December 22, 2005

"Magic Eye" Thessalonians

When school's out, I write late at night. My wife is THE BEST to let me sleep in, and my kids play in the living room and make their own cereal! But it's usually the only way I can get accomplished what little I do. So it's after midnight in Texas, and I've been working on Thessalonica... literally, hours of effort for inches of progress. I don't know how to explain my work on Thessalonica, but I want to try. Besides, otherwise, I might not be posting here for a while! :)

Basically, I don't think 1&2 Thessalonians are ALL about the end-times. (Though I get the distinct impression that a lot of preachers and bible-notes-writers disagree.) No. Those letters are about the Lord's love affair with a group of new believers.

I really believe that understanding how or when Jesus might come back had very little to do with anything for 94% of all the saints in Thessalonica. I really think Paul only mentioned those things because some of the Thessalonians themselves were being distracted by a couple or a few philosophical brothers who wanted to quit their jobs and preach as if Jesus could come back at any time. Meanwhile, these guys were mooching off the church! (Because they didn't have jobs.) So, Paul writes a few things to try and address the issue (in order to end it) so the church can get back to loving God and taking care of each other.

So that's what I believe...

But ever since around 400 AD, when the Bible got all those little numbers printed on top of the sentences, I think it got harder and harder for us christians to realize that a LETTER is A (that is, "a", "ah", "one", "uno", "solo", "one whole and single piece of writing") Letter. I think, after that, it got easier and easier for us christians to think of Paul's letters mainly in terms of the most talked-about bits (the most popular 'verses') within each of them. But "verses" were NOT part of the original Letters!

So the Story gets lost in religious ideas. (The whole forest hides behind one or two ugly trees...)

I wonder why no one talks about the need for integrity (meaning, wholeness) in reading Paul's letters. I heard lots of people talk about "the context of a verse"... but who ever talks about the importance of reading a letter from start to finish? Isn't that what the original readers (actually, most of them were only hearers) of those letters did? I can tell you, if the Apostle Paul wrote my church a letter today, we'd take it to the next meeting and read that whole thing from start to finish before we ever started talking about any of the bits he put within it. Wouldn't anyone? It's the only natural, logical, common sense, normal, worthwhile thing anyone could do!

But mostly... for us christians these days... we were trained to see verses.

And we gotta get over that, big time!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So I dare whoever reads this to try an experiment:

1) Take 1 Thessalonians, and then 2 Thessalonians

2) Hand-copy or type each one as a WHOLE letter, without verse or chapter numbers

3) Read it once a day from start to finish. (This might take you 10 minutes, out loud).

4) Repeat step three until you can GET to the finish without getting distracted by religious ideas, and without your mind wandering in between.

5) Try to focus on where the Lord himself is mentioned in the letter, and try to focus also on the actual, real people, places and events that are mentioned during the letter

6) If you're able to relax and just read what it says, from start to finish... like those 'Magic Eye' Pictures, a Story should begin to "Pop-Out" at you. Warning: people with lots of religious training may continue to see only ideas and 'you-gottas' instead of the Lord Himself, His people and real events... at least, for the first dozen or so tries! RELAX! Stop looking at the trees and you might see the forest, for once! Try sitting silently before the Lord for ten minutes, first. Still your brain. Or maybe just pray for a miracle! :)

That's it. Just read your new copy of each letter with these suggestions every day until... well... until it works! I am confident you will find whatever you're looking for. I hope you can learn to look just for the Lord and his church. And if you've been relgiously trained... be patient, and relax. You might eventually enjoy this!

And good luck!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If anyone actually does this experiment... would you please write a comment here afterwards (or during, even) and share what it was like for you? Did anything change? How many times did you have to go through it, before anything changed? Okay... so, for you, what changed? (I'm truly looking to discover, here. I'm HUNGRY to know what others can get out of this... and then share it with me!!!)

By the way, there are four ways to focus on words - eyes, ears, mouth, hand (copying or pointing). I teach my H.S. students (as a study and focusing trick) to read out-loud while pointing at the words. It feels silly, but it quadruples the brain-connections between yourself and the words. (You're using all four 'ways' to focus!) Try it. You'll be surprised how much it helps.

At least, I hope it will help! Hey, it helped me! I did this five years ago, and I was so affected by the Love story that was hiding there in plain sight that I set out to build the whole scenery around that story, so I can tell it one day.

The reason I'm reconstructing Thessalonica is simply to fill in the whole SETTING, so that I can one day tell the STORY of the CHURCH who lived in that CITY. Their story is NOT all about any religious ideas. Their story IS about a love affair between that group of believers and Jesus Christ himself.

Really.


So I dare you to try the experiment, above. And I double-dare you NOT to check this link before you've done the experiment yourself! Or, what the heck! Go ahead and cheat! Check the tiny link... but I promise, it'll only help you if you also do your own homework, later! Okay.....? Okaaaay......? Okay? Okay, then. Class dismissed! :)

PS: Merry Christmas!

November 15, 2005

I Love the Church!

Jesus died for Her. Paul and his companions suffered, wrote and travelled all to see Her. God the Father created this entire planet to give Her a place to live and to love Him. She is the body of Christ on the Earth, and she gives Him a Hope for revealing Himself! She is not merely all the scattered, unconnected christians all over town who might sometimes get together. She can be found assembled too - in any place where brothers and sisters have joined their lives together in Him! This IS a mystery, but God's eternal purpose is the Church!

The Joy of my last ten years has been living inside of this vital spiritual community that looks nothing like what most people usually call "church". I could make a long list of things that we don't have: pastor, elders, pews, choir, robes, building, doctrines, committees, programs, projects, etc. But what's important is what we DO have: a real, actual, all-week-long "together-life" in Him. We have an awareness of the fact that we can find Him not only in the Bible, or in nature, or in prayer, but also in our spirits, and in each others' spirits.

There is more of Jesus Christ in my life because of this Church. And it didn't just 'happen', but the Lord did it - through us, and through a man who came to us once, and another man who visits us still. Through those visits, and the Holy Spirit in us, we are learning how to lead one another to Christ. We are co-builders with God in this house he is making for Us. We are brothers and sisters who are deeply involved in one another's lives, and we get to know Him in those frictions as well. Most of all, we are holy ones who share God's nature, and we fellowship together with the Father and the Son.

We may not have it all together, but we have Him together. And that's about as much as I think God or any of us can hope for here on earth. And THAT is what I call the Church.

**********************

So anyway, this is my eight-month old Blog, and it's time for a break. I've enjoyed meeting folks all over the blogosphere, and encouraging them to bloom where they're planted - which I really believe in. But to be honest, I'm mostly looking for people who want to come find Life like this!!! So, if you're tired and hungry, curious, restless or interested... we'll be here! You can stay for a weekend! Give a shout, anytime!

But I won't be posting here for a while. In the meantime, I'll be surfing the blogosphere a bit and working on my projects a bit. Please check back often for updates on Thessalonica, the GUSB and my Timeline. I'd really love to get as much feedback as I can on all of it. They are definitely long-term projects!

But mostly, I'll be living here and loving the Lord as a member of this portion of His Bride - who gathers in our neighborhood in Arlington, Texas.

Since we're together, I might as well say, wouldn't you be, couldn't you be, won't you be... my neighbor? :)

November 13, 2005

What is Religion?

Stacey asked the question... and I'm sure there's many answers, but here goes. First of all, I don't know when the word began to mean 'churchey-god-stuff' or 'stiff-dead-bad-churchey-god-stuff', which is what I think it usually means today.

At it's root, the word "religion" is a neutral term.

Religion is a personal, set way of life. It's my morning wake-up-and-go-to-work-routine. It's stopping at Sonic every day for a giant sized coke with tots. It's checking my e-mail before doing paperwork. Religion is any habitual, unthinking, comfortable pattern of doing things, that one repeats endlessly, usually for good reasons. Religion means surrounding oneself with familiar activities. And religion is a part of human nature.

Religion can be a good thing. When an alchoholic refuses to walk past a bar, that's healthy. When a person goes to the gym three times a week, or changes the oil in the car every 3,000 miles, or makes sure they go to the dentist each six months... that's religious, and it's healthy. I'm only 31, and I have the strong suspicion that I'm going to become a bit more religious about exercise and diet in the next nine years or so, at least!

Like everything else on this planet, religion becomes a problem when someone puts it in the place of God.

When we always have to bless the food, or risk the evil eye! When we always have to end a prayer with certain words, or pray in a certain tone of voice, or at a certain speed or volume. When we always have to use certain words or phrases in talking to God. That's "religious" - when the rule becomes bigger than God.

Stacey also mentioned Catholics. I grew up in South Louisiana, which is 50% Catholic. I know many who seem like dead, dry religious shells, going through the motions. I know some who were actually fresh, living, full religious worshippers. They can pray the Lord's prayer every day and - I actually believe this, though it didn't work for me - those words can be alive each time for them. So "Religion" can be alive.

God is big enough to inhabit our habits. In fact, I'm thinking of adding one or two more living habits to my own devotional life. But if I do, and if it ever becomes dead, dry, hollow repetition, then I ask the Lord to show me on that day so I can end those habits, and grow some new, fresh living habits with him all over again. And so we go.

The Lord's spirit on this earth does not sit still. The wind moves where it will, and we follow. Living creatures who follow the Lord are like the wheel-within-a-wheel, that can turn hard left on a dime, if the spirit goes that way.

But man's nature... especially man's fallen nature... likes to keep things the same.

And that's why, when people criticize "religion" they're usually talking about some other group of people who tried to make them fit into their ways-of-doing-things. Usually, when I see or hear someone criticize "religion" they're upset because they felt the Lord was leading them in a new direction, but the established powers that were 'over' them in that place would not allow it. And THAT happens in every faith and every denomination known to man.

But I seldom see or hear anyone talking about "religion" as part of their own human nature. More often, I hear men with ideas for how to keep changing so they don't get stale, and I wonder if they know that idea isn't necessarily spiritual.

So what is "spiritual"? And what's the difference?

There were pictures of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament: The Lord gave the children of Israel a pillar of fire, and it moved. And the manna was fresh every day. And the water showed up every day, in a new place. And the tabernacle, the Lord's tent, his house in that day - it moved with them. Those are all pictures of the Holy Spirit's moving in the "assembly".

But the people needed something they could understand and follow. So God gave them the Law. And he gave them a King. And he gave them a Temple - and he lived in it! (For a while.) And he set up that whole system knowing that it would not last - it was not what he most-of-all wanted. He destroyed it all once, and re-established a part of it again so it could last a while longer...

And then he came as a Man! The Second Adam - a spiritual man! (Maybe one part of the reason he came as a man was to prove that a man could live by the spirit.) As a man, he fulfilled the Law (so we don't have to anymore). As a man, he lived by his Father's spirit within him. He did not live by rules. (He had 'customs', such as visiting a synagogue when he got to a new city, during his travelling ministry. But his customs did not own or rule him.) He lived by the Life of his Father inside of Him. THAT is what "spiritual" means.

He ended the old system totally. As a man, he filled the empty seat of the throne of David. And just to make it crystal clear, he predicted (and later, from heaven, caused) the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem. All that was left was the synagogue, which the Jews had started themselves, after Babylon.

And Jesus Christ, as a man, standing on the earth in mortal flesh, said this: "The time has now come when those who worship the Father will worship in spirit... "

If anyone truly worships the father, they worship him in spirit, no matter what outward-way they do it.

Now christians all over the world try to figure out "what does God want me to do?" And we might fairly say that whatever answer each person comes up with is their own "religion". For some, it is dead, dry and fixed. For others, alive, fresh and flexible. And every other mix of all that religion can be. The spirit can move in some people's "religion". But not always. Sometimes, religion is there specifically to keep the spirit away!

Some people think that "religion" becomes a problem in the second generation. One group shakes off the old chains, starts fresh, finds Him, life abundant overflows among them, and they set up two shelters! (One for Moses, and one for Elijah!) Then fifteen to fifty years later their followers either shake off the new chains or decide they feel comfortable! By the third to fifth generation of 'disciples', many to most of the people are going through motions that don't always get filled with Him anymore.

But I believe the problem of "religion" is in every man and woman on this planet. It's in our fallen human nature, that came from eating fruit called "you-get-to-be-the-one-who-decides-what-is-good-and-what-is-not". It's in Knowledge. It's in trying to do Good and avoid Evil. It's in the flesh. It's in rules. It's in "forms of godliness" and human-righteousness. It's in trying to please God by human effort. There IS still a part of all of us, while we live on this earth, that wants to go that way. It will always be here.

And "religion" is also in the selfish, human part of a christian, when they've decided they very much DO want things to be a certain way - even for the sake of the Lord, so they say - and they come to a cross in their lives, which is this: Am I going to fight to establish this vision and to persuade others to live this way with me... or am I going to die on this cross and imagine that maybe the Lord has another path for these other servants of his? And I believe that's the difference. Is God big enough, or do you think others MUST ____ ? (fill in the blank)

(And for the record, I'm NOT talking about morality, I'm talking about forms, function and following. No one needs to preach morality, strict or loose. 'Sinners' know they're doing wrong, and we don't have to curse them for it OR bless and encourage their misdeeds... But that's another topic.)

Religion is like everything else on this planet. Because Adam fell, it competes with God for superiority. And something inside us wants God to win. And something else wants the religion to win... but that part is soooo sneaky! I think one part of freedom is knowing that "Good" is not "Life". And the rest, then, is Knowing that Life.

And now for the best part:

The Kingdom of God is spiritual. Sometimes, on this planet, a group of men and women can intersect with that and gather here together as a portion of His kingdom, for a while.

And sometimes they develop a particular way of expressing His Spirit together. And sometimes that "way" grows larger and more important until it's bigger than Him. And sometimes the systems that they establish during their prime last for a long, long time after they're dead.

And I will always believe that God - Who IS Life and Spirit - is constantly roaming their grand cathedrals, auditoriums, living rooms and the whole wide earth. He is blessing the live and the dead ones in various ways. He is hunting for ones who will live by His spiritual Life.

June 21, 2005

My Spirit


This is a poem I wrote years ago. Because of the rythm, it comes back to mind every so often, so I was "reworking the joints" a bit this morning. Here it is.

*************************
MY SPIRIT

There is, in me, a sensing
that can tell the up from down,
the Jesus from the me.

It makes a way to walk confidently
within the light I have, however dark
the road may seem to be.

I feel it spark in me
again, and know!
that Christ, in me, is real..

This is the way we cannot see
but is, to other senses,
clear and stark.

I never learned to use my sense
of smell. It happens
accidently, some. My nose
would work; I never practiced!

Even so: a new creation
may not be so well
accustomed to new senses...
yet, she grows!

My spirit learns,
till Christ is all I know.

June 5, 2005

My Bible

There are only two things I know of on this earth that are ever lived in or filled by the Spirit of God: our souls, and His Word. Countless Christians and non-christians alike who could read (and some who couldn't) have reached for a Bible in order to find... Him. Whatever else they thought they were looking for, they were looking for Him! Often, they find Him.

Then, Christians, having found Jesus Christ in the pages of the Bible, having been lost, deeply in love with Him, having found salvation in those pages... many of them keep on reading and seem to find so much... what? More of Him? Or more of... other things? (Or sometimes both?)

For anyone reading the Bible, the experience can either be Him, or not-Him. This is obvious. In connecting our souls to His Word, the real key is still, simply, the actual presence and moving of His Holy Spirit!

But as far as the Bible itself, as a book...

Most books have a main, central purpose: to express, to share, to inform, to educate, to persuade, to inspire, to record... and many parts of the Bible can certainly be placed into all of those categories. Of course, however, it is meant to be so much more. If the Bible is God's book, then it must have been put together for God's purpose. And I believe God truly has only one purpose on earth:

To reveal and to glorify Jesus Christ, more and more!

Whether or not readers "get it", the whole Bible is centered on Jesus. In the new testament, every page is about Him in glorious, wonderful ways. In the Old Testament, it is all really all about Him but in secret, foretelling, predicting, and hidden ways. When the Lord spoke to his prophets about mercy, he was speaking about Jesus, because Jesus Christ himself is mercy. Everything in the Bible, somehow, whether we "get it" or not... it's all really all about Him.

I love the Bible... but I have one major problem with most of the Bibles I find.

Formatting. (It's a publishing issue... now, trust me, this gets good again!)

Too often, for most people, it's not really that readable. At least for me, the formatting actually distracts me from finding my Lord, in the pages: tiny text, distracting footnotes, tiny margins (lack of white space affects the mood of all readers), and a two collumn format that makes me feel like I'm looking at an encyclopedia or school textbook! (Did you ever write a letter to someone, or read a story that was written in a two column, textbook format?).

Also, the 22 letters in the New Testament are grouped by their authors and arranged by their size (big to small). No reader can easily tell when each letter was written, or from where... and the overall context certainly helps to explain why each letter was written... and these are all formatting issues. People go there to find Him, but often, feel distracted and confused... and not always for lack of seeking His spirit... the formatting has an affect on the mindset of the reader; it's too academic-looking, and it's too dense!

But here's the worst formatting problem: chapter and verse numbers.

Scholars who study classic books (like Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, Aristotle, Plato and Homer) like to put numbers on each line, so they can reference those numbers when making their arguments and proving their points. I say, the Bible isn't meant for making arguments and proving points. So let's be done with verse numbers! Verse numbers literally, constantly invite people to take sentences out of context. Think about it. Is that helping, or hindering the purpose, I ask you?

The verses were probably meant (by the bishop who wrote them) to help the scribes copy the scriptures, so they could compare - line by line - and make sure there were no mistakes in the new copies that had to be hand made (in Latin!) From there, it just stuck. The negative effects of "verses" were mostly accidental!

Think about this: whenever a person, in real life, tries to prove a point by quoting someone else, the listener's natural instinct is to wonder, "I wonder what the context was, and if it meant what this person is saying it meant." But when a person tries to prove a point by quoting the Bible, many American listeners are soothed (or at least stiffled) if the person simply says what verse it came from. Again, I ask you: does this help, or hinder, the Purpose?

Do you think you've been influenced by "verses"? (What do you have to compare it to?) I know a way that might help you discover the difference. I suggest you try an experiment, to find out if you prefer reading "pure" scripture. But it may take some time... Here's my suggestion: just three simple tasks:

1) Take Paul's letter to the church in Rome and copy it - by hand or by keyboard, whichever is more comfortable for you. (Romans is very long; I suggest you start with Colossians or Philippians first. These are the shortest books that also have lots of Christ in them, in ways that He's easy to find!) While you are copying it, leave out the chapter and verse numbers! (Also, leave out the headings and footnotes; copy only the scripture... you know what it's like having headings and footnotes; I'm suggesting you try it at least once without them.)

2) Then, when your new copy of Paul's letter about Jesus is done, and as soon as you can find the time, go sit in a quiet place, away from distractions, and read it... or, even better, try this: Before you read it, sit quietly for a short time, with one prayer: God, show me Jesus. You don't have to repeat the prayer in your head over and over, just reach out to Him and for Him, and - if you can - feel Him reaching out in His love for you. Relax, clear your mind, and focus on Him. He does love you, you know. Jesus died to prove it!

3) Whenever you start reading, begin at the start, and keep right on going until you get to the end, no matter what happens. Start to finish. If you get distracted, or lose focus on what you are reading, that's fine, but try this: pause a moment and say out loud, "God, show me Jesus." Then pick up right where you were, even if you just realized you weren't paying attention to the last half a page. The idea here is to get from the start to the end, looking for Jesus... it may not be very successful the first several times... but then again, even if it's not a roaring success, it might be Amazing!

If you try these "three simple tasks"... when you're done... would you please send me an e-mail, to let me (and others who find this page) know how the experience went, for you? Did it help? Did you get through it the first time? (If you're "A Definitely Distracted" person, like I am, you might need a few tries at the reading part!) But the big question: did you find more of Him?

By the way, a few years ago I retyped my Bible (well, my NT) and took out the verses, and formatted it just like a story, and put all the letters in their proper place in the story. It took me a year, but it gave me a real solid sense of the overall context... and helped me get past the distracting approach (which I felt) of needing to chop it all up into tiny bits, and analyze each sentence to death. Knowing the whole context helped me get begin to get past the influence of "verses" and the "study" mindset. (**OK, I admit there are times when I study the Bible, and then I use verses... but it isn't my main goal, nor should it be! There ought to be study bibles and yet, also, PURE bibles, too. I'm not against "bible study" per se... but I think the currently typical emphasis on "study" is just way, way out of proportion.**)

Let me repeat myself: In connecting our souls to His Word, the real key is still, simply, the actual presence and moving of His Holy Spirit. My friend, please. Whatever you do when you look at the Bible, I have one hope and prayer for you: that you find Him.

Find him, more and more.

May 30, 2005

Sunrise in Thessalonica


(I wrote this 1-page story. I hope you enjoy it.)
-------------------------------------

The rooster next door starts to crow at an hour before dawn. You grumble and start to roll over, pull up on your arms, heavy sigh. Then you just whisper, “Lord.”
Your aching muscles groan as you slip off your cot to the ground, quickly finding your sandals. “Man, earth sure got cold last night!” You grab the heavy wool cloak that hangs on the high jagged stone in the wall, stand for a minute, in the far corner of the room, and kick dirt on the pit as you turn to go, finally pulling the dark cloth down over your head.

The large hinges whine as you unbar the door, and the rusty lock skreeks when you close it behind. Turning upwind, you reach for the hood of your cloak, and remember last night’s heavy rain. “S’not that bad today.” You start up the street, past the doors of your neighbors, and keep to the sides to avoid what did not wash away. You step over the legs of two boys sleeping under a cart. Torchlight flickers from behind upstair shutters. You make your way fast through the darkness and cold. “The Lord is my Shepherd. I know.”

At the corner, you cut down the alley, uphill, and continue to zig-zag across two more streets, towards the market. You stop at the wide street, and cross it. The darkness has faded to greyness and the false dawn beginning allows you to see two more figures approaching. You then see the torch in the wall, by the red door you seek. Your two friends from the west go on in, while you come up the road. They don’t wave. You enter, and finally notice your bare legs shivering as usual, when you see that someone’s got the fire stoked and going. Five are sitting. Two on a bench, one on a crate, two on stools. You sit on the half-barrel nearest the door. Outside the wind makes a soft howl, and dogs bark down the street. A baby coos up in the loft, and a child’s voice says ‘shhh’, as the fire pops once. Your legs manage to get still again, and your lungs have calmed down a lot. You push back your hood, fold your arms, close your arms, and you get still inside. Someone says, “Jesus.” Someone says, “oh, yes.” Softly, in turn, each voice speaks, in love with the One who is there.

Five minutes. Ten minutes. Silently, sitting. Calling His name. Feeling the comfort of Him. A sister in the room begins the song about the lamb. Your body is warmer. The whole world is gone. Fifteen minutes. Stillness. A brother starts talking to God. Other voices, you realize, came in since you did. Looking up, you are heartened to see, now, 9 or 10 are devoting the start of their day to the sharing and touching of Christ. Twenty minutes. Someone gets up, and slips out. With a quiet smile and a hand taken briefly, they leave. The meeting goes on. You’re aware that your back is a little bit stiff, and you straighten and fidget a bit on your crate. Three or four sit eyes open, and quiet. Content. The rest are still lost in their Lord. You look at the others who look back at you… and you smile. A rush comes upon you because of their smile. Gladness, safety, freedom and peace… Hope and renewed strength to live… A God who is pleased by all this! These whole new worlds opened up by this way, by this Lord. What a year!

You stand, mindful that chores are waiting. True dawn creeps in from the loft, and from around the door. You squeeze someone’s shoulders a bit and you whisper “Praise Him.” Then you leave.

But you don’t feel so cold anymore.

May 1, 2005

What is a Christian?

Here is a poem I wrote recently. It's about one part of what happens when Jesus Christ enters someone. Enjoy!

Completely Different

A big, fat, filthy, barnyard rat
Came crawling down a post
Then did a little flip, and spun
With silky threads that came out from his tail
A web. He wrapped and spun until
His body – whiskers, snout and all –
Were gone. Coocooned. Entombed.
And not ten minutes passed. I watched
The bulging white sarcophagus, it cracked
And out came eighteen inch long wings
Whose colors sparkled in the sun,
And now, no longer rat,
The brand new creature flew
Through blue-white heaven. New.

Out in the field, that day, a hobbled goat
Was curled up next to some sleight brush
For shelter from the sun. Its skin was dry
And scaly, when, with both its pointy horns,
The stale old creature started scratching, rubbing,
Pushing on its molting skin. Eyes swollen shut,
Teeth pulling at the flesh around his hooves,
His back arched, caved in, crusted up, and life
Then vanished from the goat. I saw his mouth
Had opened fifty inches wide. An egg emerged
Just half-way out, a yellow beak burst through,
And shattered shell and crusty flesh together.
The baby eagle, pounding its straight wings,
Caught strong winds up to gusty heaven. Free.

That night, back in the house, one common girl
Is trying hard to mind her parents, doing all her chores
And counting days until spring formal, when
She doubles over on her bed, reading a little book
About a man. In fifteen minutes, halfway through
One paragraph, she stops. A burst of light as bright
As Disney’s best extravaganza fills the room,
And firecrackers pop inside her – none of this she notices
Except in one, long meaningful slow sigh.
Three quiet seconds. Stillness in the room – it looks
So different now, and yet the same.
She puts the light out quietly. Her brand new wings
Enfold her – and in Jesus’ arms she soars beyond the skies.
No longer human. Loved. Alive. New. Free.
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