Thursday, August 13, 2009

I have been hungry for an awfully long time it seems. Hungry to learn. Aching to be in a fresh experience. Wanting new life. In fact, I've been praying for something to open up and inspire me in daily living. I begged at church for in depth study, but I have not come across any offerings. I turned to friends outside my church and asked, "What is filling you? Where can I find it?" The reply? "I've been waiting and praying for something myself. Let me know when you find it, because I might want to join."

If the stars align properly, I meet with a out-of-town friend, Jo, on the phone for accountability and prayer once a week. Jo is in an incredibly rich season of faith. Each morning she wakes up to meet with God on her front porch, and apparently they've really been enjoying one an other's company. Yet she never criticizes or judge when I say for millionth time, "Still pray for me. I got nothing on spiritual growth. Dry. Dry. Dry." And she does pray for me. Faithfully.

Next week, I got something better to say to her. In fact, it might knock her socks off. First of all, I found a study group of folks and attended last night with my entire family. It's a refresher on basic Bible study. The pastor even gave homework without obligation which had me in a happy place with God in my own home for the first time in a long time, and that's not for lack of trying before. It's that I have a communal direction, and someone else is sailing the ship while I delight in the ride.

I have to wonder if God was just waiting for this particular moment, because of the earth shattering events of last weekend. The "what ifs" of that situation remain, yet I've found peace in not going ahead of what is present.

I also have another thing to tell Jo. I've begun making materials for the children which I teach spiritual formation through Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I've been stuck for years literally on how to proceed in teaching older children, because of the denominational barriers. Will I offend those who have graciously passed the work onto me in original form by essential adaptation to meet the need of parents and children who express Christianity in another particular way? It's been a question I've not been brave enough to really answer by following all the way through with all necessary materials.

At the formation leaders conference I got an incredible amount of encouragement to dive in from friends and through God-given ideas. Once I began construction this week, I've found the work in itself to be utterly fulfilling. In a way it's like Dorothy always having the ruby red slippers, yet never knowing she's a always been a few heel clicks of the way home. How could I have forgotten the method of work of the hands leading to God? Yet it does.

Here's something of the discovery made in the delightful time I had this morning. The homework from our study focused on examining each phrase and getting as much meaning as possible from each verse in Mark 8:22-30 where Jesus heals a blind man and then asks the disciples who they think He is. He leaves Bethsaidia to head for another town to have this conversation with His followers and enters Caesarea Philippi. I became curious about each city,and the search turned up some interesting things. Turns out Caesarea Philippi was a particularly pagan town in which the god Pan was enshrined. I looked up Pan and was surprised to have found he was known for being in charge of fields, herds, shepherds. In fact, he was half goat, half man. Satanic ritual borrows the image of Pan for services. Interesting since Jesus went to Caesarea Philippi as the Good Shepherd and all. Pan, in his capriciousness, frightened his worshipers by evil stunts in lonely places. Believe it or not, his name is the origin for the word "panic". I think of Jesus as the exact opposite- peaceful, always good, always loving. Pan played the pipes and was known for music- sometimes erotic and other times to strike panic. Such a contrast to the comfort and glory of hymns and spiritual songs of Jesus we sing. Curiously, Pan was the only Greek god to have died. Another contradiction in that Jesus conquered death forever. In this very city, Jesus allowed His disciples uncover and assert His position as the Christ.

Here's to digging for more hidden treasure in days to come.

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