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Sometimes, we journey to the dark so we can be moved by the Light. We trace the furthest boundary lines behind our eyes. We get deep next to demons, weighed down from evil within and without. And when warmth first touches cheek or shoulder or the back of our knees, the weight may not lift but there is relief. . . . And it is the same magic— to feel Light's warmth after a cold night or a long stretch of summer, it is the same glory— to be reading the lectionary in a Home Depot parking lot with sleeping car seats or having a morning cup of coffee on the front stoop with my co-laborers. . . . Somehow, God has anchored the pale blue ombre sky above me like an endless umbrella. He covers and cloaks with Light and sometimes I have to go deep in dark to feel it's warmth. . . . Morning Call:  Lamentations 1:12 Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if  there is any sorrow like my sorrow which was brought upon  me, whom the Lord hath afflicted. . . . Opening Prayer:  Loving Father, as we journey with your Son in this week of remembrance and hope, help us to experience and receive you and your love for the world more clearly. Transform us by the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of your Son, our Lord, we pray. Amen. #holyweek #notredame #outofthedarkness #intothelight
Naked morning comfort and I'm just basking in the humble light of it. They wear all their affections like clothes and this one makes me melt because they aren't so attached to their wholeness. They are ready to be broken to make peace with one another -- more ready than me, so I take notes. . . . The making of our Peace broke Him, completely. His humble persistence was full of glory because He was God, not because it looked good. Making peace means breaking pride, breaking selfish gain, breaking the sin inside that so easily entangles us, and breaking the power of the sin outside that so deceives us. . . . #newblog #momswhowrite #writersofinstagram #motherhood #siblings #siblingsasfriends #braveryofsmalllife #Godseconomy #kitchen #atlanta #family #teamkolts #teampixel #teampixelnofilter #nofilter #morningglow #morning #liveauthentic #kids #georgia #southernsummer
"Look, Mom! Edelweisses!!!!" And she passed the peace to me with flower weed stems and smooshed petals. The brisk tickle of Spring wind swept my elbows as I reached out to receive. . . . And it got made again, Peace. Established with delicate weed offerings and vulnerable outstretched hands, peace mended for a moment the breaks of the morning. The Great Deceiver's attempts to put us at odds— to wound one other with war words thrown in defense and pride— got smooshed underfoot in the backyard. . . . And I thought of Jesus making literal Peace, because the world doesn't allow it to come and be kept. Peace must be forged with active rebellion against the forces within and without that would rather war. We are a peace breaking people made in the image of One who carries Peace in his character, One who made Peace for us forever with God so that we can make peace today exactly where we are. . . . "For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14 . . . And the little child shall lead us.
I studied Job's friends pretending comfort, while withholding kindness and refusing to revive a weary spirit. I taught about the people in Jerusalem spreading their coats out like a royal carpet for the King of glory to ride in on a borrowed mule. I learned about the invisible God we try to force fit our image but our invisible spirit is made in His. I chased my littles in circles in the newly cut backyard and followed Foster's gaze to find birds high on budding branches. I heard Zella yell to our neighbor two houses down to move her apple trees far away because our juniper tree has a bad disease that could infect it. I wrestled through pride and failure and defending ideas. I made a very late afternoon cup of coffee and cooked with my baby strapped on my back. I snuggled my girl and gave her choices while praying she would choose right. On the first day of Spring. . . . We rode to Bible study, the kids and me, in an Uber because I ran the battery down on the van. I caught the sun glory streaming in to hit all our faces in the backseat as Zella chatted with the driver about music, imaginary children, and her preference to not wear socks and shoes. Our Wednesdays have so much Bible in them — sometimes nothing connects and I arrive at the end with mush brain and then sleep in my day clothes. But yesterday, I fell into bed so thankful that there are constellations in all these bits of Light. He is holding all things together and sometimes He connects dots and reveals a special glimpse of the glory of it all. #writersofinstagram #momswhowrite
My brows converge over my nose and my face squints against the dark. I pray, "O, God. O, God." I lay flat on my bed between two littles and take a deep breath that reaches my shoulders and sides and ankles "O, God." . . . It feels like Spring shouldn't come, that it is so *wrong* here that Lent should last forever. That, though our hope for Spring is strong, it is mostly about escape and not about salvation. We have made ourselves at home in winter, comfortable with the frosted ground under our hibernation. Our evil isn't seasonal. It isn't an epoch, a phase, a time period. It is in us— bones, marrow and evil. And we don't even want out. A Stockholm syndrome sickness that's eating us up from the inside but we refuse rescue. . . . The mercy of the Lord comes anyway, budding trees and blooms for the just and unjust. He woos us— relentlessly— out of our captivity with kindness. He calls us to repent of our soul's winter so we can finally see and taste His Spring. He calls us out of shadow and into marvelous light where our winter is exposed and we can squint to see our salvation. And we can know even a little bit more the extent of His glory and the depth of His grace. . . . Spring is coming and we are Easter people, but today there is lament. #light #shadow
Why is it that when we talk about the beginning of the United States it's always "when we founded this great nation" but when we talk about slavery it skips to the Civil War and it's always, "they were fighting to keep slavery in the south." The same humans who founded this nation bought humans and made them slaves in it. And today, for that, I mourn. . . . Every human made in the image of God is the same amount of invaluable. The same amount of mysterious wonder is knit up in our bones, from those first moments curled up in the womb. Lord, have mercy on us for acting like it is not so. . . . . . #americanlent #lentenrose #whiteprivilege #slavery #lent #lament #foundingfathers #letstalkaboutit #repentanceproject #didyouknow #spring #teamkolts #liturgy #reflection #monday #teampixel #atlanta #blackandwhite #slavetrade

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holy heartburn; an invitation

pre-script: I have been doing some writing for the Gathering blog and so posted this piece there in response to Jeff’s Sunday sermon. Sorry for the duplicate!

As I listened to Jeff speak on Matthew 25:31-46 this past Sunday, I realized I drastically misunderstood God’s call for us to serve the ‘least of these.’ The severity of the passage is evident in the language, but the heat rising in my chest seemed like more than realization of the weight in such a responsibility.We heard about the overwhelming amount of ‘least of theses,’ awareness without action, and the passion of service.

overwhelmed

It just takes a brief look at some of the alarming statistics to feel the overwhelming wave.

  1. Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day.Source 1
  2. More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.Source 2
  3. The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.Source 3
  4. According to UNICEF, 26,500-30,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.” Source 4

I’ve had the conversation so many times with myself, “Seriously, Caroline, what can you really do to fight AIDS?” “Yeah, but I should probably help somehow” “But even if you help a little, the problem is so huge, it’ll never get better.”

How depressing! That’s the trouble. Instead of looking at the problems of the world and saying, “How can I serve?” we look at the problems and say, “How can my service possibly make a difference?”

Our focus is all wrong. We are accustomed to getting a decent return on our investments. I don’t want to be a part of anything that isn’t successful, so every time I serve I should be able to see results. But, wait a minute, does God call us to serve for success or just to serve unto Him, for His glory?

awareness without action
Jeff called us out. We all know – we’ve all read the headlines and watched the nightly news. We can’t escape the knowledge that there are people in need around the world.

“It’s not an issue about awareness for most of us … people watch the news and then go on eating their dinner”

So, if I do decide to break my routine and serve as unto the Lord, what really is the right action? Instead of gravitating toward popular movements and giant foundations, what if the right thing to do is make it as personal as you possibly can.

“Many people know about poverty, but very few know the poor by name.” John B. Hayes

When Jesus says, “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me,’” he’s talking about getting real personal. And, here’s the thing, it will be much MUCH more rewarding (for the Kingdom and for yourself) if you break your routine for personal service.

passion; an invitation
This holy heartburn I feel rising in my chest is not condemnation for all the times I have “gone on eating my dinner.” No, this holy fire is in response to the greatest of invitations. Service has, quite unjustly, received a bum rap because it appears weak to the world. Yet, what Christ offers in salvation is a share in His suffering and a share in His future glory.

The way we describe and define passion today is very different from its original meaning, which is ’suffering’ and ‘agony’ and to have compassion is to ’suffer with.’

Even as I write now, I’m feeling again the heat rising in my chest. And, now I am sure that service is not penitence. It’s not our payment for all God’s mercy and grace. It’s not piety. Service is an invitation to know God; to share in the sufferings of the ‘least of these.’

The Kingdom is already and not yet. And in this tension, God has extended an invitation to us to take part in HIS ultimate redemption story.

as servants.

So… if you dig this serving thing, check out Compassion in previous post!

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