Thursday, October 27, 2011

words,


Did Dickinson not once say,
“There is no frigate like a book, to take us lands away. 
Nor any coursers like a page of prancing poetry”?
How can we just pick something up and cast it down
As if it was nothing if someone has given their life
To write it upon a sacred stone. 

Are ours words worth life? 
Are they worth death?
Can life be told from human language?
Or is its essence of a language much deeper,
Much more ornate than we could ever speak?
Can our words ever fit around the meaning
That we have been born to pursue?

When I pick up Whitman and read of adventure and human wealth,
I form an image of a symphony
That has been placed in each separate man,
Composing a new melody with each breath.

When I pick up Shelly and read of monstrous desire,
            I see every man ever born and myself,
             Yearning after our Creator.

When I pick up Lewis and read of supernatural beauty,
            I fall to my knees and taste the sea salt
            That ceaselessly flows from my eyes.

When I pick up Poe and read of terrors beyond imagination,
            I quake and shiver and look over
My shoulder to see my attacker coming for me.

 Once and for all Eternity our words will be written
            Upon these tablets that we hold.
Have we said all what we have desired to portray?
Or have we waited for someone else to say such things?

Although Thoreau and Cummings might have
            Once written on love and humanity,
            How can we not do the same?
We owe nothing to the world but our words,
            For whether we embrace or not,
            Our stories are being written.
Each second a new letter is being inscribed.
Each minute a new word is being formed.
Each hour a new sentence is being revealed.
Each day a new paragraph is either being wasted
            Or being lived.

These words that we write will never be erased
            Unless we cease to echo our fathers.
We cannot let the axioms of Shakespeare
            Be forgotten among us today.
In the same way as we bring the Dead Poets back to life,
            Our sons and daughters will resurrect us.

To live and to breathe is to write.
To dance is to move our hands upon blank pages,
            That will soon be filled with existence.

We owe nothing to the world but our words,
            For whether we embrace it or not,
            Our stories are being written.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Be Astonished


From the past four months of studying and reading through the Sermon on the Mount, I have come to two conclusions.  The first being that we must reclaim Christianity for the name of Christ, because we, as the American Church, don’t teach half of what Jesus said in those sacred three chapters.  We have to change for it is absolutely imperative for us to reach the Nations.  We must love our enemies and pray for them, we must turn the other cheek, and we must not only see what the narrow road is, but we also must take it.  The second thing I have learned is that we are to live astonished lives.   Not astonishing lives, but astonished lives.  This is important and interesting because for some reason Matthew chooses to end the greatest sermon ever taught by making a remark about the crowds.  He says, “When Jesus had finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished.  For He taught as one with authority and not like their scribes.”  It’s intriguing because it’s as if Matthew wrote the sermon and said, “so, what are you going to do with this?” I am to not only take what Jesus said and live it, but I am also to be astonished by it.  I understand that it was easy for the crowds in Jerusalem to be astonished then because much of what Jesus had said was “foreign and new” to them but I believe that it’s safe to say that much of what Jesus said standing on that mountain is just as foreign to us now as it was to the Jews of that day.

But what would it look like to live an astonished life?  That is an odd thing to say because when I initially hear that I imagine a five-year-old kid walking into elementary school for the first day of Kindergarten.  I can this kid’s mouth dropping open as he sees the older students walking down the hall and his eyes widening when he looks at the gigantic playground behind the school.  Am I supposed to walk around all of the time with my mouth gaping open and my eyes wide?  That’s unrealistic.  Or is it?  What does it mean for me, a spoiled American white college student, to live astonished?  The more I think about it and the more that the idea twirls about in my mind, the more I see that living astonished would mean for me to, figuratively, return back to my first day of Kindergarten.  Just because I’ve seen the sunset hundreds of times, doesn’t mean that I should not be awed at every time I see the sky explode with the strokes of God’s fingers.  Every sunset I see, I need to treat it like it’s the first and last that I will ever see.  To live astonished is to be moved at the smallest beauty, to accept the smallest compliment, and to love until we’re empty.  What if I let the world be new each day, instead of taking everything for granted? What if I woke each day knowing that this world is full of questions waiting to be answered instead of answers waiting to be repeated?  I don’t know yet, but I know that there are people who live each day astonished and they have purpose and I think it would be world shattering if the Church would live astonished as well.  But I am not so na├»ve to expect the Church to begin living astonished if I myself am not astonished at the very existence of breath. 

I think another vital aspect of living astonished is losing yourself everyday into the rich and real pages and words of Salvation.  Allowing yourself to fall back onto Majesty and to be embraced by the arms of Love.  To jump and land in the sea of Grace. 

What if we lived like today was the day that we will see Jesus face to face?  What if we lived today by the words that Jesus said on the Mount?  What if we lived astonished? 

Only one way to find out.
Be astonished. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Vision

There comes a point in everyone's life where they read something so beautiful, something that connects so closely their heart, that all they can do is weep.  A time when they read something that strikes the one chord in their soul that makes music ring out, music that the world has never heard.

That moment for me came when I was on the plane home from the Fourth Estate in San Diego with Invisible Children.  I read, "The Vision" by Pete Greig for the first time.  My friends, it is the heartbeat of Jesus.  This poem outlines the Revolution for Christ that has started to whisper, and will soon blow up in this generation.  This poem is the cry of a generation who are sick of injustice and who no longer believe that ignorance is bliss.

Read and enjoy this poem and let the words fall hard and settle deeply in your hearts.  Let them tear your insides out and wrestle with each sentence, as if it was written specifically for you and you alone to read.  Let these words change you.

Welcome to the Revolution.



The Vision - by Pete Greig

So this guy comes up to me and says:
“what’s the vision? What’s the big idea?”
I open my mouth and words come out like this:
The vision?

The vision is JESUS – obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

The vision is an army of young people.
You see bones? I see an army.
And they are FREE from materialism.

They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.
They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.
They wouldn’t even notice.
They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the west was won.

They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations.
They need no passport.
People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.
They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying.

What is the vision ?

The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes.
It makes children laugh and adults angry.
It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars.
It scorns the good and strains for the best.
It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.
It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.
This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.
A million times a day its soldiers choose to loose,
that they might one day win
the great ‘Well done’ of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night. They don’t need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: “COME ON!”

And this is the sound of the underground
The whisper of history in the making
Foundations shaking
Revolutionaries dreaming once again
Mystery is scheming in whispers
Conspiracy is breathing…
This is the sound of the underground

And the army is discipl(in)ed.
Young people who beat their bodies into submission.
Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.
The tattoo on their back boasts “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain”.

Sacrifice fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes.
Winners. Martyrs.
Who can stop them ?
Can hormones hold them back?
Can failure succeed?
Can fear scare them or death kill them ?

And the generation prays

like a dying man
with groans beyond talking,
with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and
with great barrow loads of laughter!
Waiting. Watching: 24 – 7 – 365.

Whatever it takes they will give: Breaking the rules. Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide. Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs, laughing at labels, fasting essentials. The advertisers cannot mould them. Hollywood cannot hold them. Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive

Inside.

On the outside? They hardly care.
They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide.
Would they surrender their image or their popularity?
They would lay down their very lives - swap seats with the man on death row - guilty as hell. A throne for an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days,
they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses JESUS. (He breathes out, they breathe in.)
Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.
Their words make demons scream in shopping centres.

Don’t you hear them coming?

Herald the weirdo’s! Summon the losers and the freaks.
Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes.
They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension.
Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.

And this vision will be.
It will come to pass;
it will come easily;
it will come soon.

How do I know?

Because this is the longing of creation itself,
the groaning of the Spirit,
the very dream of God.

My tomorrow is his today.
My distant hope is his 3D.
And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great ‘Amen!’ from countless angels, from hero’s of the faith, from Christ himself. And he is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.

Guaranteed.