I want to sing of hope everlasting

These last couple of days have found me on the shores of Lake Michigan.  Celebrating the last year of ministry with my fellow staff members.  We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve shared story and we’ve encountered God through his Word.
I’m realizing more and more how we all come to the Word differently, not only in how we process and interpret it, but in how we share it with others.  How we allow it to push into other aspects of our lives – of our passions.
I’ve had musician friends write music inspired by certain texts, or artists draw or paint a picture inspired by the text.  I’ve heard heart felt discussions and studies on various pieces of the bible.  What’s fascinating to me is to sit across from someone and hear their explanation of their process.
It’s amazing to listen as someone starts from the beginning.
“There’s this story in Ezekiel ….” 
They set the stage for those of us who know it well and those of us who may not know it at all.
“Where Ezekiel talks about prophesying over dry bones…”
And you can hear their imaginations start to work.
“I see all these bones and sinews and tendons which makes me think of the Lion King and a production of these bones coming to life…”
And from there, they continue on.  Describing colors or shapes, symbol crashes and the sounds of rattling.  It’s like they are tying to show you a picture that is in their mind, something they have imagined up over the years. 

Without fail, it ceases to amaze me when I hear people encountering scriptures in ways that I cannot.  Through graffiti, art, collages, sound production, dramas, feasts … The list can go on and on.  And when I sit across from them, with a cup of coffee in my hand, I listen intently as they describe the process.  As they do I can hear the Spirit speaking through them.  I can see that they have seen a side of God that I have not.  And I want to lean in closer, in hopes to see what they see.  I want to see the world through their eyes, if only for a moment.  To steal a glimpse of how they see these words of God come to life.
Then I realize.  This is my life. There are a lot of things about being a pastor that I’m really looking forward to doing, but this one just might take the cake.

been talking about the way things change

I love rivers.  Rivers of all sizes, creeks, rushing rapid rivers and the great Mississippi.One of the reasons of my love of rivers is that so many of my childhood memories had some sort of river involved.
Our neighborhood that we grew up in had a small creek running through it where the neighborhood kids would look for tadpoles and play sword fights on the mossy, wet rocks.
Or the many camping trips taken alongside of rivers and falling asleep to the sound of water rushing over rocks.  Then waking to the same sound and the fresh but murky smell of river water.  Then the return home where you discover that somehow everything in your bag is damp with the river.
White water rafting trips where you learn to respect the wildness of the river.  Learn the dangers that could overtake you at any moment if you aren’t careful.
Walking barefoot along the rocks of the river, cool to the touch yet glimmering in the sun.  Hard and jagged but at the same time slimy as if smooth.
Rivers are always moving.  The community living below the water must always change with the current.  Must be able to fully adapt to the constant change or be swept away with the rush.
Most people are either water people or mountain people – they draw near to God in those places and desire to vacation in those familiar spaces.  But in my mind, River people are a bread of their own.  Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m the perfect balance of a water and mountain person (if all other factors – like my family being in the mountains – were equal).  But really, if I’m honest – it’s the River that I find most comforting – most intriguing.
It’s in the speediness of the river that I find God.  The ever changing yet constantly stable riverbed.  My life has been like a river in some way, constantly flowing without my real ability to change anything.  It’s created a go-with-the-flow style to my heart and yet made me incredibly cautious to putting down permanent roots in any one place.
I wonder if this is how I’ll always be or that it’s the way things have been up until now and once I find my call, once I figure out where I am going with some sense of finality I will feel less transient.  Or if I’ll always have a strong sense of the current flowing through me.