No Wonder

Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering.
Augustine

The natural wonders are called that for a reason–we are awed and diminished by them. They rightfully deserve our reverence and respect.

So why does the image of God Himself not call us to wonder? Each cell, each organ, each movement, each thought, each breath a miracle of creation far beyond the wonders of the mountains, the heavens and the seas. Yet every day we throw these away as inconvenient, ill-timed, and undervalued.

We were created to look like Him. And He came among us to be with us, walk with us, weep with us, love us, and save our rebellious ungrateful hides.

No wonder we’re such a mess, in need of salvage. No wonder at all.

~E. Gibson

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Thirsty

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”
John 19:28

God thirsts to be thirsted after.
Augustine

I may be mistaken, but I think this is the only statement Jesus makes in the Gospel that reflects his bodily need. During his years of ministry, he doesn’t complain about a headache or backache, or sore feet, or a bad cold or feeling hungry. In one story, the writer John says Jesus is tired after a journey to Samaria where he sits down to rest at noon and asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water from the well. As they talk, she asks for “living water” from him–her thirst, despite having easy access to a well, exceeds his.

So it is from the cross. He has extreme thirst, no question. He is offered vinegar on a sponge–hardly an answer to thirst–what we offer to him in his need is not worthy of spit. We stand beneath the cross with our own unquenchable thirst–unsatisfied by money or gadgets or status or power or pleasure or gallons of drink– that is slaked only as this man offers himself to us.

He tells us of his thirst so we remember our own deep need, unmet and unsatisfied until “it is finished.”

Only then we drink freely and deeply.

~E. Gibson

Longing for Peace

You called, You cried, You shattered my deafness, You sparkled, You blazed, You drove away my blindness, You shed Your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for You. I tasted and now I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and now I burn with longing for your peace.
Augustine in “Confessions”

Augustine’s prayer startles,
describing our burning desperation for God and His effort to restore us.
He calls out to us, engaging all our senses.
We hear His cries, see His sparkling glory, smell His fragrance, taste and feel Him.
And long for more.

Our weaknesses shattered, blazed, and driven away.
Our breathlessness eased, our exhaustion rested, our aching emptiness quenched.
Starving, dehydrated, panting, yearning for rescue.
He brings us peace,
Everlasting.

He is Here

And He departed from our sight that we might return to our heart, and there find Him. For He departed, and behold, He is here.
Augustine

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:30-32

I think often of the disciples walking to Emmaus on the evening of Resurrection Sunday, trying to make sense of all the events of the day. When another traveler joined them, they shared everything they knew, expressing their wonder and amazement. They spoke from the heart, and as He, in turn, shared insights from the gospel, He set their “hearts burning within” them as they listened to His words.

Then He revealed Himself during the meal as He spoke words of gratitude and broke the bread. In this simple every day action, they recognize Him, and so feel Him in their hearts. As He departs from their sight, they know where they may always look to find Him.

He is here. Deep in our beating hearts that He shared with us, deep in our every day activities of making and eating meals together, walking, sleeping, caring for one another, teaching, cleaning up, telling stories and simply saying thanks. He is here, so close, so accessible, so much part of our humanity, yet transcending His flesh and blood by giving it up for us. To find Him,we need provide no sacrifice, need make no pilgrimage, worship at no special shrine, pay no indulgences. As we eat, as we drink, as we express gratitude, we feel His Spirit, recognizing He offered Himself as the sacrifice made on our behalf.

No other God would. No other God has. No other God is here, dwelling within us.

~E. Gibson

What Love Looks Like

What does love look like?
It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
That is what love looks like.
Augustine

What love doesn’t look like:

it is not the Hollywood version
or the red carpet glittery gowns
or the fancy jewelry

it is not mostly uncovered magazine cover girls
or hooking up when it feels good
or a serial monogamy relationship of three months

it’s not an online status declaring “in a relationship”
or a choreographed and photographed proposal
or the designer wedding gown

it isn’t precisely planned conceptions
of predetermined gender and genetics
or discarding the imperfect

Love looks like
commitment
and sacrifice
and mercy
and selflessness
and forgiving grace

It looks like Him.

~E. Gibson

Choosing Sides

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:5


The issue is now clear. It is between light and darkness and everyone must choose his side.
G.K. Chesterton

This is not like choosing sides on teams in grade school, numbering off one-two-one-two until everyone knows where they stand. This is not like an election year where choosing sides means aligning myself with the political party that seems to be the best fit at the time, even if I don’t agree with all their platform points. This is not like a Lincoln-Douglas debate tournament where I might represent one viewpoint for the first round, and then be asked to represent the opposite viewpoint in the second half.

It is more like being chosen for one side or the other, even if, klutz that I am, it means always being the last to be chosen for any sports team with all my limitations, my poor coordination, my weakness and my flaws.

This choice is not for an hour or a day or a year, but for eternity; whether to stand in the light as it shines on my dark, glum, sullen head or stay unexposed and hidden in the shadows.

It isn’t just about choosing,
but being chosen,
just as I am.

Though the light shines on things unclean, yet it is not thereby defiled.
Augustine