white space surprises

The Holy Wild describes life with God as He is.
The Holy Wild is what life, drunk to the lees, lived to the hilt, is like-
life where we walk with the God who is surprising,
dangerous, mysterious, alongside us though
we fail to recognize him, then disappearing the minute we do.

Mark Buchanan, The Holy Wild

I have been to the Seattle Space Needle many times, looked at it from all over the city. But about a year ago I visited the Chihuly Glass Museum nestled at its base for the first time. I took this photo looking up through one of the glass sculptures. See the Space Needle? Surprise! It was as if it was hiding in plain sight.

The other day, I was reading in the opening lines of John. I have this memorized. Still, I had to stop after one verse and just sit with it.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Christ is always. He just is. Right alongside the Father. There was no point in
time when He came to be, not really. I mean there was one time when Jesus was born to a teenage girl in a barn. Still, Christ existed before that day and forever after. Christ is timeless.

Timelessness is deep. It’s simple. It’s sacrifice and love. Yet Timelessness came into time to meet me and you. That is what happens when we make a clearing for our soul, we meet ORIGINAL.

Jesus is the O R I G I N A L .

Even though I had put these verses to memory, I was surprised all over again. I’ll be thinking about Christ’s foreverness for days. And He invites you and me to meet Him there. Madeleine L’Engle calls this “is-ness”.

I thought of a lyric from Jason Isbell, from his song 24 Frames. At first I wasn’t sure I liked the thought,

You thought God was an architect
Now you know,
He’s something like a pipe bomb ready to blow

Does that make you uncomfortable? It does me. The Living God is not jihad, but neither is he a kitty cat, all purr, curled up in a spot of sun.

I’m more comfortable thinking of God as even and steady. And He is. He’s dependable, faithful, true and good. He is all that & also holy, furious, just and unfathomable.

I realized a few years ago in the middle of a miscarriage I knew was coming,

God is &.

While we waited and prayed for a miracle, I saw God is both good & sovereign. I could lose something precious to me and He is still trustworthy. The Holy should blow my mind or I’m not getting near enough to His heart to see the real Him.

**God is both:

  • far & near * tender & severe * merciful & just * big & small * holy & approachable * dangerous & good * immediate & timeless * fierce & friendly * risky & certain * wounded & whole * fire & woo ***

This little ampersand that my friend Shelley made for me sits in my entryway to remind me that my God is &.

In C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, Mr. Beaver says of Aslan,

Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe?
Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”

Do we dare come close to the Lion who sits next to the stream where we come to drink? The Lion who is good & dangerous. Yes, come. He invites us to come near.

Come running, but come barefoot.

Annie Dillard in Teaching a Stone to Talk says,

It’s madness to wear ladies’ straw hats
And velvet hats to church; we should be wearing crash helmets.
Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares;
they should lash us to our pews.

Oh, I just love that! Batten down the hatches. Here comes Jesus in the storm, walking on water.

Has Jesus blown your mind lately? It could. I we are rummaging around in Holy Scripture, we just might meet the Holy Ghost.

Time Before the World
by Terri Conlin

I am thinking of a time before the world
Before the ticking clock
Before the sun split the sky,
Where was I?
When layers sheared from layers
Dark from light
Like a cannonball to the rock

We were always together
Circling braided gears
Before the sky was blu,
There was forever you,
Water’s face smiles in the gathering
In the nearness
Before the years

You always wanted me close and sure
Eye to eye, familiar face to face
What was I afraid of,
Where was my love?
Hand to hand
But my hands were broken when I fell
You reached in my place

I couldn’t find a soul
Only birds in retreat with the hills
When I am rifled,
What will you do?
Bring me all the way back
From the heavens black
Nothing in the stills

There was no point in time
No mark ever made
Without light coming through
Without original you
Shining life in the dark
In the time before the world
When all the price was dearly paid