Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Twilight's Last Gleaming: By Land

This is a hopeful time for our nation. Are you able to see it? There is still good in this land. The time has gone where we get to be silent. The light of the things that unite us far eclipses those mere shadows that seek to divide. The certain coming darkness of the evening only grants permission that we can now shine light into dark places. The things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable must now direct our thoughts and light our path. 

This is an intentional time now, where our family is pressing pause on the noise of life, and taking the time to see with open eyes the beauty of this nation. To recognize those who live in it and hold our hearts, and remembering again why it is essential to pledge life, liberty, and sacred honor. We'll travel by land, by sea, and by air to celebrate the shared hope of days to come for those who turn their hearts to God.

This is our first stop by land of Brown County, Indiana with the Harbron Family: Brendon, Jennifer, Zachary, Jacob, and Kaitlyn, October 7-9, 2016.

"God, we thank you for life-long friends, the kind that aren't limited by the distance of miles or the expanse of time. Friends that never have to say goodbye or end the conversation. Friends that we can walk with as we each step into seasons of change throughout life."

This was our parting prayer as we drove away from our two night stay at their cabin, giving thanks to God for this moment of rest and retreat.

Sometimes it is good to be reminded that life should have simple rules. Things to keep us grounded like, breathe, laugh, and have campfires. Sometimes it's just an honest conversation and a good burger that calms the soul. This time in the woods of Indiana has reminded me of the days I spent in the forests of southwestern Ohio as a boy, and somehow grounds my 42-year-old self in a way that is beyond the noise of current social events. 

Our identity is more than the hurricane force of political uncertainties or the rising passions of social unrest. Who we are is so much deeper. We are creatures of the creator who created us to create. Our words are meant to give life. We are meant to live together and together we are made to know the One who made all things. The changing leaves and moon-filled sky reminded me that the world is larger than the small slice that I can see.

God spoke everything into being as the words of creation exploded from His mouth. Sometimes I forget the power of an explosion that combines the perfect elements to suddenly and violently produce a new something that changes everything. Firing a Civil War era .50 caliber black-powder rifle is a good way to feel the raw power and pressure of creation. 

With so much negativity in our news, and competing narratives that assault our hearing, it is vitally important that you and I remember that there is nothing more explosive than the words that we fire from our mouths. We are created in God's image. Our words are meant to build up, to encourage others, to provide hope... to create. 

You may not like the choices you have in life. But so many of the situations we face are the result of our unwillingness to risk making a difference. We must be about speaking creative words that announce to the world that the fire in us is life changing. Our choices make a difference because we choose to think on the things of God.

Our families walked along a lake with sunlight dancing on the dust kicked up by our feet and I reflected that while I no long have control over the steps are behind me, the trail is open wide ahead of me, and I am obligated to not only choose a right path, but to take that path actively. Like two brothers in a good friendship, as citizens of this great nation, we have a duty to hold one another accountable, to engage, pray for, and influence our leaders.

While the twilight gleams, cast your eyes on the things that matter. I can still see the promise of the flag that was raised in the rising light of the morning. I feel the pulse of the creator in my veins and I have hope that the sun will rise again. I have great joy that we have within us the light that is needed to shine into the darkness. 

Scripture References: Phil 4:8 (think on these things); Gn 1:1-2 (let there be light).