Why is it that half the time when I sit down to pray my mind jumps to a million different responsibilities? I can’t clear my head enough to stay on track, and I end up babbling like a little kid to the Almighty. I can barely talk to him, let alone sit still long enough to hear what he has to say. Somebody once told me that it’s easier to serve God than to love him. Serving him requires going about those million different responsibilities. Loving him involves ignoring those responsibilities so you can spend time with him. At least he appreciates my efforts. But will just my effort always be enough? All you need is love, but it’s just not that easy.
Late nights with hours wasted and nothing accomplished. Sometimes you just have to give up on accomplishing anything productive and go to bed. Maybe tomorrow will be a more productive day. Then again, maybe not.
With cold and numb hands I scrape away the November frost from my truck’s windows. I scrape and I scrape, pausing to knock the snow off my ice scraper. Hitting it against my shoe it breaks, the brittle plastic falling to the asphalt. But my windows don’t get off that easily. I pick up the broken blade of the scraper and finish the job.
I walk in and sit down to type, but before I can phrase my first sentence my sleeping roommate asks a question. He probes into my soul, searching out my thoughts, my motivations, my rationale. He’s scraping.
A vespers service full of pain, praise, and knees on cold concrete. I watched the images of starving Sudanese children, the flies buzzing around their bony limbs. I cried out to my God. I fell to my knees. Thoughts of nineties cash and the newest rage flooded my mind. $2 spent on Cokes the night before, and a Sudanese man tells us ten cents would buy a loaf of bread–food for three days. Cries of ‘I want’ turn to ‘I need.’ But I don’t really need anything. I have more than some villages. Orion watches me come in after midnight, again–and God is scraping.
Orion watches me as I come home again. He floats up there in the sky, behind me, as I walk home and realize that when the lines between the righteous and the wicked, the merciful and the ruthless, the good and the evil are blurred–you’re gonna get burned. I ponder this revelation, and I realize it’s the reality behind every atrocity committed on this earth, as well as every insignificant sin. ‘You will be given the knowledge of good and evil’–but he neglected to tell us we’d be spending our lives confusing the two.
Too many late nights shown true with glazed and baggy eyes. But it’s more than worth it. You often learn more in college outside of class than in it. This week has been one of those weeks. It’s nice to be able to set the responsibilities aside and just enjoy life. To sit down and talk with your roommates for three hours. To laugh. To really get a feel for what drives people. To share what’s on your heart. Some things are just more important than homework.
I want to walk into your sanctuary
And all around me
The angels stop and stare
I want to lay my life
Down before you
I want to lay myself down
By your feet
And weep for joy
That we finally meet
Did I do what I was called to do
Did I do what you wanted me to
Did I be the best that I could be
And will your mercy cover me
When I look up,
Will you be smiling at me
(‘When I Look Up’ by the Insyderz, © 1999)
It’s 3 am. Aren’t you supposed to be in bed? Orion rises and only the forgotten lights are still on. The sparkle is still in my eye.
Do you ever just get tired of the way things are? Does the way the world work just frustrate you? Priorities are in the wrong order and nobody seems to understand what’s most important. Sometimes it’s just plain frustrating. You know what needs to happen in that case? You just need to change the world.
This sounds like a radical idea. Who am I to change the world? But if you claim to be a follower of God, then it’s your duty to change the world. That’s the whole reason we’re here. It bothers me when Christians hide in their bubbles and try to change what’s inside the bubble. They complain about the outside world, but they never do anything to change it. At best they make changes in their little bubble. But that’s not what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to go out and change the world. So let’s get changing.
So many questions to ask, and I just don’t know where to begin. The thoughts tumble around in my head like clothes in a dryer, and I’m just not sure where to start first. Humanity is such a curious creature. As sad as it sounds, we very much are like a virus that consumes everything as it expands. We consume our planet, its resources, even each other. We are such a fallen race. And I have to wonder where to begin. It’s like eating a whale, you just have to eat it a piece at a time. What will it take to tear into humanity’s webs, hose off the dust, and spread the truth? What will it take to change minds, to affect people’s actions? That is where change manifests itself. I so want to change the world, and I can only see one thing with the power to accomplish such a task. It’s nothing in me, it’s God. The world becomes so much clearer through such a lens. That is the only hope for our sunken humanity. Change the world, God. And start with me.
You are not God
And you don’t know what it’s like
(“Separate Lines” by Maskil)
I ask so many questions. Hiroshima, man’s sinfulness, and my own mistakes. We ask so much of you, God, but we never stop to wonder what it’s like for you. What is it like to watch your creation butcher one another? What’s it like when one of your loved ones breaks your holy law? I can’t imagine the pain we inflict on the God of the universe. We consider so flippantly that you sit up there so far away, safe from the pain of this troubled creation. But you know it all too well. You hurt with us, and you shed your own tears of grief. Your Son’s blood flowed on this cursed ground. The ultimate expression of your love. We certainly aren’t God, and by no means do we know what it’s like.
I’m OK. I’m all right. Everything’s gonna be just fine. I don’t really grasp what you’re talking about, but that’s okay. I’m having trouble understanding just what you want from me, but I’m not worried. You say this and expect that and I’m just left scratching my head. Afraid to think and afraid to act. But it’s OK. It’ll be all right. I’ll just keep telling myself that.