Friday, July 30 2010
I was having coffee with a friend the other night and she reminded me of a list I had made several years ago. She told me how after receiving it she had tucked it away in her underwear drawer!. One day while walking through the valley of Alzheimers disease with her late father the list had surfaced and it gave her courage to love him well until the end. Now she keeps it on the front of her computer.
I thought if it had so much meaning for one person it might be worthwhile posting it for others. The list came to me one Saturday morning as I was sitting in bed thinking about the movie The Holiday. I was thinking of how the "dominant" woman Amanda and the "desolate" woman Iris were each living in unloving situations, so I wrote down what this place of "unlove" looked like. Then on a whim the women trade places for the holiday and suddenly find themselves in a whole new atmosphere.....love. They are transformed by love and so are Miles, Graham, and Arthur.
God is love (1John4:16), He creates the atmosphere in which all the things listed below about love are true.
Restores that which is lost and much more than you can imagine.
Sets free, releases from bondage
Lifts up and invites in
Fills the emptiness, the void
Sees things clearly
Understands and is kind
Is open and generous
"Anything is possible"
Wants to know you
Pursues the beloved
Masquerades as love
Wants its own way
Wounds with words and deeds
Does not repent
Casts down, depresses
Immobilizes with fear
Thursday, July 08 2010
There is a scene in the new Robin Hood movie that haunts me. Well there are lots of scenes that do that, but this one in particular stays with me. King Richard the Lionhearted's ship is being pulled up the Thames River and everyone is frantically preparing to meet him. The glory is returning to the castle. They fully expect to see their king come riding in on his white horse and then all will be well.....all will be well.
The scene that I love is when the ship docks and a single man carrying a covered crown walks up the plank. You know who he is but they don't. The tension mounts. They do know that a covered crown means death. The glory is not returning. Or is it?
By the end of the film everyone sees who the King of France surrenders to and everyone knows who slays the dragon with a sharp two edged sword out of his mouth. It is none other than the stone mason's son.
Israel was waiting for the glory to return to the temple. Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 10:18) had seen the glory of the Lord depart and there is no time in the second temple period when it had returned. Yes, Israel had returned to the land and built a second temple but the glory ( God's presence) had not returned. At the end of the book of Malachi they are still waiting.....................
And then he comes. A carpenter's son, a common man walking around Galilee doing all kinds of things; healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead. But they did not recognize him, did not see the glory. They were looking for something else, perhaps a decked out king riding a white horse and yelling "look what they do for Messiah".
This scene haunts me because I wonder would I have recognized him? Do I recognize him? Or am I looking for the wrong thing and missing the glory?
* Godfrey wears the dragon emblem.
Thursday, July 08 2010
Recently I saw the movie Letters to Juliet. I liked it so much I saw it a second time. The more I have reflected on it the more my heart has been touched.
In the film Vanessa Redgrave plays the part of a beautiful Englishwoman named Claire Smith. In her youth she had met and fallen in love with a handsome Italian, Lorenzo Bartolini. Fearful of what her parents would say and knowing what she "ought" to do she returned to England and lived the life duty required of her.
Now elderly she has come back to Italy to look for Lorenzo and to explain to him why she did not meet him. The whole film is this journey of looking for Lorenzo.....and there are a lot of Lorenzo Bartolinis! Each door she knocks on is humorous until the last one. This Lorenzo is in the grave and that is when Claire follows her grandson's advice and stops looking.
But a funny thing happens. She sees a sign for a vineyard and suggests to her new friend Sophie and her grandson that they stop for one last glass of wine before they part ways. And wouldn't you know it she sees her Lorenzo, oh not the one she knew years before but his grandson. As she makes the connection the real Lorenzo Bartolini rides majestically in on his horse!
True love wins. Claire and Lorenzo have a storybook wedding, followed by a beautiful marriage supper. The audience breathes a collective sigh for there is something so touching about "finding your first love".
So what is the heart lesson? Claire chose the world and people's expectations over her heart and her first love. So do we. When she finally goes looking for him she knocks on a lot of doors. I have too. Maybe this will be the place I'll find life, maybe the next door will open, and ......you fill in the blank. When Claire finally comes to the end, to death so to speak and stops all of her trying she is led into the vineyard. And guess who owns the vineyard?
The beautiful scene of Lorenzo coming up on horseback and seeing his lost love is a picture of just how the Lord comes for us. When we get to the end of all our trying, when we resign ourselves to the death of all our own arranging we shouldn't be surprised that we are led into the vineyard. For death is always followed by resurrection and that is what you are seeing at the end of the movie. Is it any wonder the film concludes with a marriage supper?
Thursday, July 08 2010
Last week I flew to Texas and is my habit, I selected an aisle seat when I made my reservation. When I arrived at my reserved seat 19D, a woman with a baby was standing in the middle of my row. It turned out that she and her husband, along with a two year old child and the infant she was holding were all seated in separate rows. So she stood there ready to ask me if I would mind swapping seats. "Show me your seat" I said and she pointed to 19B. Looking across the aisle I saw a man with a one year old in his lap seated in 19A and a woman seated in 19C. The row looked pretty full to me. As I was assessing the situation a man behind us started to volunteer to move somewhere. This made me feel extremely guilty so I reluctantly said "okay I'll move to 19B."
The lady still did not have the three seats in a row that she desired and she looked at me in 19B and said "you want your seat back" and with that she took off for the rear of the plane. Her husband soon followed saying they would ask the stewardess for assistance. My logic told me I'd better get back to my assigned seat 19D until it was all sorted out.
Now the stewardess came forth and it seemed to me that she was explaining the situation to the entire plane. So once more a man made a motion to move but this time the stewardess looked directly at me. "Okaaaaay, I'll go." I will be totally honest I did not want to sit in a middle seat next to a man with a child on his lap for a two and a half hour flight. I just didn't!
Well not too long after take off I started a conversation with the woman next to me in 19C. We talked like old buddies all the way to Texas. I "happened" to have some notes from the movie Avatar that I had printed off the night before not really knowing why I was taking them with me to Texas. She needed them. She "happened" to give me some really good advice, sort of her philosophy about life. It is never too late to start something new....and you need to take risk and step out. I needed to be reminded of that. The child in 19A never made a peep, never fussed, just sat and played with her father for two and half hours.
There is a great lesson in all of this. It goes far beyond giving up my seat and helping others and doing what a Christian "ought" to do. I obviously failed at that because my reluctance was very evident to all. The lesson is I never asked the Lord what seat He wanted me to select when I made my reservation. I knew what I liked and what I wanted so I went for it and it never entered my mind to inquire of the Lord and say where do you want me? Maybe He would have said "take your pick", or maybe "19B", who knows???? The really scary part for me is I know how many major decisions I make in my life in the same manner I selected my airplane seat. I do what I want.