Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm an....Aunt??????

Aunt Krista? Sounds kind of weird if you ask me! But as of this time tomorrow evening I will be just that, Aunt Krista.

I have held many titles in my lifetime.  Friend, sister, daughter, co-worker, classmate, roommate, elder, leader, but never aunt.  Each time my life takes a turn, each time I gain another title, I realize that life is precious.  I realize that my life is connected to many lives.  I realize that I have an effect on people and they have an effect on me.  

Tonight I sit, remembering the life of a young woman who died in a car accident one year ago today.  She was an athlete, a smart young lady, a friend to everyone, a daughter, and her life was just beginning.  She made 1 mistake, getting in the car with a young man who was intoxicated, and they both lost their lives that night.  I remember my friend today and tomorrow I will welcome Briley Rae, my niece, into the world.  

I am excited to be part of a new life.  I welcome the responsibility of helping raise a child in this world.  I look forward to working with my entire family to provide love and care for this precious life that is joining us on this road of life.

Tomorrow opens a new chapter in my life, a new chapter for my entire family, and we are all looking forward to the joy of a new child.



Guilty of digging out cracked cisterns?

I am.

My sermon text yesterday morning was Jeremiah 2:4-13 and verse 13 says this,

"For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living water, and dug out for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water."

Here are some highlights from my sermon which I hope would challenge us all to turn with our hearts towards God instead of the world.

We live in a very broken world, one of suffering, racism, war, injustice, and loneliness.  We also contribute to this brokenness by placing a demand on products made in sweatshops and picked by slaves, by gossiping about and alienating our neighbors, by demanding a reaction to initial acts of violence, and by refusing to put others before ourselves.  When we and those around us experience this brokenness we turn away from God and create for ourselves cisterns that are cracked and hold no water.  We create for ourselves quick fixes and ideas or places to go when we feel the world weighing down on us, and we feel trapped like there is nowhere to go.  We turn to things like work, or money.  We turn to television shows or we commit ourselves to our children's activities like ball teams or extracurricular activities or even their hobbies and interests. We may even over commit ourselves to the work of the church.  We may turn to drugs or alcohol. We may even escape to the sounds of music.  There are many things that we do, many things we turn to, in order to “escape” from the world.

These escapes are our cracked cisterns.  These cisterns may hold water for a short time or a long time but eventually the crack, spring a leak, and dry out.  Leaving us in the same position we were in before, lonely, broken, and weighed down.

When we reflect on the reality of a broken world I can understand the cry of the heart begging for a just and loving God to intercede and make everything better. That does not always happen and then we are there, feeling alone, and questioning if this God even exists. Elizabeth Johnson in Quest for the Living God makes a powerful statement when she says:

Seeing God as the liberating God of life is a most practical insight, for it enlists the power of the Most High in opposition to whatever mars the divine image in women and men.   Wherever persons are caught in the grip of unjust suffering, where the life of multitudes is throttled, gagged, slain, or starved, there the Holy one is to be found, in gracious solidarity with the poor, calling the oppressors to conversion, giving birth to courage for protests, struggling to bring life out of death.

When we as God's people view God as a liberating God w   who is working and struggling to bring life out of death, light out of darkness, and hope out of brokenness then we can learn what it is to drink from living water.   When our view of God shifts from that of an absent or self-seeking God to one of hope and life, we become hope and life to the world. 

Drinking from the fountain of living water means that we as God's children turn to God instead of to the world.  It means that we no longer seek our happiness in the materialistic or socially constructed ideals of true happiness.  We humble ourselves, turning to God and scripture, crying out from our heart and saying here I am Lord, I am here to serve your people by walking alongside the poor, calling out against those who contribute to oppression locally and globally, encouraging others to stand up for justice, and struggling with brothers and sisters around the world to bring light into darkness, to bring life out of death.

It is my prayer that we can hold one another accountable, lift one another up, and accept the call to take up our crosses and follow Christ.  I pray that we as Christ's church are willing to drink deeply from the fountain of living water so that we may carry this water to brothers and sisters around the world who just like us are seeking because they are thirsty.