- My church is having its 10th anniversary in September. We’re throwing a party. I’m more or less in charge of planning it and I have a lot of help, for which I am extremely grateful. Anyway, it’s going to be fun.

- I think I have a mild sinus infection or really serious allergies. Either way, the right side of my face hurts.

- I’ve been in the doldrums the past few weeks in regards to pretty much every area of my life and I have no idea how to get out except just to wait it out and keep going and hope my emotions and motivation catch up with the truth.

- YouTube channels I subscribe to and recommend highly if you’re into learning about stuff: Crash Course (10ish-minute-long videos on stuff you learned about in high school and probably forgot, run by John and Hank Green [yes, the John Green who wrote The Fault in Our Stars]), Sorted Food (British guys show you recipes, plus occasional silliness), SciShow (short videos about science), and How to Adult (two folks teach you about things like how to do your taxes or laundry or interview for a job–not that I really need to learn this, since I am a legit adult and all, but if you know a person about to go to or graduate from college, or who really, really needs to get their life together, send them here).

- I need to get back into writing, using the Getting Things Done system, finishing books (I’m one or two chapters in to about 9 things right now…), and not spending most of my time watching YouTube videos.

- I know this is not the greatest post ever, but part of getting back into writing is just sitting down and putting some words on a screen, even if they’re not particularly interesting. So thanks for putting up with this, all.

1. There’s a song we’ve been singing at church called “That I May Please You.” It’s really simple melodically and lyrically, based on part of Hebrews 10: “I deserve much worse than this/I have trampled underfoot/And regarded as unclean Your Spirit and Your blood.” It goes on like this, a confession and a prayer to be made clean and whole, and why? “That I may please You and exalt You/In my body and my mind.” The phrase “in my body and my mind” has really stuck with me, especially as in this year I feel like I’m really starting to get that God actually cares about what I do with my body and how I feel about it–that He wants me to eat well and exercise and be chaste because my body belongs to Him, not me. Same goes for how I think and what I think about. So. This has been a good prayer for me.

2. But it’s also a cry of praise, because I do sin in my body and my mind. I deserve much worse than what I receive. But God has washed me clean and is making me whole. Hallelujah.

3. It’s baseball season, which means my mom has spent a lot of time shouting at the TV lately.

4. To paraphrase the excellent rapper Propaganda, sometimes the evangelical Internet makes me very upset, but I ain’t gave up on it yet.

5. I’ve tweeted about this, but after following the tag #YesAllWomen on Twitter, I’m really, really thankful that I’m surrounded by a bunch of people who would defend and love me and not blame or ignore or condemn me if I were ever sexually assaulted. (And I hope that I am, by the Spirit, someone who would do the same to anyone else.)

6. Thursday is the feast of the ascension, because it’s 40 days after Easter and that’s the timeline Luke gives us for when Jesus went back to His Father. He’s in heaven praying for us, which is always a comforting thought to me. The thing that continues to blow my mind about it is that Jesus still has a body–He’s not a disembodied spirit, He didn’t just dissolve into the ether, He’s still fully human and that means living in a body, and the separation of the body and soul is, well, death, and He already did that once. :) I don’t know exactly what implication that has for what kind of place heaven is, other than that it’s a place. But isn’t that great? Jesus still has skin and bones and blood, albeit glorified, post-resurrection skin and bones and blood.

7. Here’s a fun thing, too: In the Anglican tradition the three days before the ascension are called rogation days. In the old days the priest would go out and walk people’s property boundaries to both semi-officially mark where people’s property began and ended, but also pray for them to have a good harvest and planting season. That tradition remains in the Book of Common Prayer, because this week it has us praying for people who harvest the land and the water–farmers and fishers and ranchers and everyone who grows and raises and gets our food for us. I don’t always practice this well, but I want to be really aware that people had to plant or harvest or slaughter (!) or catch or cook or process my food, and to pray for their well-being. And not just to pray, but to work for it.

8. I’ve been growing my hair out. It’s been ages since it’s been this long, and it’s gotten to a point when I can start experimenting with it, which is kind of cool.

9. Current favorite things: The “dance” category on The Kid Should See This; the track “Daywalkers” on Crimson Cord by the aforementioned Propaganda and its lyric namedropping Tim Keller and Outkast in the same breath; cold-brewed iced coffee; drinking coffee with friends.

10. In short, God has made the physical world for His glory and our benefit, and a good part of holiness consists in caring for it, including our own bodies. The physical world is broken and needs repair; it is beautiful and demands attention; Jesus gives us both. So drink some water, get some sleep, and give thanks.

(I need someone to write the music for this)

And all of us are miracles of modern art and science
We rescued what our fathers made and killed it for our children
And in a growing universe what god could come and find us
No home except the thoughts we made and all we build within them

The winds of change blew down our shelters of straw
The ocean floor is littered with our lost innocence and awe

But in the end, my lonely friends
The world will die and rise again
And we will be like forest trees
Who clap their hands for joy

And all of us were orphans in the streets of ancient cities
The exiles of a kingdom that was meant to last forever
We try to find a home by being strong or being witty
Or beautiful, or standing up against the culture’s weather

The kings of earth went passing by our ragged weary eyes
The poor and wretched wait to watch the city’s soon demise

And in the end, my lovely friends
What once was lost will live again
The sun will rise before our eyes
And raise its hands for joy

For forty days You wove in and out
Of the fabric of time and space
The needle restitching the world

What fun You must have had, what
Joy You must have taken in surprising
Your people with the fact of Your life

And You keep doing it again and again
You show up out of nowhere when
I least expect, and I am continually

Astonished by the fact of You

I have waited once
For the coming quickening light
I can wait again

It’s not Sabbath yet
(although the sun is swiftly setting today)
so I am making the bread
and sweeping the floor
and washing the windows
and trying to get dinner together
even though I am not hungry today
none of us are hungry today

I am doing the thing he told me
not to do: but today I want
to do everything I can
to ignore the news that came down
the road from the city
because otherwise everything will unravel
like the tears in our garments

So I keep brushing past the blood
on the doorposts
I keep not looking up at the darkening sky
because as long as I keep moving I can still believe

All the women came back to our house,

So it’s just us. And our brother, laying low after

A month of miracles, and a few hangers-on:

All of us healed in some way, recipients of

Some gift. And we are chopping up the herbs,

Baking the bread. The men came back from the

Temple with the lamb and poured its blood on our house,

And now we eat.

 

But the twelve? And the Lord? In Jerusalem, and all I want–

Though I am grateful for this company, this family stitched together

Around my tired heart to keep it warm–all I want

Is to run into town and fall at His feet again, still scented

With last week’s perfume, and listen.

I fear that tonight, after a month of miracles,

The miracles may end for good.

 

Tonight in Bethany my ears still ring
With loud shouts and the rustle of the palms;
Old men, young women, little kids would sing
Their loud hosannas like a victory psalm
To welcome in their conquering King and Lord,
The Victor over pagan rule–and then
You turned on them–You flipped the merchant’s boards
And moneychangers’ tables, and then when
The dust had settled, You cried out: “This place
Should be for prayer, you robbers!” Oh my Lord,
You set Yourself outside the priests’ good grace
Far more than prudence, wisdom would afford.
My Master, I gave up my life to go
With You–but will it bring us grief and woe?

1. Hi, gang. It’s been too long. I’m gonna try to do this more often. (How often have I said that? Oh well, we’ll try it again.)

2. I think it may be because of my weird melancholy bent, but Advent and Lent are two of my favorite church year seasons (Holy Week and Eastertide are my actual favorites, for what I hope are obvious reasons). There is something about confessing that we are weak, and that we are sinful, and that we need God’s mercy, that is also surprisingly freeing and joyful. I’m praying that God does necessary things in my heart, and in others’ hearts, this year.

3. This is kind of a weird feeling for me, but lately I have just not wanted to read. Maybe my brain is tired of downloading information, or I have too many options, or something. I don’t know. But my read count is surprisingly low so far this year. It may also be that I’ve been attempting to juggle four or five books, and they’re all really long. (Speaking of, current reads: The Jesus Way by Eugene Peterson, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly On Prayer by C.S. Lewis, and Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, because I’m having a weird nostalgic streak. I started Death Comes For the Archbishop by Willa Cather, but had to put it on hold because of all this other stuff.)

4. The post title comes from a song I’ve been humming a lot this Lent, “I’m Coming Back” from Sojourn Music: “But my gold has turned to dust, and all my idols rusted over/I’ve gained the whole world and lost my soul.” Sojourn’s the music department for a church in Louisville and they consistently turn out good stuff, so I highly recommend them.

Some days, everything’s cool; we are content
And health and life are well inside our grip;
But other days your light has all been spent
And darkness intervenes, your heart to strip
Of all its dressings, all its healing balms;
It lays you bare and naked to the bone
And desperate, and devoid of what could calm
Your burning heart, your desperation-groans.
Some wounds are slow to heal, infection-bound–
And some, though now scarred over, still are sore;
What healer could there be to come around
And reach into your still-too-tender core?
What drug, what surgery could ever cure
Your broken heart, the sorrow you endure?

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