Crazy days with the winds changing from one direction to the other, ice rain in the woods and then the thaw and transitions happening everywhere — and they say God moves right into the neighbourhood — especially in times like ours.
The the Word, the Lord, moves right into the neighbourhood, moves right on into the house. (John 1:1)
What are the chances that He’d move into me, get right up under my skin, so I can breathe through whatever comes in 2017?
An old girl can hope? Pray? Both. Both would be good.
The Old Best Book, the one I call The Love Letter, says a bunch of them not only know God’s moved into the neighbourhood — but have seen His glory.
But I’m the girl you can count on to be out-of-fashion late, the one who forgets dentist appointments, who shows up at the wrong place, wrong time, hopelessly schedule-challenged, and oh yeah, do I miss Him more than I want.
They’ve seen Him a lot, have they?
My eyes can ache, stress cataracts, filmy faith.
Somebody else, some glossy saint, may have seen His glory, the Shekinah come down in some blinding blaze — but me?
I’m likely scraping burnt egg crud from the stove top again, like picking at a bad scab every morning, and I missed Him. Again.
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish. [John 1 MSG]
They say that this is one of the most important verses in all of The Best Book. This is the radical happening — that can happen even now. That earthiness meets holiness under a sheer sheath of skin?
They say that the word dwelt means “to tabernacle.”
The Word, Christ, wrangled Glory into an envelope of thin skin and pitched His tent among us. The pillar of cloud, the pillar of fire, pulled on a skin?
Take that to the bank and live your life on wealth of it:Your God’s not absent, distant, impotent. Your God’s vigilant, infinite, omnipotent, and intimate.
He pitches His tent and camps right in the middle of us.
Jesus can come camp right in the middle of us, right now. Glory.
Localized glory for our localized pain.
They say that. That He’s the Word, and when you read His Word, you behold His glory.
Behold His glory. Theaomai His glory. Theaomai from the word thaomai — “to wonder.” Not a glancing — but a gazing.
I know — Who has really beheld Him, seen Him grave-bust a few cadavers lately, cast out a few raving mad demons here in the last week?
There are witnesses: I’ve seen Him raise the depressed dead right out from under 180 count cotton sheets, right out from fountains of deadening alcohol and greying, rotting marriages, and I’ve seen faith that’s not fake, that pulses through old girl veins.
I’m fool enough to say I’ve felt it. Especially now.
I’ve got this bracelet engraved with “Jesus” that’s pressing constantly into my skin. There are metaphors. There are things happening that you see and so much more happening that you don’t and we could all stop saying it right now: “It is what it is.”
Because all is not as it seems. It is more. There is always infinitely more happening than what we see.
This is the daily incarnating:
We beheld His glory and were held.
We are held — wherever we are.
No one in any dung pile is too far gone from God.
His arms will go anywhere, to redeem anyone, from anything.
That shapes any temptation to hastily judge or reject anyone.
That keeps you over the egg crud on the stove praying for your own blurry scales to fall off.
So that’s the thing:
The Shekinah glory abode in the Tabernacle.
Then the glory of God tabernacled in the skin of Jesus.
And the grace and truth of Jesus now tabernacles in you.
Localized glory moving throughout the world.
I had scratched it down in One Thousand Gifts, what Piper had said:
“If you want to really see Jesus’ divine beauty, His glory … then make sure you tune your senses to see His grace,” urges theologian John Piper. “That’s what His glory is full of.”
“Grace then — that is what the full life is full of, what God’s glory is full of.
To see His glory, name His graces.
Retune the impaired senses to sense the Spirit, to see the grace.
Couldn’t I do that anywhere? Why is it so hard? Practice, practice.” ( One Thousand Gifts)
Practice at that stove, old girl with that scraping razor in your hand. Behold His glory — name His graces.
Practice the retuning of your impaired senses to sense the Spirit, to see His glory, old girl who could throttle kids whose muscles keep giving out and they can’t get coats to hooks and boots to closets and clothes to drawers and you feel like you can’t stay above the drowning waves.
The salty glory of His whispered words hold you closer: “I hold you. Fear not. You will not drown.”
Behold His glory — and your raging heart will be held through anything.
You can feel it coursing through you, what Spurgeon wrote:
“These eyes have never seen the Savior, but this heart has seen Him.
These lips have never kissed His cheek,
but the soul has kissed him and He has kissed me with the kisses of His mouth, for His love is better than wine.
Think me not enthusiastic or fanatical when I say that the children of God have as near access to Christ to day in the spirit, as ever John had after the flesh.
So that there is to this day a rich enjoyment to be obtained by those who seek it, in having actual fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.”
And the old girl at the cruddy stove weeps a bit and is not ashamed. She is only a longing.
I once saw a picture of a little girl.
She’d taken chalk and drawn a picture on the concrete of her mother, so she could see her mother right there.
And then she’d taken off her shoes, like she knew it’s all holy ground, and she’d crawled up to where the heart would beat — – and she’d fallen asleep next to a love like that.
Her mother drawn all around her.
There is a way of seeing, so that you can behold Him right here, see Him all around you everywhere, no matter is happening now, or what will happen up ahead.
I clean the stove, the kitchen, with no shoes on. Who needs shoes? There is glory in the light, in the crusty frying pan, even in impossibly caked-on egg splatter.
There is a way to live that sees how He is drawn all around you — even now, especially now.
And we are all held.