What Radical Christianity Looks Like Right Where You Are {Pt. 3}

You can beat your hard chest over the slaves in night streets.

And over women beaten down for her one beautifully snapping mind, and over oppression that crushes the gasping lungs of whole nations.

And all your chest banging can sound clang hollow, and I think this over a sink full of crusted pots.

The water is hot.

And not at all hot enough.

And where do you find the blasted tap to steam my lukewarm hands awake? How do you scrub clean the inside of a dirty pot?

How do live radical faith in a North American echo chamber?

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And I can wonder about the state of my heart all I want, if the arteries and the valves are hardly warmed over —

but give me a break, it’s right there in my hands.

It’s my hands that are content to mindlessly scroll through Pinterest and Facebook and too often it’s escapism and not ministry (and it could be. Anything can be made a ministry to somebody. All things are Big in the Kingdom of God).

It’s my hands that grow numb and cold and refuse to fold around God in prayer, refuse to fold hope around all this bleeding everywhere.

Hands are the thermometer of the heart.

And a heart that burns for it’s First Love — it flows like mercury to the hands that then reach out to warm a numbed world.

I scour the inside of the pressure cooker.

I scour and scrape. It’s there straight across from the sink, there on the wall right there by the fireplace, two wooden letters:
IN.

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My One Word for 2013.

IN.

I breathe in slow. Exhale. It’s never about performing. It’s always about passion. And girl — you can’t fix your heart by making your hands work harder. When you fix your moments on Christ, that fixes your heart – and your hands.

I wash out the pot, a baptismal.

Because it’s true: You can have more of a Christian lingo than really have the Christian life. We can think we’re living with Christ –when we’re really only talking about Him.

Your hands can so work in service for Christ — that you forget to fall in love with Christ.

It’s like a heart beat at the sink, slow – slow and hot and flaming high.

IN.
Love.
WITH.
Christ.

Like a beating, throbbing current that could heal the world.

Because the whole world — mine, the one down the street, the one that lays curved and spinning sick – it just wants to know in all of this: Where is God?

Where is God in this mess of betrayal and disappointment and sickness? Where is God down hospital halls and red light districts and gutted out dreams? Where is God when everything just echoes empty off everything carved right out?

And I don’t have the sink drained and my wet hands dried off on a thread-thin towel when it blinks up, this letter from my 9 year old niece:

Aunt Ann.
We went to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto today, Aunt Ann.
We had appointments. And after the appointments, we got to see Aleeda.

Aleeda. I’d written about her before Christmas, in my season of hearts and miracles and radical believing.

About Aleeda, the great-granddaughter of some founding members of our country chapel and how her picture had flashed across the screen at the front of the chapel, her smile and tubes, and how she’d been at Sick Kids Hospital since July, waiting, waiting a half year of Sundays for someone to walk in and give her a beating heart. Sometimes the wait really can kill you.

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And we’d bowed our heads and prayed and how do you pray for what has to happen to find a still-warm and pulsing heart — and how can we not?

For crying out loud — Where is God down hospital halls?

My little niece writes it in simple letters, pounding truth:

Aleeda is struggling, Aunt Ann. She has sores on her skin now.

My hands want to touch the screen, enfold some of all this world’s ache.

“Aleeda’s 1s’t birthday is coming up next week.

And all of us girls here were wondering if as many people as possible could write happy birthday to her?

We want to try to get 1000 cards for her.

Sort of like us all becoming One Thousand Gifts, Aunt Ann.”

And I’m all this liquid lava.

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Yes, little girl, yes:

“I am blessed, I can bless, This is happiness.” (One Thousand Gifts)

Radical can be as simple as radically passing on the gifts you’ve been given.

Radical is as simple as realizing God gave us two hands instead of one.

One to praise Him for the gifts given – and the other to pass on the gifts that never stop being gifts to pass on.

God made us to be helpers, not hoarders. Conduits not collectors.

“Aunt Ann, if Aleeda doesn’t get a heart soon —- .”

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I don’t have to finish that sentence. I know, little girl, I know….

“And Aunt Ann, we can not get a heart for her.

But we can show her God’s heart for her.”

We can’t get a heart for her.

But — we can show her God’s heart for her.

We can’t overthrow whole systems today and empty out the sick wards by noon and mop up the whole planet’s oceans of tears by sundown and we can’t get hearts for the brokenhearted, but by God and in God and through God

We can show them God’s heart for them.

We can rip back all these layers of busyness.

We can let the rest of the world all stampede by in this lemming lunge to suburban success.

And we can slow.

And we can kneel.

And can take the time given to us to bear our bare, vulnerable selves, and show the broken down – the pulsing heart of God right in us, right with them.

That thundering question of Where is God?

Is best answered when the people of God offer a hand and whisper: Here I am.

That thundering question of Where is God?

Is best answered when the people of God tear everything else away and take the time to show it: Here’s His love for you – beating right here, right here in me, right here for you.

What else is time for but this?

And I don’t dry and put away the dripping pots in the sink.

I pick up a pen.

And the ink runs like hot mercury for a girl who needs a new heart and the whole world does.

And time and us were made to show them His.

 

 

 

 

Pssst…. want to take beautiful time and become the gift? We could all become One Thousand Gifts! Let’s do it!

Email Aleeda just a line or two of birthday greeting  right here: 1stbirthdaycardforAleeda@gmail.com (if you wanted to get the kids in on it too — you could email a photo of their hand drawn cards?)  My 5 little nieces will make sure you get to show God’s heart to her.

That thundering question of  ”Where is God?” Is best answered when the people of God offer a hand and whisper: “Here I am.”

Related: {The next several Wednesdays will wrestle with “Radical Right Where You Are”}

First in the series: When You are Weary of Watered-Down, Vanilla Christianity {Part 1 of Radical Series}
What Does a bit of Radical Christianity Really Look Like —- Right Where You Are? {Part 2 of the Radical Series}
The Miracle He will not Withhold from You
Change the Prepositions in Your life and You Change Your Life

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Every Wednesday, we Walk with Him, posting a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to His heart. To read the entire series of spiritual practices
Next Week, might we keep exploring it: The Practice of Radical. What does it mean to live IN Jesus, WITH Christ in the center of our lives?
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Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 | Doing Thanks, Eucharistic Living, Faith, Walk with Him, WWHW