Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Creation Cries Out & So Do I

So, as promised before, I want to talk a bit about the book Velvet Elvis, which I completely devoured (and will now be rereading, highlighter in hand. Yes I’m a dork). The fact that I’m even reading this book is kind of a miracle in itself, as it was so highly talked up by friends who’ve read it, that I was ready to never give it a chance. And no, I’m not one bit a stubborn German! Add onto that fact that the first Rob Bell book I read “Jesus Wants To Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile”, frankly, was a huge disappointment and you get what I mean.

Instead of being a stirring socio-political plea to the church for a new way of seeing and relating to the world around us, I thought “Jesus Wants to Save Christians” was a high-level version of the Gospel from beginning to end, complete with teary eyed altar calls. So, I was skeptical to read his other uber-popular tome for the closet-Emergent movement. I thought, if so many people are saying it’s this good, then it really must suck. Yes, always the optimist!

But being stuck in a van for 8+ hours/four days straight will iron out the most stubborn of my kinks, and by day three I was coming to the last chapter of Velvet Elvis, and surprisingly, I found I didn’t want it to end. There was so much I got out of that book! Including joy, as I mentioned before, as Bell talked about finding God’s glory in the things that bring us joy. He asked the question “What makes your soul soar?” and just hearing that question felt so freeing and liberating. To hear him acknowledge the reality that God delights in our delight made my own soul feel like someone had reaffirmed something I’d known for a long time, but could never express. It was the elation at finding someone who shares a secret with you, and in that moment I only wanted to dig in more. I am trying to describe how much that one sentence moved me, and failing miserably. Let’s just say I’ve been asking myself that, “Trinette, what makes your soul soar?” for days now.

For the first time in a long time I remembered that God is calling me to have utter and pure joy in the things that He has created and placed around me, creation included. Sunday, it hit me once again, as I worshipped at Hope and they belted out (literally) the words to “Make A Joyful Noise/I Will Not Be Silent”. How many times had I sung that song at that church? How many times had those words passed over my lips, and all I got out of it was that it was a pretty song, about God’s pretty creation? But the words Bell had spoken came back to me at that moment, as my soul soared and I sang along to the floor shaking, bass driven, amazingly loud and passionate worship. Words that were nothing new reawakened in me something I must have known deep down, but never processed or “got” before. This isn’t singing about just the beauty of “bare feet on beaches white”, but is truly singing out to the Lord acknowledging the need for the redemption of all creation. Because, as Tim put it, if we didn’t sing it out, the rocks would, and no rocks were gonna cry out on our shift. Amen and preach it brother Tim! (BTW – I couldn’t figure out what brought me more joy yesterday, visiting their worship service – listening to Danny play, or the look on Tim’s face as Danny played. I think it was a bit of both. God has indeed created us for joy and his face reflected my heart that morning.)

And this eye-opening conviction about God’s creation crying out for redemption came on the heels of one of the most amazing trips of my last few years.

Ok, before I even get to it, can I just say that I am thoroughly convinced that I have a pulsing, throbbing, aching case of Wanderlust. If I could spend my days on the road driving, windows down, breeze blowing, visiting places I’ve never been before, marveling in the beauty and awesome magnificence of the American landscape and creation around me, well, I’d pack my bags now, for a nomadic lifestyle and never come home. More than anything else the last few years have seen and heard me begging to take a road trip to Jackson Hole, WY. And if I ever get a boyfriend (I just snorted iced tea through my nose at that hilarious thought), flowers and candy and sweet affectionate words won’t mean as much as the sentence “Honey, pack your bag, we’re driving to Wyoming this weekend” on a Friday afternoon.

Anyway, the Colorado Trip gave me the undeserved opportunity to worship God amidst a part of Colorado I’d never seen before, in all it’s rugged, mountainous glory and beauty. Purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plains indeed. And while marveling in the joy that God’s pine tree dotted, A River Runs Through It nature brought me, I stumbled across this quote, as one of our guides for the week directed us in a moment of appreciation for our surroundings:

“A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life.
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and
free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough... It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again," to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again," to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” – GK Chesterton

Today, as I sit stuck in this office, because legions of Vikings fans outside our building have made it impossible to get through the street that would take me to the library and lunch, I am impacted by how little most of us get to experience the joy in creation that was so lovingly and thoughtfully placed around us. For our joy, and His glory. I'm glad I had that opportunity many times in the recent months, and specifically with a group of squirrely young people lately.

My wanderlust today has not as much to do with the fact that I’m bored and frustrated in certain things, as much as my soul is crying out to soar in a setting full of silently crying out rocks and trees and rivers. Redeem it oh Lord, oh soon will You redeem it?

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