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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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the story of a boy and a satchel

This is a fictional story to put human flesh on the boy who gave up his fish and loaves for the five thousand. I completely made up everything, but maybe it will help us see this boy as a person and not just a name in typeface. Enjoy!
——-
Theo’s eyes refused to open. Sleep had sealed them shut and even the obnoxious chickens in the front yard couldn’t rouse him.

“THEEE-O!”
The scream breezed in and halted right next to his ear drums and seemed to reverberate in between his ears. Theo wrapped the scratchy threads of his blanket closer around him and tried to tune out the sound.
“THEEEEE-O!”
In moments like this, Theo downright despised his name for being two syllables. Why couldn’t he be like the other kids, who had good-sounding, tongue-twisting names like Abinadab or Bizjothjah or Gath-rimmon. No one ran around screaming out those boys’ names.
Theo’s two-syllable name made the dull, gray morning even less desirable as he swung his bare feet to the cold, dirt floor. He rested his hands on the side of the cot and took a deep breath with half-open eyes and then slid his feet into leather sandals and laced them up his dusty calves.
“THEEEEEEEEE–“
“Yes! I’m here!” Theo grumbled, just as his sister Hannah appeared with mid-screaming mouth in the open doorway. Theo grabbed his satchel and slung it over his shoulder, barely hearing his sister’s endless chatter.
“…and because of that, I am still not ready to leave to get water for the well and you have to feed the animals because they have been bellowing all morning and you know I also woke up extra early to help Mama because Father set off for the Sea and don’t you remember that today you are going to the Sea of Galilee to be with Father? And–“
“Wait, what did you say?” Theo was extremely adept at tuning out his three sisters, but it sometimes kept him from important information, like today. “Did you say I’m to go to the Sea of Galilee to be with Father?”
“Yes, Theo, of course! Now, feed the animals so they will quit bellowing and ask Mama to pack your satchel with food for the meal. You don’t know how long you will be away today.” With that, Hannah smoothed her long mantle and tucked some stray, wind-swept strands into her chocolate braid.
Theo, with the news of his day’s agenda, startled himself into wakefulness and went about the morning chores all the time thinking about the gathering at the Sea of Galilee. His strong, calloused hands worked the burlap bags easily and before his sister could return to pester him, he had already finished. He rushed back inside, sending a cloud of smoke to cover him head to toe, and went in search of Mama.
“Mama! I’m to meet Father today at the gathering over at the Sea of Galilee. What have you to send with me for food? …But, I must hurry!” Theo had only heard rumors about all the commotion about prophets in the region lately, but he knew enough to know that the gathering at the Sea would be more interesting than a day working at home. A day at home would be filled to the brim with mundane chores and errands and two-syllables screams.
“Okay, okay. Calm down, Theo,” as she spoke Mama moved toward the kitchen to retrieve two fish from the ice drawer and loaves of barley bread from the pantry. “Take these to your father and bring back a full report. Even if your father doesn’t return tonight, I want you to be back before twilight, do you hear?”
“Mama, do I really bring fish? I am walking and you know how they will begin to stink on the way!!” Though almost 12, Theo still whined like a small child… especially about fish. “I don’t even like fish, Mama!”
“These fish are all I have to send, okay? Please, just take them to your father and refresh him with this food and your presence,” Mama now wrapped the fish in paper and carefully placed them in Theo’s satchel with five barley loaves.
Reluctant, Theo resigned to his duty, happy for the reprieve from chores but unsure about the prospect of smelling fish for the two-hour-long journey to the Sea.
“Okay, Mama.” His hazel cinnamon eyes smiled ever-so-slightly before he turned and started walking along the path.
After 15 minutes, Theo quickly realized that walking in the heat of the day was easily as horrible as doing chores at home. He spent the next 15 minutes arguing with himself which he would rather do. The argument ended without conclusion, except that both were undesirable and he had another hour and 30 minutes before he reached his destination. He could feel the sweat pooling on his back underneath his tunic and he shifted uncomfortably. The heat was unbearable.
Finally, he came upon the Sea and saw a great crowd assembling at the base of a mountain. He maneuvered his way (the benefits of his still-small frame) through the people to find his father. His eyes accustomed to the search for the broad-shouldered man, Theo found him quickly and they exchanged stories from the morning. Theo listened carefully as his father explained that the man, Jesus, had been speaking. The great mass of people had gathered abruptly, leaving work and daily agendas to hear the famed “healer” talk about authority and judgment and the glory of God.
Theo strained to see the man who had caused all the disruption, but could only see shoulders and beards. He raised his hand to feel his smooth jaw-line, silently wishing for the day he would have a full, man’s beard and strong, broad shoulders like his father. He brought his attention back to his father’s description,
“…and there’s nothing really unique about him. That’s the strange thing – everyone is drawn to him and his message, but no one exactly knows why. He talks about heaven and life and maybe we are desperate to hear about some hope. I don’t know, Theo, this man is either really dangerous or…. or…. well, I don’t know.”
Theo nodded along at his father’s words as he looked at the people around him. They all stood transfixed and in hushed conversation about the “healer” and his ways.
Suddenly, a small group seem to be conferring just above the crowd. Several in the group seemed agitated, but one man lifted his hands and placed them on their shoulders. He motioned out to the crowd and spoke a few more words before the men dispersed.
“That’s the one – the man in the center who just settled that dispute. That’s Jesus,” Theo’s father said.
Soon, the two men from the dispute were circling around the crowd and asking if anyone had any food. They walked amongst the crowd, searching (quite desperately) for someone who had food with them.
Without thinking, Theo approached one of the men and opened his satchel, “I have two fish and five barley loaves.” He looked up at the men and searched their eyes. A quiet burning pushed him to say again, “Did you hear? I have some fish and some barley loaves here in my satchel.” Theo lifted it up for their inspection.
The men nodded at one another and then, thanking Theo, swooped into his satchel and left it limp at his side. They wove back through the crowd, asking the same question, “Does anyone have any food?”
Theo returned to his father who stood with an unpleasant, furrowed brow. “And now, son, what do you expect us to eat?”
“Uh, I… I don’t know father. I just, well, I don’t know what happened. I saw they needed food and remembered I had some. I couldn’t think of any reason why I shouldn’t give it to them…. I….”
Before Theo could finish, the man named Jesus was holding the loaves and the fish and blessing them. Theo looked twice and a third time to make sure the man was the “healer” and that what he had in his hands were the very stinky fish he had carried in his satchel. Having confirmed these things, he began to squirm through the crowd to get a closer look. Within minutes he was at the very front, watching Jesus motion for the men to bring him the baskets.
Theo realized that his food was the sole contribution to the questions from the men earlier. And now, Theo watched as the man named Jesus blessed and broke his bread and filled baskets with it. The five barley loaves seemed never to grow smaller, only breaking off into more pieces. Now, Jesus was telling the men to pass the bread around so everyone would eat and be full. Theo thought for sure the fish would be a personal meal for the healer, but it was not so. The man named Jesus took the fish next and broke it and filled baskets for the men to pass around.
Theo stood incredulous as the baskets passed by him and he took from the bounty. He could have filled his whole satchel several times with what he saw in front of him. Then the basket passed with the fish and again Theo marveled at the way the food had multiplied right in front of his eyes. Even the long journey with smelly fish seemed a small thing compared to this crowd enjoying a full meal.
He came only with two fish and five loaves and gave it away without knowing why. Now, he saw that all he gave was multiplied for thousands of people. Twelve baskets stacked up around the edges of the crowd because the people couldn’t eat another bite!
This was no ordinary day and no ordinary adventure and no ordinary healer. Theo silently declared he would be willing to give much more to a man like this.
————–

3 comments on “the story of a boy and a satchel

  1. Caroline says:

    Thanks, mom. You’re pretty great.

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