Royally Ruined By Rejoicing

Click on any television, news outlet, laptop and there it was: The throng.

A hovering buzzing droning throng under white umbrellas and shiny camera tripods.

Across the street stood two british bobbies, stoic, sentry-like.

The Duchess of Cambridge had given birth and all the world rejoiced.

It’s no wonder it is such a wonder.

We are hard-wired for this kind of thing. A child emerging from the dark womb cocoon, all birth wet and screaming, and our hearts leap hope because we really believe that this little, perfectly vulnerable human carries something sacred that we, who stand on the outside watching, can only marvel.asleep,babies,emotions,fathers,love,men,people,sleeping,watching,tender

We marvel at the infant form that contains all the possibilities of God’s assignments.

It is why thousands flock to get a glimpse of a baby who may be king.

It is why newpapers splash headlines announcing a birth that carries all that royalty in its little veins.

My favorite comes from a satirical British rag called The Private Eye that simply says: “Woman Has Baby”

So perfectly and wonderfully, full-of- wonder ordinary. A woman has a baby.

Millions of women deep breathe the breath of pain throughout hospitals and bedrooms and fields today and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that; all that writhing, all that ordinary violence of bringing forth.

Shouldn’t every birth follow with trumpets and gold framed announcements?

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There were no reporters waiting for me and my husband when we swaddled our little ones into their car seats for the first time. There were no newspaper headlines declaring my country’s great joy over the births of my sons or my daughters.

Yet there was fanfare nonetheless.

Fanfare and great rejoicing threatened to explode my heart when I saw my child for the very first time.

I wanted to tell the world.

I wanted to let everyone know the gift I held in my arms was the most amazing, beautiful, sacred piece of humanity that would ever walk the planet.

God had not only given me a child, He had given me the capacity to be ruined by rejoicing over it.

Children are a gift from God and blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

Some think the royals across the pond are making much ado about nothing. Women have babies all the time, they say.

Yes. They do.

Giving birth is so dang ordinary.

So are stables and feed troughs and dirt floors.

But it’s there you find the heavens ripped open and angels trumpeting and shepherds running wild because of all the shouting about a Child Being Born.

Because of their privilege, because of their assignment in the world, the royals can tell the whole world the news of their new baby boy and the whole world can rejoice with them.

For me all this worldwide rejoicing doesn’t diminish for a moment the quiet fanfare that goes on in another delivery room in some remote place unknown to the papparazzi camera pop.  Hearts pop gladness there, too, and it’s all the same with God.

A gift.

I want to be ruined by rejoicing because all children are a gift from God.

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When You Can Do Nothing Else But Stand

Some days you are caught in a whirlwind. You spin and twirl and sometimes find your feet leaving the ground and you are looking for something, anything, to grab onto that could anchor you back to some sort of relative stability.countrysides,fences,fields,funnel clouds,landscapes,nature,storms,tornados,weather,winds

Then, somehow the word gets out, or more acurately, the word gets into you.

The Word. The Him that is the Word.

The Word that is the He Who Was and Is with God.

That He gets into you and says, invites, really, for you to come along for the ride.

What do you do then?

What do you do when you have no idea what will happen when you choose to leave your old life behind?

What do you do when the things you banked on are no longer there…like retirement, or health insurance?

You do the only thing you can do.

You walk over and stand with the priests.

The priests whose inheritance was neither land, or gold, but the Lord Himself.Americans,autumn,fall,Grand Teton National Park,landscapes,mountains,nature,parks,plants,rivers,rocks,seasons,sites,trees,USA,waterways,Wyoming

You find words that say this:

When you come to the edge of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan. Then Joshua said to the sons of Israel, “Come here, and hear the words of the Lord your God.”

You stand with the priests who had to step into the river before anyone else. You stand with the priests, while carrying the Presence, not knowing if the waters will really part so you can move forward.

You have to stand still. You have to wait for God to do what only God can do.

It is here that you truly hear.

Yet, what do you do when your life suddenly flashes before you and you see the stained, ragged places?

What do you do when you wonder if your stumblings will come back to haunt you?

You do the only thing you can do.

You walk over and stand with kings.

A shepherd king, more precisely. A shepherd king whose trust in God was honed by running for his life through the ragged hills and mountains, the very places where his Help was to come.amphitheaters,bridges,Bryce Canyon,canyons,Fotolia,geology,landmarks,mountains,Photographs,rocks,sands,sceneries,scenes,snows,terrain,tourism,Utah,views,vistas,winter

You stand with a king whose stained stumblings became songs of repentance turned praise.

You stand with a shepherd king who asked that God not remember the sins of his youth, but because of His lovingkindness to just. remember. him.

You find words that say this:

Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to Your love, remember me, for you Lord, are good.

What do you do after all this and you still find empty places?

What do you do when you find empty pockets, empty couch cushions?United States penny

You do the only thing you can do.

You walk over and stand with the widows. The poor ones.

You give what ever you have and trust that the God of heaven whose eye never leaves the sparrow is watching over your every move.

You give when you think no one else is looking and you let Jesus do the bragging.

You find words like this:

As Jesus looked up he saw the rich putting their gifts in the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly, I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

And so I find myself, like many of you, having to decide. To respond to the invitation.

The preacher man said to me the other day, “If Jesus is who He says He is, then there is no in between. We either believe it or we don’t.”

Another friend refers to it as being “All in”.

The priests, the shepherd king, the widow. They were all in. They did not live in the in-between.

Their lives had no fences upon which to sit.

So my preacher man husband and I close a chapter of our lives that has lasted the better part of our years here on earth. Today is the last of day of working a regular job for the preacher man.It is the last day of being bi-vocational, of trying to straddle a fence. Not a fence of compromise, but a fence that left little time to do all things well. We step into a new place of full-time pastoring and we are thrilled and scared.  We have less time in front of us than what lies behind and we have said yes to an invitation for as long as the Lord has for us.  In this new chapter know our feet will get wet, they will have callouses from running through the jagged hills of life and we will be tested to give it all no matter what. In this chapter we find words like this:

…but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I do not consider myself yet to have to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

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We stand with many of you, who also find yourselves in the company of priests and kings and lowly widows.

A great company indeed.