We need you fully present, fully awake.
We need light-bearers, God-bearers, Kingdom-bringers, hope-servers.
We are hungry for your glad tidings shouted from mountaintops, whispered into smartphones, wrapped around the shoulders of the widow sitting hands-folded in the pew. We need the Kingdom come and it is you, my friend, who will help bring it in.
Back in ancient days, the glad tidings proclaimer was a job, the one responsible for climbing mountains to bring the news. Think ancient news anchor. Job description: trek up the switchbacks, catch your breath and loudly bellow the message. The words, “The King is coming!” would project from up in the hills so sound waves could reverberate to women with baskets hustling around the market.
Isaiah 40:9 “0 thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain;O Jerusalem, that tellest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, “behold your God.”
Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee”
It is fear, (oh ya, and narcissism, but sometimes aren’t they one in the same?) that keeps us planted down in our own square footage.
So here’s the secret to fearless proclaiming:
The greater the love, the less stage fright we have. Fall in love with the Image-bearing, beautifully broken and we can’t help but weep over Jerusalem, walk straight into our callings.
Because we don’t want your love-less art (a quote from Emily Freeman’s inspiring book here), your narcissistic preaching, your light-less spouting, your love-less mothering, (friending, teaching, doctoring, self-promotion, etc.)
We need you fully engaged. We want your story metamorphosed by His story and projected by love.
But that kind of love…it can’t be bought, faked, counterfeit.
It has to be given and grown.
In seminary I found the longer I steeped in a story, the more it would come out as tight little bits of poetry. Spend an internship researching the world of the Celts along with Hilda of Whitby from the 600’s? For a month I would dream and create and scratch down Hilda poems before sleep.
What we marinate in eventually comes out. For better, for worse, it becomes the story we write, the art we make, the tidings, glad and otherwise, we project.
We have a dear friend who used to be an editor at Zondervan who would regale us with stories of the authors he supported. His unabashed favorite? Richard Foster. Why? Richard’s integrity.
Richard Foster, our friend told us, would spend seven years writing a book. He refused to put words on paper that didn’t come out of his soul, that were not written by his life. Richard refused to get caught up in the publishing world’s demand for more titles. He would pray through his subject, live that subject and then, love the reader of that subject.
How do we project God’s coming into the world without fear?
Eugene Peterson transcribes Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine for your light has come” in this way, “Get out of bed Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God’s bright glory has risen for you. The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, but God rises on you, his sunrise glory breaks over you.”
We, my friends, are solar powered. Our light gets brighter when we dwell in strong light.
One Sabbath I was searching for direction and sat down for an hour in front of the altar. It’s a thin place, a kairos place, a place where God’s voice feels louder. This was one of those rare moments where His love broke over me and I sat for a long time just enjoying Him. But I’m no saint and soon hunger chased me out and I slid into a booth at Red Lobster. I know, a little extravagant and entirely institutional but I’m addicted to their coconut shrimp with pina colada sauce. I found myself getting effusive all over the unsuspecting waitress. “Do you know you have a beautiful smile?” I asked her. The mechanical eyes now turned soft and the smile brighter. I wrote “thank you” on my receipt and “I just want you to know God takes great delight in you” in the margin. And yes, I know, maybe we should have established more of a depth in our friendship before I went all glad tidings over her, but honestly, love was just seeping out.
This was me holding back.
When we soak in love, lap it up, we project love fearlessly.
We need you, dear one, to fearlessly Go Tell it on the Mountains.
We want your unique God-soaked story projected and inviting us to strain our eyes for the Coming One, to“Behold our God.”
An Advent Get-Practical Spiritual Exercise:
3. Turn up the worship music, close your eyes and enjoy Him.
4. Use one phrase from Scripture and take deep breaths with it: “I am loved with an everlasting love.” Set a timer for ten or twenty minutes. Neuroscientists tell us that what we repeat, transforms and heals our brain.
We are on a journey to the manger, one Scripture, one stepping stone from Handel’s Messiah at a time. Join us? Don’t miss a day. Slip your email in the Connect box on the front page of this website. Let’s be pilgrims together.
Linking with Laura Boggess who today shares about the unexpected wonder of winter-time worship,
Michelle DeRusha who talks about obedience and having a Joseph-sized faith
and Jen who is teaching us to pray for our sisters through the holiday push.