Thursday, March 15, 2012

Italian food, healing community, and immortality...

The Lord says, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Gotta love Italian
Sometimes you've just got to eat a little Italian food (I mean a lot). Yes, I know I'm a good cook; yes, Rebekah and I have agreed to eat dinner out only one time a month; and, yes, we all know that the selection in Brandon is not exactly what we quickly grew accustomed to in Tuscany.... But, once in a while, the only thing you can do is to sit at a quiet table in Romano's Macaroni Grill and down some serious Italian nosh.

Such was the case this week, when life simply took its toll.

COMMUNITY: But then there's something else that it's important to do when there's grief and pain and overwhelming loss, and that is to actively participate in the grace of healing spiritual community.

The Body of Christ is such a blessing to our family. So Rebekah and I went ahead with the events we were leading, Tuesday and Wednesday; not because we had to, but because our church family is exactly where we want to be. Authentic community is even more comforting than that extra-large plate of lasagna (and more), and even more nourishing too.

  • Exploring Petra
    Travelogue/Bible-study: Tuesday evening we took the congregation up Mt. Sinai, into Petra, and on to the panoramic lookout on Mt. Nebo. The crowd had grown from our initial program last week, and everyone seems to be looking forward to Part-One of "The Promised Land" next week. My brother Geoff was a great traveler, caught the bug early in his life, and had planned to attend this series. However, as my friend David told me, Geoff is already probably in the process of scaling some mighty peak right now, happy in the knowledge that his exploring and adventure days have - in all likelihood - only just begun.

  • Then, yesterday evening, I led my "The Men's Room" small group. We're studying REACHING TOWARD EASTER together. But, more importantly, we're there to share in one-another's stories.

BOATLOAD: I had a boatload of stories to share, all from this past weekend with Geoff. And, remarkably, almost every reading for this week tied in with the idea that mortality and immortality are so close, that they are in fact overlapping rather than simply intersecting, much of the time.

Our conversation centered around life beyond life. We talked about what it means to understand our existence beyond the limitations of "a few years as a human being and then nothing".

Capturing a glimpse, through sometimes the smallest crack in the boundary, of the wonder that awaits ahead...
Immortality, we concluded, makes our mortality even more significant. My brother Geoff has gone through a transition, and he no more ceases to be than I cease to be when I travel to Italy to visit Andrew. Exactly what this immortality looks like is - thankfully - beyond both our understanding and our imagination. But isn't it always that way with God? Isn't the realm of possibility so much greater than our ability to capture an idea and hem it in with our limited capacity and understanding?

WHAT MATTERS: And so what matters is how we allow the grace of immortality to animate our day-to-day lives. I told the guys this as I closed the meeting. "For homework this week I want you to think - constantly - about what it means to be "An Immortal" living on this mortality-bound Earth. Don't get a big head about it - 'I'm an Immortal!' - but try to let the fact of your immortality be a transformational reality, every day..."

In peace, and rooted in the hope that is ours in the Good News, DEREK

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