We Can’t Handle This Much Jesus

One of the creepier pieces of the puzzle beneath the headaches I don’t really have is a eyelid that doesn’t really close.

At least not all the way.

Well, at least that’s what my eye doctor says.

It’s handy at mealtime, where only a fool would pray with both eyes closed at my dinner table. When we say table grace, I keep that one creepy eye fixed on the spread. Because if I don’t watch the bowl to my right, I’m going to wind up on the short end of the mashed potato stick.

Meaning: I’m not so attentive during that prayer as I’d like to think.

In fact, I might be known to say Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, with more than a little indifference.

I don’t always expect Him to show.


Taking Us In

She said something about communion in the comment box that made me go look again.

I’d noticed it, sure. But not really. Not like I did when I looked the second time.

When I went back, I saw this thing happening. You all were doing your own little scootching up around each other, whispering prayers, asking for them, cutting holes in the roof and lowering friends into the room for the Healer to get his hands on them.

And when another said what she did, in that certain beautiful way she did, this was the thing I saw:

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)

I see it in the sanctuary. I see it in your places. I see it on Facebook. I hear it on the phone.

We can’t be what we’re not. And we can’t do what we can’t.

But we take each other in.

We bring each other in.

I don’t know how to thank you enough for letting me be witness to a little bit of how we do that thing Jesus left us with here.


Photo: more from among the remnants
of autumn, Sica Hollow, South Dakota

Leaning in the Direction of God

My kids are back home. We start the home stretch toward school again. The days spill over from life, and that’s a good thing, except when it’s a hard thing, and maybe that’s even a good thing too.

I’m staring down a long week ahead crammed into a short week’s time and likely some heartburn on the other end that I’d rather not think about at all.

All that to say, the stuff of the coming week should give ample opportunity to do what Paul Miller would call “leaning in the direction of God,” adopting that somewhat tilted posture of continuous praying because I don’t know what else to do.*

Like this:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
(Philippians 4:6-7, The Message)

Thanks for hanging here with me, even when I seem not terribly present. You encourage me more than I probably ever let on.


Photo by Horton Group
*A Praying Life, by Paul A. Miller

Enter In

Enter In

Enter InIt was late and I’d just pulled the blankets up to my chin. The cell phone buzzed from inside the socks next to the bed.

Sometimes, I slip the socks over cold feet during these cool summer nights in South Dakota. Last night I’d slipped the phone between them on the floor to muffle the buzz a little — enough to keep the daily 1:00 am email that alerts me to hail activity somewhere in the country from waking us, but not so much as to cover a call or text from my son who was spending the night with friends.

Just in case.


But Does He Have the Ganas?

But Is He Willing?
Mark 1:40-45

But Is He Willing?

Around the table, fingers flipped through thin white pages and skimmed headings and margin notes for a clue as to the whereabouts of a story that may, or may not exist.

My class of good sports let doubt fall to my favor, not quite ready to confirm or deny whether I’d made the story up. I couldn’t even confirm or deny, truth be told.

We had to move on before we answered it. So the assignment for our next meeting? Browse the Gospels to see if, in fact, Jesus did have this conversation I had imagined.

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