today, I was far from content... I was lonely. Though my marital status has generally been a non-issue, because I am following Christ wherever that leads and whatever that means for me, today it became an odd issue in my heart. I've always stated that marriage isn't the goal following Jesus is, and I still believe that whole heartedly, but today I started to allow myself to ask the question of why that can't be a part of the journey I am on?
Maybe because most days aren't snow days. Most days I'm running around involved in 550 different things, working 18 hour days, and in my spare time reading enormous amounts of books. Most days I don't look at myself and wonder what went wrong and when. I don't generally think about any of that. I tend to find freedom in being single, in applying to go places like Colombia (where i could easily get taken hostage or be killed). Even though today was a rough day, most days, I tend to think about how much more growing I have to do before I would be capable of being a good wife to anyone. Not to mention my complete unwillingness to compromise on any of my standards, which limit the number of men I could even date down to 5, 2 of whom probably live in another country, and 1 has probably died (given the things I'm interested in... see Colombia comment). Which leaves me with 2, one of whom I've already dated, and has made his exit from my life.
It would be nice somedays to share life with someone. To talk about faith and politics. To talk about dreams, and plan adventures all over the world with. To sit and watch the snow fall. To go to peace rallies with. To talk about books I'm reading with. To watch foreign films with. To cook breakfast with. To hang out with homeless people with. To pray with and hope with and strive to bring the kingdom of God to earth with.
Today as the snow fell that's all I could think of, and for the first time since January, I actually allowed myself a few moments to be sad that I was so close to having that, and it just didn't work.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Time Flies By On Broken Wings

It has been two months. Two months since I was sitting in the living room of my friends' apartment at ONU eating pizza and talking about life.
I was struggling so much then, like a bird with two broken wings, unable to to fly and see beyond my current circumstances. Everything around me seemed to be crumbling. It was as though when I gave myself the freedom to dream, those dreams crashed as quickly as they had taken off, as I fell out of the safety of the nest instead of soaring above the tree of cynicism which had sheltered me for so long.
Sitting in the living room I was told that time would go faster than it seemed at the time. That before I knew it 5 months would come and go, and summer would be upon us. Time to make decisions would be here, and I would be confronted once again with the confusion which has so plagued my heart since the hot summer days of August.
Time has gone faster. Here I sit, 2 months later with so much more time under my belt. Those two months have given me a vastly large amount of perspective. Hopefully with that perspective I have been given some amount of wisdom as well.
Failure has plagued me, as I've watched myself make mistakes, as I've watched myself fail to trust, as I've watched myself doubt when i should have had immense hope. But Failure isn't how I'd define the last couple of months. Hopeful might be a better word. I've learned what it means to hope. I've embraced what it means to love all of those around you, not just those who you would like to love, but also those who are different and have vastly different beliefs than you. I've learned what it means to have true friends, friends who fly 1300 miles to spend spring break with you, and listen to your cynicism towards romance for the millionth time without criticism.
God is in the business of creating life out of death. He is in the business of redeeming wreckage and restoring it into something beautiful. This is truly what I have experienced these last two months. For i have seen God provide in the form of a house to rent with a yard, and a basement, when i had only dared to think for a few moments of the ministry I could do if I had a house to rent. I've seen Him provide in the form of anonymous amounts of money left in my mailbox at church. He's provided in the form of a wonderful tea shop that makes me feel like a part of a community, where everyone knows my name, and I can meet new people. When it felt like the loneliness would never subside, He provided for me wonderful friends, both near and far. He provided friends and family the opportunity to come and visit. When I started to doubt my ability as a youth pastor, He provided for me students who told me what I meant to them. Thus, out of my brokenness came immense strength.
I can't lie and say I don't still harbor cynicism towards some things, for that is probably stronger in certain areas than ever before, but I can say that I have grown more than I ever thought possible in such a short time.
God is moving. I can feel Him, I only pray to be a part of the rhythms of that movement.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Perfect Love casts out Fear

Fear. It may seem like a totally normal thing to be afraid, but it seems so out of place in the heart of a Christian. There are so many people who claim to follow Christ whose lives are dominated by complete fear.
I've witnessed believers afraid to go into a certain area of the city. The voices of those declaring war so that we might be safe, out of fear that something bad will happen to us. Most recently, I've heard pastors respond out of fear due to the church shooting in St. Louis, and declare that we need more security in churches, including armed guards at our entrances.
The whole thing boggles my mind, because I start to wonder if anyone actually believes what they say they believe. Scripture is abundantly clear that God did not give us a spirit of fear. The Bible states that perfect love casts out fear. There are parts where it says "whom shall I be afraid? If God is for us, who can be against us?" or even better yet, do not fear them who can only harm the body, but fear that which can harm the soul.
And yet the church seems to focus more and more on fear of external dangers while completely neglecting those things which can harm us for eternity. We will put armed guards at the doors of churches, yet we rarely do anything about the complacency so rampant in our church. We will so readily stay out of certain areas of town, without teaching one another about hope and reconciliation and the dangers of ethnocentrism. It's really simple for us to cheer on the things that bring us security, and take it to the point that we feel our safety comes from a pay check every week, and when that doesn't come, to believe God suddenly has abandoned us (when we refuse to depend on Him the rest of the time).
I may be a cynic and too harsh on the church at times, but it really concerns me as a minister, when people live so different than what the Bible claims. The Bible claims that the worse thing that can happen to us is death, and even that isn't so bad after all... actually it is the opposite of bad, for if we truly believe that Christ conquered sin and death, then why are we so afraid all of the time?
If we truly believe that Jesus was just the firstfruits of many who will rise from the dead (of which we are a part of) then why do we walk around so constantly afraid... why do Christians of all people have this shoot first, ask later mentality?
I am not saying we shouldn't use common sense, for we should, but with our common sense, we also have to stop worrying and fearing so much, and learn to trust God. He is capable of taking care of us. He is capable of bringing peace, hope, and reconciliation into the darkest of places, and the most violent of situations. He is calling us to do the same. If we do not believe God can bring hope, than our entire faith falls apart.
So I challenge us all, to not live out of fear, but out of grace and love. Live out of the hope that one day all things will be made new, and god will redeem all things, and we can be a part of that right now... or we can live in fear, but we can not do both.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Changing the World

I've never wanted to be another face in the crowd. Another person who says the same things, looks the same way, lives out the same goals and aspirations. The white picket fence dream with 2 kids and a dog, was never my dream at all. I always felt that dream was too small for the things I wanted to do, and what I've always wanted to do is change the world.
That may seem naive, young, or idealistic, but those desires have never been lessened or outgrown. The entirety of my life I have surrounded myself by young Christians, who are too new to the faith to be told they can't achieve things, or by old Christians who never really got "comfortable" in their faith, but have always striven to live it out more boldly, and drink in the truth more deeply.
Thus, I have never stopped believing that I will change the world... even if only for one person.
When I was an infant my mom came into my room and wrote me a letter on a piece of Christmas wrapping paper. I have it somewhere stored securely in my things. She didn't tell me about this letter until I was a freshman in college. In the letter she talked about how she just had this feeling I was different, set apart for some sort of purpose. I don't think she really understood all of the implications of that at the time, I don't think she could have, yet she wrote these amazing words that I was going to do something in the service of the kingdom.
As I went to school to study ministry, and then have gone through various ministry positions, and have tried to follow whatever it is God wants for me, I remember the words she wrote 24 years ago, and I wonder if she's right.
It's humbling to think God wants to use me in any way. Small or big, or in between. Even if I just change the world for one person, my life has meaning and purpose, and it is astounding.
I know myself. I know my failures. The things I keep struggling with, and falling back into. I know my pessimism, and my bitterness. I know how often I've gotten my heart broken, and how easily I can hold grudges. I know all of my secrets, that I try to forget, that catch up to me.... despite all of that, God wants to use me for something. He wants to use me for His purposes and His plan, to partner with Him in His redemptive plan to the world, and I will forever be astounded by that.
It is with that knowledge that I boldly walk forward regardless of the turns in the road, or what happens next, to potentially change the world.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Oh Colombia!

I just ordered 5 books about Colombia. This may seem insignificant, but I am applying to go to Colombia with Christian Peacemaker Teams in July. Though I had my heart set on going to Israel, I felt as though I am supposed to apply for Colombia. The last week as I watch my friend get ready for her journey with CPT, I find myself even more excited about the idea.
Though my application isn't even in yet, I still feel this excitement over learning about a country that is considered one of the most dangerous in the world, and trying to see the hope in the midst of it all.
On top of all of it, it has given me just one more reason to return to learning spanish. It's been several years since my last spanish class, but I am discovering how important it will be to know. The prospect of going to Colombia only makes me feel the pressure more.
God truly is working in so many ways, and it will be truly exciting to see where He leads me over the next few months, and how He will carry me through the application process for this delegation to Colombia.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chapel in the Mountains

There are times in my life where I am completely smacked in the face with the fact that God is so much bigger than I make Him out to be. His plans are so much more vast, His arms outreach so much further, and the history of my faith moves back so much further than where we are right now.
I had such a moment the other day. I was driving back through the mountains, on my way home from visiting potential retreat sites for our winter retreat next year, when I saw it in the distance.
In the middle of the mountains on this rock surrounded by water, was this little chapel. It had to be the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I don't know how long it's been there, but I do know it is considered an historical site.
The stone walls were breathtaking, the stained glass glistened in the sun. It was as though I had stumbled upon the best place in the whole world to pray. A place with breathtaking views, and clean crisp mountain air. The knowledge that probably hundreds of people before had come here to pray almost crushed my heart in.
God is so much bigger than we are. So much bigger than our denominations, our church governments, our theologies. We can never define him or capture him. He is so much wider and bigger than we can ever conceive, and in that moment I felt the mystery of it all. That made me stand in awe of the amazing creator, that though bigger than I, desires to be with me.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Honest Church

One life touches others. Inevitably it does. Though it may not seem like it sometimes and the path seems dark and lonely, one life still touches others and impacts things, sometimes in ways you never expect.
There are many times as a youth pastor I get frustrated. Frustrated by the choices students are making. I get frustrated watching students make grand commitments to God and then seemingly make no changes in their lives. I've seen it a million times.
There are times I begin to wonder if anything I say is listened to, or if my cries for sexual purity and a whole hearted pursuit for God are falling on ears that think that nothing in life is more impossible.
Tonight was not such a night. It's odd how often I feel off about nights, and God turns them into amazing moments of grace for me.
I got a text message after service tonight from a student that said "You know what this youth group has meant to me? It has saved my life. Literally, from cutting and suicide." It was in response to a question I had asked during youth group about what sort of story and legacy our youth group is leaving.
Tears streamed down my cheeks. This student's parents don't even go to our church. His life has been hard and lonely.
If it ended there I would be excited enough, but the truth is, he wants to share his issues with the group. He wants to bring about awareness to cutting and suicide, and wants this community of believers to see him at his most vulnerable, and surround him with love. He wants them to ask him questions. He wants to be authentic before them, and in turn open the doors for them to be authentic with him.
You may call that a lot of things, but I call that church. True church, in it's honest and truthful form. Where your wounds can be exposed without judgment, and there is peace and rest there.
Of course I didn't discourage him, but opened up the door to have a night honestly dedicated to the issues he has struggled with, and truthfully talking about what it means to be broken, and the redemption christ wants to bring into that.
God is moving. He is alive. He is breathing life into this place, and of all people to choose to be his hands and feet, he has chosen me, and I will never completely understand why, but am grateful to be a part of the story of these young people's lives.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Invisible Children

A few years ago I watched this documentary called "Invisible Children". Being a youth pastor and caring so deeply for young people, I think it affected me in deeply profound ways. To watch children, the same age as those I minister to, get kidnapped, raped, killed, and an assortment of brutalities that nobody seems to want to talk about, seemed horrifying and saddening.
The only difference between these children and the children in my youth group are that they just happened to be born in a different country. But in their country, they are in fear of getting kidnapped, and here in the suburbs of Denver, the kids are afraid they won't be able to afford a new ipod. The wall that exists between these two worlds is oppressive and large, but not insurmounatble.
Scripture is clear that we are to care for the widow and the orphan. To speak for those who cannot speak. To be on the side of those oppressed. There are so many places of oppression, yet this one area has always seemed to pull upon my heart, because it involves so many children. Thousands to be exact, who are taken against their will to perpetrate violence on others. Everything about this war is counter to God's plan for His people.
Thus, today, when I got my t-shirts for the next event in April, I was excited. To promote something that I so very strongly care about. To be a part of history.
i have always tried to live my life with open hands. I try to live a life, not of striving after things, but of investing in people. I have always tried to live in such a way, that if I were to no longer be here tomorrow, no one could speak of me as a hypocrite or a thief, but that I have always strived to live in pursuit of the heart of God. I hope that in some small way, my support of this amazing cause does that, and will in some way bring about the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Unrequited Love

How do you forget? I've been trying to figure that one out for the past 3 months. I've done everything in my power to move forward, move on, forget, but I still wake up every morning and the first thing that pops into my head is remembering.
The whole "keep yourself busy thing" is sort of the motto of my life right now, and it does not change the fact, that though I forget many things, the one thing I try to forget follows me around like a lingering aroma.
Today, I even tried running from it. Being my day off, I drove into the mountains, about as far as I could without going so far I wouldn't get back before dark. I plugged in my ipod, and listened to nearly every song on it. I still remembered.
As the landscape changed from brown grass to snow drifts, I prayed continually that this would pass by me. That I could be free from this one burden.
So oppressive that sometimes I wonder if I am going to stop breathing. So haunting that I wake up each night dreaming of the same things.
There may be no greater burden in all the world than that of unrequited love. It seems so innocent, so sweet, but it is also trapping and heart breaking. To know that while you are haunted by thoughts, to know that the one you think of, is far from thinking of you. How does one escape the oppressiveness of that?
To love so greatly, at the expense of yourself, your heart, your life, to be rejected completely. To watch someone willfully walk away from that type of love is much more than heartbreaking.
I've questioned God so many times, as to why I endure this type of pain, only to take a step back and realize that I am asking one to whom I have inflicted such pain upon.
For, though I hate to admit it, I have walked away. I have walked away from the knowledge that I am loved and cared for, and though there was security in that love, the supposed freedom that lurked beyond seemed so much more appealing. When He wanted to hold me and be there for me, I wanted to experience what life was like. When He wanted a commitment from me, I suddenly became confused about what I really wanted from Him. So I shut the door, with one foot left in it, trying to play the game of having all my options opened, and when He said it was all or nothing... there were too many times I chased after the nothing.
Though my momentary discomfort is no match for the heart of God, I think I understand more clearly how much it must grieve Him when I turn my back on His love. I think I have caught a glimpse of how He must feel to be misinterpreted, or viewed as a trap that prohibits one from experiencing life.
My heart will heal and move forward over time. I will move on and things will be better, but God's love, His love, doesn't move on. He is grounded in forever loving us, forever chasing us, forever pursuing us to His heart. He goes the distance to be with us, a distance that not only broke his heart, but his body as well as he died for us.
That, above all else, is true love. Love that pushes on, even at the expense of itself.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

It's odd to think that it was only 2 years ago that I attended my first ash wednesday service. The service was beautiful, in a historical episcopal chapel in downtown kansas City. I remember that day clearly, which is amazing considering I don't have the greatest memory.
The reason I remember it so clearly is that my faith was reignited with a fury in those moments. As I sat in the pew of this beautiful, old chapel, I began to think about the depth of tradition that these moments had. That the prayers we prayed that morning were prayed by so many people of faith who had come and gone. That the words we spoke and the ceremony we were participating in, was something with such depth and grace that to even write my emotions down would be to take something amazing and water it down a great deal.
Tonight I had the opportunity to participate in ash wednesday once again. This time I got to bring some friends along. They had never been to a service before and did not fully understand the depth such a service as well as the accompanying lent season has for us as Christ followers. It was amazing to watch one of my students experiencing the depth of lent for the first time. This great desire to be a part of the grand story that started so long ago.
This year I truly am praying that the season will draw my closer to the heart of Christ. For all that I have experienced this year, the trials, the frustrations, I have come out on the other end with this even deeper desire to be all that He is calling me to be, and as I walk this path that so many saints whom I admire and revere have walked before, may I be faithful to be as faithful as they were.