Tiny Dart Frog

Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

God is Good

About a week before Lent began I sat in my therapist's office* and said, "I think I am having a spiritual crisis.  God feels so far away."

I proceeded to tell her that the problem was, "Nothing is wrong.  Everything is just...ok.  It's just my faith life..."

We have an interesting relationship when it comes to spirituality.  She responded, "You know this isn't my area of expertise - it's yours.  But maybe the fact that you can even talk about there being a crisis and having hope that it will get better is a manner of 'faith' itself."

She's Jewish....but what a Lutheran response.  Faith is a gift.

The reason I tell you all this is because a week ago, I sat in her office again and wept.  Downright wept over the beauty of worship and over the closeness of God.

I wept for myself and my church.  I wept for the pain and beauty of faith.  I wept for the ways I let Jesus down and perseverance.  I wept for darkness and light.

By now you  may be wondering what happened?

We built carpets.

Let me explain.  

In Guatemala there's a tradition of crafting carpets ['alfombra' is the spanish word used to describe these] from the villages to the main city of Antigua during Lent.  Residents of the villages, families, churches all gather together and lay carpets down on the streets.  The carpets are made specifically to be walked on by processional parades carrying Jesus, Mary, and the cross.  

Now before you get the image in your mind of  them 'rolling out the red carpet,' let me explain that they make these carpets out colored sawdust, and flowers, and vegetables.  Every piece of the carpet is made from some type of organic product.

We gathered flowers which were donate to us by Trader Joe's, someone dyed 40 lbs of sawdust, and we made stencils and frames, and we got down on our knees a made a path for Christ to walk.
Images and designs covered our sanctuary floor.
The beauty of the whole things was overwhelming to me.

I felt as if Jesus would've been honored to walk on the carpets.
I felt as if my hands had been in the exact place where Jesus' feet were to walk.
And I hadn't felt that close to God in a very long time.

And so I wept.
In some ways I didn't want worship to end on Palm Sunday.  I wanted to stay in that place for a very long time.

Now, here's the thing....I started off by saying I felt so far away from God, yet everything was ok.  It was.  There was nothing wrong.  And that was the problem.

I've had these brushes with the Divine before - these moments where I felt so intimately connected with God that nothing could shake my faith.  But, many - maybe all - of my powerful encounters had been during tragic and painful times in my life.

In some ways, I clung so tightly to the idea that God is near to the broken-hearted that I had begun to only see God in pain.

Palm Sunday was just so 'good'.  That's what I kept saying over and over to anyone that would listen - "It was so good."  It was so good to know God in life.

It is distinctly possible, at the age of 38, that this Lent I may have had my first truly deep spiritual encounter with God through something that did not involve pain.  I think that's why I wept.  I think it's why when I start talking about it now, Easter came for me a week early this year.

God is good....not just good, but of goodness.  I think I had forgotten that part someplace along the way. Maybe we sometimes cling to heartache to feel closer to God...or maybe I'm the only who's ever done this, although I doubt it.

God was raised, for me, not from the grave, but from life.  And as theologically heretical as it sounds...I think that it's as true as being raised from the dead.

And I am reminded as I write this that the promise of God is, "It is very good."

*Yes, I see a therapist almost every week.  And I hardly ever talk about it, but I do here today, because for anyone who's ever been ashamed or afraid to find someone to talk to, I want you to know that it's the best thing I ever did for myself and it has been part of the way that Jesus has resurrected me.

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