Friday, August 1, 2008

praying for other churches

a little backstory: 4 years ago i was a finalist to be pastor of a church in michigan. [pipe down with the boo-hiss you ohio freaks!] anyhow, i exited the process when i was a finalist with one other person. But i have prayed for this church for 4 years and finally visited it 2 weeks ago. Anyways, I am friends with a person on staff and we have been e-mailing since my visit. This is from an e-mail to her and from my journal. it is about sitting in the pastors office when i visited there...and...i suppose it is about how weird my prayer life is, and the fact that you pay me to write things like this to encourage other pastors, churches, etc that you have no reference point for. I thought in light of 1-service this last weekend...this might be interesting for you to read. The former pastor's name was Ron.

A journal entry: about being in the room for the pastoral team.

“I was in that room a long time ago, even though I have never been there. Walking in was like walking into a familiar place, but there was a definition to it that I hadn’t experienced before. I saw the shelves that had held Ron’s books, now held other ones, and might have held mine. The desks were messy and the OCD part of my brain cringed a little and wanted to tidy things up. Even the colors were what I expected, right down to the lights. But what was really shocking to me was what was unseen. The ceiling was dripping with ideas and plans for the church and kingdom. Like stalactites they jutted down and some were Ron’s, Dave’s, Randy’s, John’s…even mine. Some had fallen to the floor, some were still dripping and growing, and some were cracked and about to fall. And the carpet was full of salt-stains nobody will ever see. All those prayers, the rushing gushing torrent of dreams, frustrations, pain, abandonment, whiplash, and exhaustion. There was even some knee-grooves in the carpet pattern, like the smooth grooves in the wood of the old prayer shanties of the pietists…worn down by knees dug into ground raising voices to that great throne which thunders over us. And the walls…the walls that have seen things and been imprinted by them in ways nobody will fathom. The day things were first moved in; the day of the resignation letter; the long hollow wait; the new team; the anguish of cancer; wanting to leave…called to stay… But there are windows here too, even if nobody can see them. Windows that gush forth new days…over and over again. Glints of sunlight that stream in from heaven; tides that wash down from the ocean of God; and snow and rain which are Jesus own tears of intercession. And Jesus visits this room a lot. I can smell him there…thick…like gardenia’s from the neighbors garden. His hands touch the books, and his finger linger over the desks…bottles of wine…and more. He comes in like a janitor, late at night. He fixes some things, replaces light bulbs, and carefully pulls each tear from the carpet with an eyedropper and saves them in an urn. He touches the walls and they repeat all the prayers of the day both the ones aloud and the silent deeper..groaning ones. He falls to his own knees and his shadow touches everything in the room, leaving some weird residue…mist…anointing holy mist that will stay stuck to everything…subtly…for another day. And he posts angels around the room…over it, in it, sitting on the cables that run to the computers…strange creatures full of light and mystery that keep those other strange dark brothers from coming in with their temptations and torture devices. Finally Jesus says something and his breath like rolling waters fills the room and drowns it in his will. It dries up quickly, but oddly, is still there. As he leaves the room seems somehow like an aquarium more than an office. A place of cool, deep-dark, mysterious and foreign waters. A world within our world that we don’t understand. But by far the weirdest thing to me is walking around this room and seeing my own graffiti plastered on the walls. 4 years of intercession, like layers of ethereal wallpaper strangely asking things…protecting things…nurturing things…carrying things…long after Jesus made it clear I couldn’t go. In the weirdness of my life I have no category for this. I pray for all sorts of odd things and people…but late at night when I call out to the kingdom, my Google earth voice still often hovers and breaks-and-enters this place to sit in the ruins…and…to see the new Jerusalem Jesus is building. The old temple is gone…the new temple rises up from pieces of it…and who’s to say which one will be filled with the most glory? Ron’s dream is shattered…the new dream of the new team is slowly sputtering forward…and Jesus seems fine with all this. As if he were cleaning up one dream he had, and starting to build the next one…it seemed seasonal more than tragic. Natural more than nightmarish. But this place will remain an odd hermitage of prayer for me it seems…and when John and Dave walk into this room it will always be far more crowded than they suspect. Jesus, angels, my prayers, the prayers of all the people in the church…the aquarium of prayer and spiritual reality is simply teeming with life in this place. It may not be “morph” but it may be…becoming an Atlantis for Christ.

And so Jesus I would ask that they simply know that it is your shadow that fills this place…not Ron’s. That they are far…far…far from being alone in their choking thoughts, swirling thoughts… That healing words are splattered all over this place night by night, and that the Spirit is the very water of saturation that they swim in while in this room. May this room become truly creepy and haunting in that it is unlike other places….sacred space…and stargates into realms that imagination can not define or explain. May the dust of former dreams be blown out the windows unseen and may the seeds and sunshine of the new creation flow and grow in this place. And let a great hush of wonder and majesty fill this place with your two comforting hands of peace and rest. Wipe away tears; slap people awake; give them blueprints to work on…

And I’ll be back, to write my graffiti prayers here from time to time. And if you listen really, really hard you will hear my tears hit the carpet as well as your own…and my laughter echoing in the canyons of candles in the sanctuary.”

I wish I could sneak in and drink the wine!

Stranger than fiction, is the spiritual friction of my existence



blogger templates | Make Money Online