We just had the most beautiful weekend here in Wheaton-land. Had a great Saturday, took my landlady around to garden shops, great weather and then we got to go see the Last Indiana Jones movie (yes?) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
It rocked. We loved it.
Then Sunday at church. Messages on following Christ and heaven. I am soooo blessed to have Dr. Richard Schultz of Wheaton College, prof. of Old Testament theology teach my adult community class. He's vibrant, funny and KNOWS his material. I walked out grinning.
The other lesson wasn't bad, but it needed pepper, salt, ketchup and lots of Mozzarella cheese to make it worth chewing. I won't criticize here, but some people have the gift of teaching. Others have the gift of leadership. They are not the same.
Later that day, I helped my next door neighbor put in some sheets of plywood over his now-banished hot tub for safety's sake and ate some delicious Bratwursts with him, his wife and two precious boys.
I also got a good dose of pollen and the beautiful fragrance of lilacs. The wind was gusting, you see.
In 12 hours, I was talking like a Mafiaso hit man. I was suffering. We called another friend and had them return the window unit air conditioner we had loaned them months ago to give my dusty room a simple form of an air purifier. It ran all night and helped immensely.
But now I have a cold. Stupid, eh?
I also had lots of strange dreams of being back in the dark: dreams of my life, dreams of dealing with men of another race who flicked switchblades and cared nothing for you, dreams of avoiding being "trapped" by those more cunning than myself. Not actual events, but the very emotions and fears: like a psychedelic grade B thriller - or horror movie with no redemption, just death in the end.
It was pretty awful. I woke up several times just to swallow water for my parched throat.
No one wants to be sick. No one wants to be helpless. No one wants to be reminded of how useless you were or could be again.
But I needed the reminder I think. I needed to know that there is one reason I understand what I understand today about God. The very reason a pastor is willing to ordain me as I perform my jail ministry. The reason I am permitted to write and be cared for even as I serve a minor function of being a lady's driver and house help.
I was dead and in darkness, and Jesus saved me.
I was pursuing the very things that would kill me and He stopped me.
I don't want to be sick. But I'd rather be sick than dead.
Sometimes it takes seeing our helplessness to cry out to Him. To get real about our 'helpless estate' as it were. I think I understand that once again.
Our lesson for tonight - which I will not be teaching - is found in Mark 9:1-13. Go to http://openarmsfellowship.blogspot.com and read it. I think the "taste death" Jesus is talking about is the death of our ego, not our physical bodies. Seeing as how God Himself has to correct their false assumptions is enough to convince me.
Jesus took them to the top -and laid them out.
If you feel "laid out" today, don't be angry.
God just wants you to look up.