November 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
Lord God, what do I do when I feel so immobile? It’s not that I don’t want to feel or that I don’t want to process. It’s not even about wanting to stay steady emotionally. What I want is to think rightly, my thoughts grounded in truth. Sure, if such sobriety comes at the cost of heart feeling stuck at a mourning stage one, so be it. But I do want out. I want my wailing to come out because I think there’s more afterwards. I think that if I get all of my mourning out your healing & strategy can come more quickly. I believe so your word says there’s a season for everything. When we finish crying over the pain, your kindness must come in a greater & more effective healing measure. Then I would be more competent in doing the work at hand, no? Did I get it wrong here? Is everything happening simultaneous? Does the work encompass staying in the place of wailing? But I don’t like it!!! I don’t enjoy the fire shut up in my bone. Who likes this stuff?! Isn’t this why the prophets continually complained to you? About the terrible state they find themselves in for being chosen by you? Is that not a cost of being called? Because if so then I must make peace with exactly what I’ve asked for. I only remind you to keep comforting me.
Yes, comfort me Lord God. I am unsure about what I exactly mourn at this point. They’re so tangled; there’s a gut-pulling, heart-wrenching, overpowering and soul-crushing weight of love. Yes, love. Tender to the bone, flesh, raw, bloody messy love for humanity. We are terrible. O my God we so deserve all your punishments of old covenant, every bit of wrath you declare through the prophets for over the crooked, adulterous, cruel and callous ways. Yet it’s your cry that Israel would turn to you. It’s your tortured heart of love towards your people that we turn and be forgiven. I feel a little bit of it. I am constantly given away to anger–‘Burn us all up! Yeah! Let riots take the streets and people see the fullness of what we’ve brought upon ourselves. Blood for blood, eye for eye, life for life.’ I am exasperated with this world. Tis love that walks the fine line between judgment and mercy. And I feel like a crazy person. This is your heart. I know you’re kind enough to share with me. But it’s also killing me God. I don’t know how to pray. I don’t know if I can cry or kick or scream or utter coherent sentences. I need your Spirit.
There’s sorrow mingled in there. I guess love really covers the entire human emotional spectrum. I feel something like jealousy; I feel something like shame; I feel stuff I normally don’t touch when strictly thinking about myself. But they’re all in there, this tangled ball of dense intense feelings, what can only be described as wailing. I feel it in my gut: the deep deep deep wailing. I can’t tell whether it’s mine at all. I think they come from other people and even past generations, people I have not known but somehow been awakened to intercede on behalf of the Spirit in this moment–all because I’m saying I open myself to your leading. So you show me stuff I never would have access to see in the natural. Why? Though it all sounds like crazy talk, what I’ve come to believe is that your hand is in it and I must search for you. Holy Spirit light and guide the way, for I shall be utterly lost without you in this dark journey into the belly of the beast. I won’t be able to find my way out if you don’t take my hand. I remember our moment like three retreats ago. You asked me what I wanted. And I answered that I wanted to go to the deepest place on the earth: the depth of the ocean where no light penetrates the weight the pressure the depth of the water all around. But I wouldn’t be afraid to go with you. If you are with me I won’t be afraid. So here I am.
So here I am, in the belly of the beast, the depth of the ocean where light has not entered, no feet have treaded, where sight and vision fail. Here I am. You’ve brought me. Is this not where you were Jesus? For three days & three nights in the tomb? Between life & death, between heaven & hell? Where Jonah stayed for three days & three nights? This is where you’ve led me. Thank you for your faithful hands have been with me the whole time. I am not left abandoned.
Lord God I stand in the gap and plead mercy. This stiff-necked people, this unruly and rebellious and deplorable people, my people. You’re certainly in the right to judge us, punish us, bring all kinds of calamity upon us. You are right, vengeance belongs to you. Just as Mama said there shall be a day of judgment for all the blood we’ve shed all the wrongs we’ve brought all the terrible terrible things our hands have committed that we cannot run from. O I believe in your righteous judgment Father. And I pray that it comes quickly and swiftly, without mercy or relenting. Yet I stand and pray that you, in your great compassion & kindness, lead your people to turn from our wickedness and repent. Lord I pray that the white supremacy grossly mistaken as evangelicalism, religiosity of the US churches married to the spirit of this empire be broken. Break the ties. Break the neck. Break the yoke and deception and pride of this demonic force in Jesus name. Set people blinded by history free. May your kindness bring us to repentance. I put my trust and hope in you, all you, nothing else. Don’t put me to shame Lord. I believe that you are who you say you are. And I am just a human. Even if I spoke every mystery and saw the future accurately and declared doom to the nations, you’re still the Judge. You’re still the Savior. You’re still God. And thank God that you’re good.
March 31, 2015 § Leave a comment
but you will first begin by speaking at a pizzeria full of church people and happy drunk folks.
how the story would have unfolded had i prepared/actually read my notes:
hong kong, may 2010. i was in kowloon, walking along the enormous expansion of sky & water, carrying a monologue, asking this question to myself: what is life worth? what difference does one’s life make? it felt so easy to forget about the people and community i had built in the east bay, to be erased from & erase relationships, to live anonymously in a city half way across the globe where no one knows you. what lasting impact was i capable of having on the earth?
no answers then. all i remember is a vague sense of how lonely life can be, not because no one loves you, but because you can’t find the one to love. lonely because you don’t know the object of your all-consuming desire. the entire time that God was pouring his love into me, wastefully and extravagantly, he was moving me to ask the question of how i could ever relate to another being in the way he had related to me.
fast forward four years & seven months. here i was. kolkata region one. past 10pm or so. on our way back to lee memorial mission school in the back of an auto. kolkata was one giant hot mess of people urinating and yelling, cars honking and zigzaging through bumper to bumper traffic with every color and light and decibel and scent imaginable. « Read the rest of this entry »