Sunday, December 18, 2011

Come and Rise up from the Grave

And I saw him, Death with his mighty sting, exhaling in every breath of life he brings. To the grave he gave victory, triumphing over life with the fear of endless sleep, endlessly we hind from our mortality. Mortally wounded from birth we lie to ourselves from infancy. Infinitely investing time in a life that will inevitably be taken by this creature that now stands before me. Death. He manifests himself on ordinary days. His six-foot stomach growls with hunger pains. For his meal, he cannot wait, so we are forced to taste it even before the grave. We are all dying. There is no other way. I see him in Haitian and Japanese earthquakes. He's hating the escapees of his cruel wakes. I see him in poverty. Impoverishing the quality of life for regions that are reachable and in those with the reach that find reason no to reach out to treat what is treatable. I see him in disease, taking life out of uninfected, yet affected families. I see him in oppression, pressing down on the oppressed and the oppressor. I see him in depression, in prozac and pain pills, in razor blades and bed-side wills. I see him in abuse; physical, mental, emotional misuse. I see him in spiritual confusion, material obsession, physical possessions. I see him in marital transgressions. Childhood remorse from an ugly divorce. I see him in our slavery to appearances. Appearing to care more about our images than those in dying villages. I see him in our ignorance, ignoring truth for some comfortable inference. I see his emergence in our churches as we pull out emergent diversions as deterrents to religious differences. Go on the defensive defending our way of worship, making community worthless. Death is killing us before we even enter the surface of the earth, we are in service of his words. "It is finished," the end of our birth. We cannot hid from his wretched curse, for Death and his grave we constantly rehearse. Even God Himself was coerced. Divinity immersed itself in humanity, humbly taking on flesh, scorning vanity. The world saw His way of life as insanity, insisting He cease speaking of this radical Christianity. But man found Him guilty, accusing GOD of BLASPHEMY, performing the ultimate usurpation by slaying Christ on Calvary. But through their cowardly cross, Jesus bought mankind with amnesty, championing over Death with the beauty of His fatal injury. And I know, many still doubt, and rightfully so, bringing up this inquiry, "What does that poor Jewish man dying on a Roman tree 2,000 years ago have to do with me?" I reply simply, "Christ came and died to marry His bride to be, and though Death could kill the Groom, it could not kill the ring. God made us one with Christ and life in matrimony's cling. And now the undying church, His everlasting wife can sing, 'O Death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?' For we have risen above your misery. We will not succumb to your finality. We have overcome your infamous mystery. And in the infinite reign of Christ's ministry, for we are the Resurrection, the insurrection of fatality. We are the risen Deity, the intersection of a dead and living body. We live through imperfections for we died to become holy. We cannot be contained by the mouth of the grave. We are the willing slaves for the one that rose from that garden cave. We pass from death to new birth. We gave the grave to the earth. And we claim today the cross's worth. The body of His rising. We are the risen church. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And We Return to the Thought of Beauty...

I find myself going back so often to beauty.
It is a concept that everyone is striving for on one level or another.
It surreptitiously creeps into every aspect of our lives.
These little reminders of all the beauty around me always takes me back to ponder my struggles with my physical beauty.
It has really only been within the last few months that I have gotten to the point of truly believing that I am beautiful.
There is one instance from this fall that sticks out in my mind as a reminder to me that I am in fact beautiful.

My church does an end of the summer weekend retreat at a camp down on Canadaigua lake, and I have gone the past two years.

Last year, it was FREEZING the entire weekend. It was about 50 degrees, and windy, and rainy, and we all froze.
Now, the irony is, this year it was SO HOT. It was in the upper 80s the entire weekend, and so humid that you felt like you were swimming through the air.
Good thing the camp is on a lake.
This year, one of the nights we were there, we did a worship service; the entire meeting was filled with song and prayer.
Because I was the resident bassist for the weekend, I was on the stage for the entire night, and had a spot where I would sit when I was not playing.
When I play at a normal church service, I usually make myself look nice. Take the time to shower, do my hair, my makeup, and dress nicely.
Since it was so hot out, we had to scuff away the top sand
so we did not burn our feet... lol
However, since we were at camp, I had been running around playing volleyball, and jumped in the lake just before coming into worship practice. I had no makeup on, my hair was in a messy, wet, dirty, lake-smelling bun, and, since it was camp, I did not care.
The next morning, I was eating breakfast with some wonderful women whom I look up to at my church, and one of them said to me, "I just have to tell you, last night when you were sitting on the stage, I was looking at you and I thought, 'Paige is so beautiful!' and I just thought I should tell you that."
Then, the another woman who was sitting with us piped up with a similar comment.
I was astonished.
How could my dirty, smelly, sweaty, fresh-out-of-the-lake self be anything considered beautiful?
And yet, here were two women only a few years older than me, women that I can only hope to be like when I get a little older, and they were telling me that what I deemed disgusting they saw as beautiful.

That day has stuck out in my mind for the past three months as a reminder to the fact that God has in fact given me an innate beauty that I do not HAVE to try to amplify.
This obviously does not mean that I am going to stop taking care of myself, or that I am going to stop playing with my hair or my makeup, but rather, it gives me hope on the days that I am struggling to view myself as someone worth looking at.
It screams out at me saying, If you are beautiful when you're sitting fresh out of the lake, sweating profusely, with no makeup, then why do you worry so much?
It says to me, You ARE beautiful!
Although it is slow going, I would say that 90 percent of my days, I look in the mirror and am happy with what I see.
And that is a big feat for a 20 year old American girl.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Every Time

Every time I start to believe that I'm okay with Jon, that everything that happened is not worth any sort of emotion, I see him again, and my heart rate sky rockets and I feel that pang of anger, frustration, and sadness.
I guess it's just a reminder of how much work God is going to have to do in me before I can fall in love again.