Monday, August 17, 2015

The Butterfly Book

When I was very young, I thought butterflies were merely beautiful.  When I was slightly older than young, I thought butterflies were lovely symbols of new beginnings and freedom in Christ.  When I am the age I am now, I know butterflies are an exquisite proof of a loving Creator and Sustainer.

Four days ago, I received a butterfly book in the mail from my grandmother.  It was a book to record birthdays, and I have a lot to remember.  The book was covered with butterflies in lavenders and blues (my favorite colors).  What struck me is that a butterfly is born to die within a few days. According to the all-knowing internet, most butterflies live on average one month.  The gorgeous wings of a butterfly take hours to unfurl in their vanishing existence.  Once dried, they must be in a hurry to flutter to their eternal rest.  It is sobering that something so intricately designed would have such a short life span.  

Three days ago, I sent a thank you letter to my grandmother telling her how I love butterflies and how on a recent trip to Idaho I discovered some hand-painted feather butterflies in a toy store and purchased some that now flutter on my bathroom wall.  These butterflies are the kind made in China, yet will last much longer than the real sort.  They remind me of the loving care of my Creator that he would take such attention with me, a transient creature.

Two days ago, the giver of the butterfly book breathed her last and was welcomed into the arms of her Creator.  It seemed so sudden, so short even though her earthly years were a month shy of 89.  It was as if this beautiful butterfly danced her heart out before the King and was welcomed to hang up her slippers and rest.

I know I was given a birthday book, but the first entry in it will be a death.  Because all true living, begins with death.  Death to sin. Death to self.  Death to the old desires.  My Grandmother's birthday use to be in September, but now I think I will mark it for August 15.  It was the day she was born to a world where tears will never again wet her face, where her feet will never tire from dancing and where her heart's desires are fulfilled in the Butterfly Maker.

Happy Birthday, dear Grandmother.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The 800 Foot Summer

It is amazing when you take what little you have to Jesus and see him multiply the gift.  This summer I witnessed a miracle.  Jesus took my poor dried up effort and allowed a church congregation to come alongside and we cut shoes for 400 Ugandan children, 800 feet.  This week I traced the last of the donated denim, but my attitude was jigger-infested and I still had to count the "leftover basketfuls".   In the feeding of the five thousand, the gathering in at the end is just as important as the dispersing at the beginning, because God is glorified in the count.  Therefore, as I laid the Sharpie marker down and added the tally, it seemed quite significant that from random jeans of all different sizes there were exactly 400 pairs of shoes.

What makes it even more notable was there were 40 volunteers last Saturday cutting shoes from a tiny congregation that rarely tops 100.   Many of the volunteers were elderly, with crooked hands, carpal tunnel and poor eyesight, yet they offered their waning hours in intense service.  It seems just like the miracles of old.  God still uses the weak to shame the strong.  The miracle is that Jesus uses the offering no matter how small and, in this case, returned 10 times the giving.

The miracle is that Jesus takes me with the jiggers burrowed in my heart which are damaging my compassion for a distant child with a distant physical infection and he stabs his Goodness into my spiritual infection to make me see the child as myself.  The miracle is that the work is never dependent on me, my righteousness or my effort, the work was accomplished on the cross when Jesus let himself be stabbed and speared in place of you and me.  The miracle is that he demonstrates his loving care for me by digging out the eggs of revolt in my heart.

If you know you are jigger-born, take heart Jesus does not turn his back on you.  He stoops to wash your feet and then he shods your washed feet in the gospel of peace.

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Monday, August 03, 2015