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Sunday, November 15, 2009

BUTTERED POPCORN WITH A BUTTERFLY BREEZE

Whitney and I visited the church I recently spoke at today. I warned her that the church was lack luster in appearance but made up for it in it's authentic grass roots feel. I also warned her that people might assume we are "together" in spite of our age difference and be prepared to ignore the questions or be ready to respond with "we're just friends." The last time I was there a woman suggested I meet her 19 year old grand daughter. I didn't have the heart to tell her I was twice her age. (Yes I know my crush Taylor Swift is only turning 20 in December)

We scrambled in a little late and immediately were greeted by a smile from Clarice, Clarice as in the Silence of the Lambs Clarice. This was how she introduced herself the first time I met her. It worked: I remembered her name.

I was a little nervous about Whitney going with me because The Path openly struggles with worship and Whitney is accustomed to great worship just like I am. I told her the one guy who dresses up in a suit tries to play the piano and it can get a little tough. After some trouble with the overhead projector, Jason said, "If you came here for fancy church you came to the wrong place. Here things are out of place and out of the ordinary." Then the piano player piped in, "And out of tune!" We all laughed.

The worship actually turned out to be two guitarist and a decent vocalist. One guitarist's face was a little beaten up from his ultimate fighting championship fight the night before. We sang I Saw the Light and Amazing Love. It wasn't bad and I actually paid attention to the lyrics. The piano player I liked played the offertory hymn.

The best thing about the service was the two kids who collected the offering. One was wearing an AC/DC T-shirt and the other one was wearing Star Wars: a rocker and futuristic warrior collecting money for God. Almost everyone was dressed casual. I myself was in jeans, while Whitney got herself fairly cute looking.

Jason talked about where we take our concerns and worries and used quite a bit of scripture. I was paying attention but couldn't wait to get home and write about AC/DC and Star Wars.

When we got back to my house we spent some time admiring my Ginkgo trees and looking around the old estate I live on. It was a perfect Fall day that concluded with us eating at Applebees and me learning about why older women use a lot of conditioning cream. When I got home I took a two hour nap that was so good it felt like I was sleeping in warm buttered popcorn with a butterfly breeze.

I had snapped a photo of our shadow while we were walking around earlier and started thinking about what God was teaching me today. It had been a rather busy week followed by a coffee bar for the West Tennessee Health Care Foundation Saturday night. We handed out Dirty Snowmen in a room full of bow ties and black gowns. Then today in church I was staring at AC/DC and Star Wars. And now, I'm looking at this shadow.

In this shadow you can't tell what we are wearing, you can't even tell if we are smiling, but you can tell something is going on. I often feel like this with God: you can't tell what He is doing, you can't even tell how it will change you , but you can tell He is up to something. Paul said "We see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." I often wonder what God is up to in my life. I often wonder what He is trying to tell me, and probably dying to show me. The problem is I have trouble listening and paying attention. I'm like a six year old in math class distracted by a cookie in my pocket.

John said, "We love Him because He first loved us." I want to be more like John and a lot more like Jesus. They both were very loving individuals. They both openly loved the people around them and had no problem making sure the people around them felt their love. Proverbs says hidden love is worse than open rebuke, or that not telling someone you love them will kill a relationship faster than fighting. I'm fairly sure that part of what God is up to is softening the heart of Timm Johnson and giving Timm Johnson the wisdom to openly love the people in his life better.

I've been thinking about how that shadow is a mixture of the sun and us facing the sun. The shadow wouldn't exist if either the sun or we weren't there. I've thought about how great it is that we get to be a in an incredible mixture, in a relationship, with God of the universe, and that in some ways it resembles us, but more than anything it gives God the glory. We are privileged vessels of the incredible love and light of God, vessels created in the image of his majesty. And I've thought about how one day we will stand before the King, comprehending his full love for us, understanding why he loved us, because as we stare into his beautiful face we will finally see what the King has wanted us to see all along.....the resemblance.

After I hug my Father for a while, I think I might go lay my head on a cotton candy pillow in warm buttered popcorn with a butterfly breeze, because I'm going to be tired from all that smiling.

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