Monday, October 24, 2016

Unscheduled Appointments

I'm remembering an unscheduled appointment that changed my life pretty dramatically.  Thirty years ago on October 25, right around 2:15, events started in motion that I still remember so vividly even now.  It started with a rather frantic phone call from someone looking to find my mother.  Very shortly after that, Mom called and said, very simply and plainly, "He's gone."  With those words, I learned my Dad had slipped beyond the boundaries of Earth and joined the ranks of Heaven.  I think about his passing every year, but this being thirty years from the day he died, it's kind of an "anniversary milestone".

And it got me thinking about appointments.  They are the result of planning, for the most part.  Some are more meticulous than others when they set and track appointments.  Some make them and then completely forget about them until they get a reminder message (or are late).  They come in all types, some that I make and some that others make for me.  But they share a common trait ... they are planned interruptions asking me to focus on something specific.

But then there are the unscheduled appointments.  The "curves" life throws at us with little or no warning.  Maybe they are pleasant surprises (the party my wife threw for me on October 24th thirty years ago certainly was) or perhaps they force us to make decisions we'd rather skip or at least put off.  The only constant, from my perspective, is that they happen ... and they happen to all of us.

That's part of life on the Crooked Path.  It isn't that old straight and narrow one from the Sunday School lesson.  It's a winding path full of rises and valleys.  It forces us to trust in our Divine Brother as guide when we can't see what is around the next bend.  It's a journey of faith and experience and it's really more enjoyable when we can't plan every step.  It's a wild adventure where our Father invites us to follow and trust, even though the unscheduled appointments break our hearts.  It isn't easy; it is messy; and it's definitely worth it - scheduled or not.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

That's Not Your Name

That's not your name!
The name and identity you see as looming over you is false. It's a lie from the enemy. That's what Communion is telling you. That's why we are commanded to do it in remembrance of what Jesus did. He gave us a true identity in himself and a new name - beloved child!

Each time we come to the Lord's Table we have the opportunity to learn again who we are and where The Story is taking us. We are anticipated in a future that calls to us across time and space. And we are invited to live now under our new identity with full anticipation of what is still to come.

We would do well to study the story from John 8 about the woman the Pharisees threw into the middle of the Master's teaching session. They called her by one name while he used a different one. They named her Caught Red Handed Adulteress. He called her Uncondemned Daughter.

When he told her what her real name was he called her to live a life in the fullness of who she was in God's Reverse Economy. He freed her to live in a way she never imagined possible. And when you combine that with all the other promises made you know she is not alone in this effort.

Yet the lie has been perpetuated for centuries ... even longer.  The very religious among us would seek to drag us back down and make us grovel and beg for the forgiveness that is already there.  They would gloss over the core concept that everyone - our enemies included - are named "God's Image Bearers".  They use the false names to divide when the call of the Master is to unite instead.  The call to live in the grace and freedom intended - the way it was planned all along.

That call extends to all of us. We're given the opportunity to refocus and re-center on what really matters ... on who we really are. That's a gift we should never take lightly or overlook. It's a chance to pause along the Crooked Path and remember the call of our Master to join him in the journey as brother and sister, knowing where it leads with great confidence.

And if you look at your travel papers, they have your new name on them. That lie of an old name is nowhere to be found!