I just started leading a live conversation on Monday nights. Here's the one from last night about learning how to love change. Check it out, and don't miss our next conversation LIVE Mondays at 8:30PM (PST) on Facebook.
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In just 5 days, we will hear an inaugural address from the 45th president of the United States of America. Jesus also gave an inaugural address, but just before he did, he encountered Satan in the wilderness. Satan attempted to get Jesus to accomplish his mission with security, popularity, and power. Instead, we see a very different mission outlined in Jesus' address.
My mom likes to tell me a story about a cold November night when her and my dad threw on their tennis shoes, bundled up in their coats and walked four miles. After the walk, they changed into their pajamas and played Yahtzee. They filled up an entire score card that night, crawling into bed well after midnight. The next morning she woke up in labor and I was born just before lunch.
The Israelites had a pattern of “sin, judgement, repentance and rescue.” Over and over again. They wandered away from, they ended up oppressed under a foreign ruler, and then they would repent and God would rescue them, and then they’d fall right back into the same pattern as before.
Last Sunday was supposed to be a day of celebration for our community. We received a piano in memory of a member, and it would have been her 100th birthday. Her entire family came for the celebration, and I had the service all planned. I wrote the sermon early in the week. The cake was ordered. The decorations were hung.
And then two black men were killed by police officers.
And then five police officers were killed.
God isn’t confined to a geographical place. God is the creator of the world. God is everywhere. God is even where you are. And God is pursuing you, wherever you’ve wandered, and drawing you back. God is working to reconcile you. God is moving you towards his plan.
When I walk through my grandma’s front door, I take an inhale and the smell immediately triggers a flood of memories. I see the blocks I played with as a child on the coffee table, my grandpa’s guitar waiting to be played in the corner, and the family table where I've spent nearly every holiday and special occasion for thirty years. I'm conditioned to look for those things.
I'm a female pastor and people often ask how that plays out in our home. Jeff and I do not live into traditional gender roles. I worked hard to earn a master’s degree and pursue a full time career/vocation, while Jeff has made many sacrifices to be the full time caregiver of our four children. Trading and sharing and mixing our gender roles isn’t always easy for other people to understand, nor is it always easy for us to navigate.
We all want to know where we come from. It binds us to a story beyond our lifetime, giving us a feeling of immortality. For the majority of us in the west, the stories we uncover are tales of immigration and migration, tragedy and suffering, hardship and pain. My family tree is littered with holes, but my great-great aunt had the forethought to write out her memories. I read through it year after year to remind me of my roots and to learn the lessons of my people as I embody their legacy.