On Honeybirds and Hope

On Honeybirds and Hope

by Jane Tawel

March 28, 2016

Yesterday was my religion’s High Holy Day and what for years we called Easter but now some of us call Resurrection Sunday. On our front porch up in the ceiling on a hook that used to hold a porch swing but now doesn’t, a humming bird has made a nest. When my tall, handsome “I’m a man, Mom” son first saw the grey sack hanging there with something swarming around it, his Dad said he got scared and freaked out. Maybe he was thinking it was a bee’s nest or something. I was at work, so they had to show me the nest when I got home that day. Two days ago the bird was sitting still as a statue on the grey sack. If you have ever seen a humming bird can you imagine how hard it must be for momma bird to sit still? I thought – I know that look, you are getting ready to birth those little waiting lifes, aren’t you little momma? I don’t know how many bambinos humming birds birth or how long the gestation period is or what they look like when born, but I knew the determined expectant, fearful, hopeful look of that mamma’s every fiber.

 

This morning at 6:20 I went out to check on the nest. Momma is not there. I looked up all around the nest and didn’t see any tear -aways or holes so I’m hoping mamma bird just went out for breakfast. I hope nothing is amiss. I hope every thing is all right.

 

My children used to think humming birds were called “honey birds”. My four children were so adorable. I have said it before and I will say it again, I think Heaven might include a lot of do-overs – I get to do all the good parts over and over again. And then again.

 

I have discovered that many of my Western World Peers do not do anticipation very well. All of those great Anticipatory Church Holidays, like Advent, Lent, Good Friday – a lot of people don’t even know what they really are or mean any more and if they do, they really want to skip to the punch. Sort of like people I guess now do designer on -demand cesarean section births – I’m ready, so let’s get this over with and get to the baby part. Christianity has gotten to be where every one just wants to sing one praise chorus of “Just As I Am” and skip to the designer good baby part. New birth fast. Hallelujahs on demand, Tivo-ed every day. My husband and I see our son fighting the need to wait on things as he rushes to grow up. It is natural and it is also natural for parents who love him, so say, “Son, some things you need to wait on.” Because we all make mistakes when we get tired of waiting.

 

I wonder if Mama Honeybird got tired of waiting? I hope not. I hope she just went out for breakfast.

 

Can you imagine if God got tired of waiting?

 

One way the bible can be read is of a long, long story about centuries of people who get tired of waiting and the God who never does.

 

I think The Church is getting tired of waiting. Like Adam and Eve did. Like the Hebrew children in the Exodus did. Like Judas did.

 

And I think we daily want to skip right to the joy of Easter via the caesarian section of cheap born again life. We don’t know how important it is for that life to be born of cross carrying gestation. We want to skip Good Friday and all that it means about our sinfulness, our weightiness, our infirmities, which only Christ could carry to term at the cross. We want to shout “He is risen” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday – and so we miss what the anticipation of “Sunday’s Comin’” could mean in our lives, in the world, in Eternity. Because if we aren’t carrying our cross to term, then we can’t really love others and we certainly can not know, worship and love a holy God who wants to carry us to term into a new, re-created, perfect eternal life forever. Jesus doesn’t offer to birth us free from pain and mess, but He births us in and by the bloody placenta of the Cross. God banished Adam and Eve from a perfect world with many offerings of His grace, and the extreme pain of giving birth was one of those graces. Because without understanding that because of fallenness and sin, we must with some amount of pain birth all human creation — children, art, clean dishes, fields of fruit, microchips, vaccines, novels–birth with sweat, and toil and pain– if we didn’t have that pain, then we wouldn’t need a Savior and we would forever give up the anticipatory hope of a new creation in us and in the whole world. The very, very best part of Resurrection Sunday, is that Jesus willingly had to die to get to it.

 

If I am not dying to something in myself, daily, making every day a Friday, then I will never know the glory of being resurrected into new life on Sunday. “I am crucified with Christ”…. Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it…….

 

“NEVER THELESS I LIVE!”

 

Jesus did not skip the cross to get to the glory. And neither can I. But He carried the Lion’s share for me, for us. Christ had no idea what the end of the suffering would bring, there was no “spiritual heaven-sent sonogram” to predict the ending. But He knew the Father and He knew that He had to carry the kingdom to the end of it’s gestation period, no matter how agonizingly horrible and painful and lonely it was. He saw the pregnancy through to the bitter end, and birthed a whole new world, a whole new creation on Resurrection Sunday.  And just like I long to do with my little birthed biological children, He longs to daily offer us do-overs – He is walking along, holding our hands, carrying the heaviest parts of our crosses, warning us to be careful crossing the street, laughing and holding and snuggling, and disciplining and admonishing and guiding and investing in our futures. If we rush to grow up, we will make mistakes. If we trust in our Father,and let His Son guide us, live in us,  we will have eternal life.

 

And that is why we anticipate The Christ’s coming once more in the flesh, in person to reign in the world forever. Because that Resurrection Sunday, when Christ’s children are eternally resurrected to live with Him. That Sunday will mean the end of all anticipation – all pain, all sin, all sorrow, and all death. That Resurrection Sunday is what we are preparing for. That is the end of Good Fridays. That means Hallelujahs every day. He is risen. Indeed. Easter Morning my husband made this English nerd’s day by coming up with synonyms of the “indeed” part of that liturgical phrase.   He played around with, “He is risen also.” Nope. “He is risen in fact.” Okay. And then he hit on it. “He is risen, Kapow!”. And so we joyfully throughout the day, would proclaim, “Christ is risen! He is risen KAPOW!” It was after all, a very Kapow thing for God to do.

 

I was hoping to see Honeybird give birth. But all I saw was her waiting vigil, her anticipatory expectation. That is my world, sitting vigil on a planet of people groaning in expectation of something better, something cleaner, something more loving, and more just, and more true. A world groaning to be born again. We, Christ’s church, Christ’s body, are called to wait vigil for Christ’s return and to midwife the new birth for the whole world that He died for. However you are called to do that today, know that as Paul discovered when he turned his whole world upside down for Jesus and helped midwife Christianity in the process, know as you go about your life today, as Paul says in Romans 8: 18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

 

Just like in the agony of childbirth I could never have imagined how wonderful it would be, to be the mom of such four wonder-full children, so too, do we see only vaguely how wonder-full the world will be when it is fully gestated and brought to new birth, new creation when Christ comes again to reign forever. The paradox remains that as we strive to give the world new birth, Jesus longs to be born in us. That is the glory in us He died to reveal. That is what our present sufferings mean if we live into His Story, waiting patiently for all Christ’s birth, death and resurrection mean in our lives and in the world. “But you beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” (Jude 1:21)

 

Come, Lord Jesus. We wait and hope.

 

God is still waiting – with the anticipation and joy of a loving, doting father to celebrate for eternity –our birth. YHWH is the suffering God, who through His Suffering Servant Jesus, and His death and resurrection, offered each of us Life – real life, abundant life, not just 15 minutes but an eternity of all we now merely dream could be real life. This world of pain will seem like some weird Reality Show compared to our real life in Christ’s kingdom, and our souls will realize that life outside the womb of these present sufferings, is all life was always meant to be, a wonder-full reality of relationship with our Creator and Lord, an eternity of walking hand in hand in the Garden with the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus the Messiah.

 

Like my son, once you know the reality, then faith keeps you from freaking out. Like the Honeybird, once you take up the task of painfully gestating God’s love in you and in the world, you can live daily with anticipatory hope in the Pregnant Pause of Christ’s Kingdom. He is Risen. Kapow!

 

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Because it never gets old:

“Hope is the Thing with Feathers” By Emily Dickinson

 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

 

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

 

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

 

 

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On Politics in America, The Wonderland

How to Make It Through This Political Season in America, The Wonderland

by Jane Tawel

March 12, 2016

As Christians we should be gladdened that God is trying to get us out of Egypt.  Read Exodus though and you will find that just like the Hebrews, we are trying to cling to the kingdom we know even though it abuses and confuses us.  Even though it is anti-YHWH.

I’m talking about the American Government — or Pharaoh. It feels as though America is sprinting backwards as fast as its reactionary citizens can run in this shape-shifting political season of Donald, and Hillary, Bernie, Ted,  John, Ben, Paul and George (not Ringo, so far, but you never know).  It should finally be clicking in that America is not — nor ever has been a “Christian Nation” –there isn’t such a thing.  And whether a ruler imposes the name of our God on his / her agenda or not, authorities in the kingdoms of the world are all the same. They all want to rule Egypt as pharaohs. They are all misled and misleading; they are all fragile and foolish; they are all power-hungry and greedy;  they are all of this world and in it; But ironically, they are all used — even the non-Godly ones– by and for the purposes of our One True and Only Jehovah.  Read Exodus.  God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” and then “unhardened”. Then hardened. Then unhardened.   In the New Testament we are told that all authorities are under God’s management.(Romans 13:1) Oh yes,  all authorities — those who live in teepees and those who live in toupees. That thought is both a source of confusion and confidence for me. I don’t need to figure every thing out — not what has happened in the past nor what I imagine might happen in the future.  I just need to do the right thing.  So my advice during this time of and during all times — make your bible a well worn map, listen to a lot to people who know God, contemplate how Jesus did it, worship only God and serve only the Savior, pray thankful prayers a lot (be thankful for America!), and then do the right thing.  Just. Do. The. Right. Thing. Period.

So what do we do during this Age and in the particular temporary and flawed nation that we happen to inhabit until Christ’s Kingdom comes into its complete fullness? Well, first we thank the Lord for continually offering us new wineskins. America has been a wonderful wineskin. Praise God. But the ole’ U.S. A., ain’t the wine, so to speak. No nation is. No– the wine? –That is Christ’s blood and only Christ’s. Secondly, we thank Christ for offering us a new lens to see with. “Oh say can you see by the dawn’s early light” indeed!  Can you see instead by Christ’s morning star light?  And thirdly, we understand as Ecclesiastes says that there is really nothing new under the sun, not even American-born Pharoahs, not even Egyptian Congressmen. “For all we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”. (Isaiah 53:6) I loved Obama’s Hope campaign, but Isaiah 53 — read it all sometime— goes on to say “He was oppressed and afflicted yet he opened not his mouth (vs.7).”  Imagine that as a Hope campaign in this political season of wide open mouths who combine false hopes with blame — for everyone for everything. Finally, get out there in a counter revolutionary campaign for the Son of Man who bears our grief and sorrows, who takes on the whole world’s sins while others take on the whole world’s PAC money. Campaign for a kingdom where everyone wants to be like that Man. No walls. No Defense Departments. No taxes. Just complete death to self and glorious life in Christ.

As far as politics, I recommend a reread of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  Begin with the introduction, in which he tells the reader that this is not an allegory about the Soviet Union as so many Jr. High English Teachers mistakenly teach.  It is an allegory about all kingdoms of this world, which all eventually so intimately love power and money  that they become dictatorships.  All governments eventually betray their people because they worship power and self-love –including governments, as Orwell points out, such as Socialist Europe and Capitalist America.

A good start is also to recognize that America is not a democracy and that even if it were, humans’ ideas of democracy are horribly flawed at best, sinful at worst anyway.  We were a sort of republic in simpler times, we are now a dictatorship run by an oligarchy.  The oligarchy is all those you might imagine — big businesses, special interests, lobby groups, congress, judges, presidents — you name it– that worship the idols of power and money — all that put a holy God’s name on their own self interests or the interests of, yes, a wonderful nation like America.  They are not always evil.  They are sometimes just fooling themselves rather than you. They are all mistaken and misled, though. You know, when God saved the Hebrews from the slavery of Egypt, they too, remembered Egypt with much fondness and longed to be back in the land where their guts were satiated and their television shows made them laugh, where their responsibilities and benefits were determined by the government and where they could own assault  weapons (oops, told you all nations blur into one after a while).  The Chosen People of God wanted the reality shows of Egypt rather than the reality of a living God living amongst them.

I am not advising you to hate America and grow a cynical distain that thickens the heart along with the skin. America has been and is an amazing country. I am advising you not to mistake America for a permanent place to live. As is — this world is not our home. Not as is. I am not advising you not to vote although it is an option. Voting is a good right to exercise in a world in which many even today do not have the right to vote.  But a vote for any one candidate will not change things much.  Only you can do that — only you with one little God-seed at a time planted by your own hand. I am not advising you not to think– not optional at all — I hope. But thinking just with a world-trained mind is highly over-rated.  “May this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus”. Read the rest of Philippians 2.  Jesus was a pretty radical candidate for Messiah.

One thing I am saying, is that when you say the Republican party has changed or how could we vote for a socialist or whatever you are saying during what seems to be an American free-fall into Wonderland–playing card politicians and all– please realize that as Solomon warned you: to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. But in the end, no matter the season,  the ever changing nations never really change that much– since The Fall, they are all chimerical foundations built on sand all of which shall end and end and end again. But also, thankfully, there is no change ever in the everlasting personal relationship of The Church founded on The Rock of Our God and His Kingdom — which shall have no end. “For I the Lord do not change, therefore you, sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” (Mal. 3:6) In order not to be consumed by the things of this world, this season, this nation — in order not to be consumed for eternity –one must join the right party — the party of the Chosen People, the people of God and of His Son, Jesus.  Vote for Jesus. Jesus changed the whole thing.  Jesus was a paradigm shift.  Jesus wants to change you.  He wants you then to, as Gandhi said, “Be the change”.  Jesus wants the whole world to know that everything changed on Calvary and that His upside down kingdom changes today into eternity. Vote for Jesus.

This is the time to look inside yourself and spend more time in God’s Holy Word and more time praying and talking and walking with Jesus.  Because those things — His Word and His Word Made Flesh — will actually never change.  Anyone know Pharaoh’s name?  Nope. And neither will anyone in Eternity remember who won this election.  We all have new names there anyway. There — “every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and every tongue proclaim that Jesus the Christ is King, Lord, President, Ruler.” (Phil. 2:10) He is the dictator who changes hearts, changes nations, changes the whole thing –on the cross. Not as paltry President. But as a King. The King of kings, The Lord of lords. Vote for Jesus for King.

Spend more time with Jesus and study God’s Word than you spend watching politicians and following elections and then, you will not just know how to vote right, but you will know how to live right.  Forever.

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