I have been writing elsewhere for several months, thus, the lapse in a continual flow of words. That’s ok. I have learned a lot, but I’m coming back home in a way. I like the simple, unhurried, uncluttered look of this blog, so I have decided to reroute, re-do and return to my roots (like the alliteration? I did it especially for you).
It has been a beautiful year so far. I last wrote in December, and since then, there has been growth, change, beauty, sorrow, love, life…all the words you could reasonably expect to appear in the span of eight months time. But here we are in August.
In today’s service, the lead pastor was gone, and for some reason, I felt like the “vibe” of the service was different. Or maybe it was just me. I sang louder today, unworried that my neighbor (who was a little boy and his father) would be listening to any misplaced keys, or scratchiness of tone in my voice. (I’ve started dancing in the car too, btw. Did you know that? The other day, I was listening to a rousing rendition of a Latin instrumental and was like, you know? Who cares? You only live once. I don’t have cuban/latina bones for nothing.)
Today, “Jan” attended church. She has been battling cancer and is going through chemo treatments. I don’t think she has ever met me, but I know of her, and we have been praying for her as a church. As we sang, I looked down at her small bald head with its few wisps of white hair.
“O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer
Gracious Savior of my ruined life
My guilt and cross laid on Your shoulders…”
and with raised hands and head:
“In my place You suffered bled and died
You rose, the grave and death are conquered
You broke my bonds of sin and shame
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer
May all my days bring glory to Your Name”
Jan doesn’t know how many her days are. As the fingers of cancer reach into the fibers of her earthly tent, she raises her hands and sings, “You rose, the grave and death are conquered”. I cry for the joy she has in those hands and in her voice. I cry for joy at the Savior who curled back the gnarly, clenched fingers of death and gave us a way out. I cry for joy because of “Jack” from our assembly, who went home to his Savior earlier this week. Jack loved Jesus, and Jesus loved Jack, and now Jack is with Jesus; in glory, forever and ever.
“You broke my bonds of sin and shame.”
I cry with joy because of the freedom He has given me, and the shame He took upon Himself so that I might walk free, clothed, and forgiven.
What we have is a tried and true gospel. A gospel, tested by blood and fire and cancer and depression and victory over it all.
“O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer”.