Branch

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But on this humbled ground, a tiny shoot, hopeful and promising,
will sprout from Jesse’s stump;
A branch will emerge from his roots to bear fruit.
And on this child from David’s line, the Spirit of the Eternal One will alight and rest.

By the Spirit of wisdom and discernment
He will shine like the dew.

By the Spirit of counsel and strength
He will judge fairly and act courageously.

By the Spirit of knowledge and reverence of the Eternal One,
He will take pleasure in honoring the Eternal.

He will determine fairness and equity;

He will consider more than what meets the eye,
And weigh in more than what he’s told.
So that even those who can’t afford a good defense
will nevertheless get a fair and equitable judgment.

With just a word, He will end wickedness and abolish oppression.

With nothing more than the breath of His mouth, He will destroy evil.

He will clothe himself with righteousness and truth;
the impulse to right wrongs will be in his blood.

(Isaiah 11:1-5 The Voice)

You Wear Sunshine

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Everything I am will praise and bless the Lord!

Oh Lord, my God, your greatness takes my breath away,

Overwhelming me by your majesty, beauty, and splendor!

You wrap yourself with a shimmering glistening light.

You wear sunshine like a garment of glory.

(Psalm 104:1,2 The Passion Translation)

Leaning

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The nurse reminded me to keep my head above my heart when she handed me the page of post-surgical instructions. I chuckled. People have been trying unsuccessfully to convince me to do that for years.

“I’m serious. You could hit the floor if you bend over to pick fluff off the carpet. It takes a while for the anaesthesia to wear off. Take it easy for a couple of days.”

So, armed with the excuse to avoid work I put my feet up and watched a live-streamed event from Los Angeles all day on Saturday. What I saw caused my heart to rise well above my head.

I can’t explain it. When I saw a delegation from Korea pour out their hearts in prayer for America, I wept. When I saw First Nations people forgive white men for horrors brought upon them and join with Jewish people to drum and blow shofars I was undone.

Yes! Yes! There is something about honouring roots that will heal this land. I don’t know how I know, I just do. My spirit leaps at the sight of Aboriginal people dancing in praise to the Creator – perhaps because the Algonquin people rescued my great grandmother when she was a child. They raised her and taught her how to live off the land while loving and respecting it. I am so grateful. My heart also wants to stand up and honour people who have survived hundreds of years persecution by misled religious people to discover the real Messiah.

I wept with the representatives of African American people from troubled cities who offered forgiveness and I travailed with Black women who cried out for their children. I was amazed at the sight of Armenians and Turks with their long history of hatred making efforts to reconcile. I saw steps toward unity when Roman Catholics and Protestants embraced each other and the shards of many splinter groups recognized one Lord, one faith, one baptism.

What impressed me the most was tens of thousands of people under the age of thirty who stood in line at 4 a.m. and then stood in the rain for fifteen hours, and stood shoe-less with footwear held in the air as a demonstration of their dedication to go to the streets to demonstrate the goodness of God beyond the walls of the church. They have a desperate need to turn away from division and strife and powerless Christianity with mere theoretical grace and toward love and hope and demonstrations of the real thing. So do I.

 

As I sometimes do when I am watching a video or listening to a podcast, I doodled. I planned to try painting in watercolours since I haven’t done that for a while. I started a simple sketch as a basis for a painting, but I kept adding to it. I didn’t have a theme in mind, and I have never drawn a depiction of Jesus – mostly because I don’t like relying on any artist’s interpretation, so why should I add mine, but that’s the way the drawing went. In the end I decided to leave it as a pencil drawing.

I guess I was thinking about John the disciple, who referred to himself as one who Jesus loved, leaning on his Master at the last supper, because there he was in the drawing. In my mind he was just a young man with a wannabe beard. He had no idea what lay ahead. None of them did. All John knew was that Jesus loved him, and he was safe.

That’s all he needed to know.

I watched the crowds of young adults at the Los Angeles Coliseum respond to worship and make commitments with nothing more to go on than the knowledge that Jesus loves them. But that’s all they need to know. Secure in that knowledge they can move mountains.

Like John and the ten remaining disciples and the other people who were transformed when the Holy Spirit came in power, I do believe this generation will change the world.

My head may try to stay above my heart, but it can’t. My heart tells my head to get into alignment with God’s purposes because the drums are beating, the shofar is sounding, the wind is blowing and the fire is falling. The world will know that Jesus didn’t come to condemn them, but rather through him they can be saved. God loved us enough to send his only son so that whoever believes in him will have life -eternal life, abundant life. We can lean on him and be safe.

An old song just came to mind:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
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What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms