I have been sitting in front of my computer for the last two hours trying to decide what I want to write about. So many times when I put a sermon together, write a blog, or send out an e-blast or letter I know exactly where I want to go or, at least I have an idea of where God is leading me. Not today.
Today I am … lost.
I’ve spent some time on YouTube this morning watching two videos that moved me to tears. These videos are not new to me, in fact, I have probably watched each of them over 100 times. Every time I watch them I am blown away by God’s goodness. The two videos are both centered around songs that move me. The first is the country song “New Again” by Brad Paisley and Sara Evans. The video on YouTube (check it out here) plays the song with images from Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” film. I sit and watch the pain on Mary’s face as she watches her son die and I hear the words from the song, “whatever happens, whatever you see, whatever your eyes tell you has become of me, this is not the end, I am making all things new again” … and I weep.
Then I watch one of the most powerful video/sketches I have ever seen. The sketch was recorded at a youth conference in Colorado (I think) a few years back and is set to the Lifehouse song “Everything” (Check it out here). It is one of the most painful and beautiful pictures of our struggles and Jesus’ love for us that I have ever seen. I see a character who is created in His image, is pulled away from God through the temptations of life, and, at her most desperate moment - as the music crescendos with the words “You’re all that I want, You’re all that I need, You’re everything” - cries out to her Heavenly Father … and I weep. (I’m not talking about a few tears rolling down my cheeks; I’m talking about what my wife calls “the ugly cry” - you know, when your face crinkles up, your nose spills snot, and you can’t catch your breath - beautiful picture, I know).
Then I catch a few videos about America. One is a comment that President Obama made in Turkey last month stating the we do not consider ourselves a “Christian” nation. That clip is followed up by a reading of the introduction of a book entitled “Letter to a Christian Nation” by rationalist Sam Harris.
For the first hour of my morning I’m inspired. For the second hour I’m uneasy and frustrated.
Then all the words come rushing to me at the same time …
“We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation” … “You’re all I want, You’re all I need, You’re everything” “In Letter to a Christian Nation I’ve set out to demolish the intellectual and moral pretentions of Christianity” … “whatever happens, whatever you see, whatever your eyes tell you has become of me, this is not the end, I am making all things new again …”
Do you remember when Jesus grieved over Jerusalem? He looked over the city and said, “O Jerusalem … How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” I wonder if He did the “ugly cry.”
I wonder if He is doing it now.
I wonder if God is looking out over His creation and weeping at how … lost … we are.
I wonder if He is frustrated knowing that He already sent a “rescue party” in the person of His Son.
I wonder if He is disappointed with the Church and the job we are (or aren’t) doing.
I wonder, on a rainy day at Panera Bread, if we are missing the point.
It’s the perfect day for the ugly cry.