Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dancing in my Living Room

This morning I woke up with Third Day's version of "Creed" in my head. This tends to happen about twice a year, even though it's been ages since I've listened to Third Day on a regular basis. I usually find the song online and casually listen to it as I make breakfast or something. But as I listen to the lyrics, I usually have to stop what I'm doing. The power of the somewhat simple and straightforward lyrics always get me. It's hard to explain really. It's kind of like when you hear something that really strikes a chord in you and you can't explain why in the moment, but you believe it so strongly with all your heart that you want to yell and shout for joy. Or you get a feeling of surreal peace in your heart that all you can do smile like a dummy. And not because someone told you you should, or even that you yourself thought it was the right thing to do. You just believe. And in that moment all the stupid worries about this scary life disappear. Yesterday's reality of 'not enough money, not enough time, not enough bla bla bla' washes away like it was never there. You can say it's emotion. And I will probably agree with you if you do! Theologically, we would say it's a response to God's outpouring of love. A response to the life of Christ poured out for sinners by a Father full of grace and truth and revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.

Sure, this is a fitting time of year to think about God. For the Christian this is a significant weekend. Last night a bunch of us gathered in a grassy field for a somber evening of reflection upon Christ's death on the cross. We sat on lawn chairs, on blankets, on grass. We listened to scripture and thought and prayed as the hot sun beat down on our faces and weird bugs I've never seen before landed on our legs. At the end, many of us stood up and walked to a nearby table and ate a piece of bread dipped into wine to symbolize something much more than simple food and drink. Those who came to the table were of all ages, all races, all backgrounds. Tomorrow morning many of those same people will gather in a church building. Some of us will be wearing nice Easter clothes with smiles on our faces, but underneath we'll be the same people who need that bread and wine more than we know. Except Sunday we won't be as somber, maybe not quite as reflective, but we'll rejoice in the hope of all hopes- Christ is dead no longer. Isaiah 55 says come, "Come all who are thirsty!" Come you who are afraid, who are skeptical, who are wary of anything religious. Come you who've done wrong and you who've thought you've always done right. Come you who are disabled, are weary, are lost. I will readily admit that I am one of the above, and I will be one who is running to get a taste of peace, of joy, and of the celebration. And I speak namely of not just coming to a building to hear a prepared sermon, but coming to the raised Christ.

There might have been a tear or two today as I listened to good ol' Third Day. Maybe a little dancing in the living room. Definitely a cheesy smile as I finished my cereal. Oh don't worry, the shades were drawn. I am just thankful for a reminder of God's love on this hot cloudy morning here in Texas.

The lyrics of the song I'm talking about are mostly derived from the Apostles Creed, a statement of faith of sorts, dating back from the 2nd century. You can listen to it here:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Growing Plants and Screaming Babies

As many of you know, I got my own garden plot this year at a nearby community garden. I've been pretty excited about it. I grew up gardening. It was totally a family thing. Sometimes, though, I'm surprised that I even like gardening considering that a typical childhood punishment for my siblings and I was to weed the garden. Not, "Go to your room" or "No dessert for youtonight" or even "You're grounded", but "The corn patch will be really excited to have its weeds cleared this afternoon." But apparently it wasn't traumatic enough, because here I am anxious to weed my plot this weekend to free my plants from those pesky little intruders.

Over the past few weeks I've often thought, "Is taking care of plants similar to taking care of a child?" I know, I can only ride the wings of this analogy so far, but bear with me for a minute. First of all, I think of my plants often and wonder how they're doing. I wonder if the weather is too hot or too cold or too wet or too dry. I get excited each day I head to water them after work. If they don't look well, I wonder what I did wrong. My thoughts become consumed with , "Should I have listened to that guy at the nursery who said the fertilizer pellets were the best, or my dad who always fertilized with the organic liquid stuff?" or "Did I water too much this week?....Not enough?" On the flip side, when my plants look full and green I feel a sense of pride as if all the worry and hard work was totally worth it.

I fully realize that taking care of plants is a far cry from being a parent. Yet I imagine that some of the emotions -excitement, worry, pride- are similar. Magnified a million times, but similar. Now don't get too excited- this blog is not my way of announcing that a miniature Hurd is on the way. But Josh and I were talking about kids today. Josh is taking a class called Religion and Violence and the topic today was abortion. Over dinner tonight, we talked about the discussion from his class today. By the end of the meal, we had talked our way into thinking that adoption might be part of our future. Of course we'll see what the coming years bring. These are just thoughts and prayers now. Needless to say, I am excited for that season in life. I hope I'll be ready for the massive responsibility of growing something more significant and meaningful than a plant- a human being. And considering I'm currently having a bit of trouble keeping my tomatoes alive, it looks like I'm going to need a lot prayer and advice when that time does come!