Losing Innocence

Listen while you read: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wvcG0nuR-c

This was an absolutely beautiful weekend full of sunshine, reverie, and conviction. I woke up early yesterday to help out with Bethany’s service project of cleaning up the church simply because God told me I needed to meet people and establish myself in a church before graduation. I figure He knows what He’s talking about considering the amount of community I find in SPU is definitely going to shift once my post-grad life starts, and perhaps even when I officially move out of the dorms. Before leaving I ate my extremely old cereal (I’ve had it for over a year now) and then started up Aurora. Turns out the entrance from Queen Anne was blocked, so I trucked my way through Dexter only to find that the alternative entrance was obstructed as well. A little disheartened I made my way through Fremont, took a few terribly wrong turns, and ended up far to the east of I-5. What the crap? I pride myself of knowing Seattle and the surrounding areas quite well, so this was fairly ridiculous and unfortunate considering I was now 15 minutes late to an event where I’m trying to make a good impression. I finally made it to the church, later than ever, but saw that nobody was around, so I kept driving until I came to the next stop light. As absurd as this may seem for some of you, I was in heavy contemplation of leaving, mostly because I let apathy and lack of drive get the best of me at times. Unless I have a deadline and a vision for what is going to come out of the tasks I do, I simply just shrug things off if they seem of little importance, and sadly, this duty fell under that category. However, I recalled the same voice that spoke to me when I was trying to figure out if I was really going to change dorms to take the position as SMC of 6th Hill last year, which sounds a lot like this, “If you can’t perform this basic command I’m giving you, how am I to trust you in leading anything greater in the future?” I don’t mean for this demean any other forms of work that may seem “lesser” from some perspectives, but I’m trying to convey the fact that if I can’t say yes to God in weeding the church for a couple hours, what’s going to happen if He ever asks me to plunge my life into something that lasts for a couple of years? If I can’t say yes to God in switching from Emerson to Hill for a year, should I honestly expect myself to respond to anything more demanding and consuming in the years ahead? Therefore, I turned around and parked my car.

Turns out the first person I come across is none other than Karin Bretz, the coolest girl ever! We talk for a little bit, and then the guy running the show walks by, tells me where work needs to be done, and I’m off into a world of spiky plants with nothing but my bare hands. I quickly got to work, put to use the years worth of skill my parents had me accomplish as a child with a big backyard, and came out with dirty, bloody fingers that any loving God would be proud of. As I strolled around from each garden patch I slowly met one person after another, all of which were far kinder than the average person, and oddly enough, I began to feel like an exceptionally welcomed visitor to a church that I’d never once attended. Thank you, oh love of Christ. It was awesome chatting with people about how long they’ve been at Bethany, what they did for a living, and what Seattle’s been like for them. One of the guys I met was employed by the church to fix whatever issues they had around the building whether it be broken doors or irrigation pipes. What’s funny is that he told me he didn’t know how to do any of these things upon coming to the church, and it’s mostly a day by day case of trial and error in trying to make things pan out all right. What better way to perfect these skills than in a grace filled community such as a church! He was a stud and reminded me a lot of my cousin’s husband who used to be a gangbanger in northern California.

We finished early and with the day being absolutely gorgeous, I changed out of my clothes, slipped on running wear, and ran around Greenlake, the most splendiferous (I found this word in a Psalm the other day and decided to make it my own) lake in the world! I’d never run in such a populated place before, so this was vastly different, but more than entertaining as I could run, listen to music, and people watch all at once. I suppose this could also classify as the first time I’ve ever multitasked at anything. Oh joy. The worst part was that I was running and thought I saw a pinecone in the middle of the trail, so I stepped on it… but it wasn’t a pinecone. This didn’t dampen my mood one bit, though, as I trekked on all the while dreaming about how sweet it would be to not only win a 5k, but win it in a world record time. So cool…

The rest of the day carried on marvelously as it ended with Discovery Park and writing poetry about John the Baptist and his ministry before Jesus. I’d just read the first couple chapters of John and became fascinated once again with how much of a BA John the Baptist was.

“There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.” – John 1:6-7

Just a thought, but I’m pretty sure John’s actions before Christ’s coming shouldn’t end after his beheading; they should instead instill a paradigm so great that we cannot help but respond as faithful, relentless forerunner’s for Christ’s return.

Today commenced with such brilliance and rarity as it turns out I never woke up once during the night, and got a solid seven hours of sleep, only to wake up at the perfect, ideal time without an alarm clock. After eating some more of that archaic cereal I headed up to Lynnwood because Nick was preaching his “We’re all in this together” sermon which consisted of John 17 and bulks of 1 John. He spoke splendidly, as usual, and it’s awesome seeing him interact with the middle schoolers because he’s more mature in dozens of ways in comparison to them, but far more nerdy in others. He’ll mention the Jonas Brothers or High School Musical only to receive multiple groans from some of his boys in the crowd. We both know they secretly love all these quirks though… just like me.

I rushed home afterwards because my friend, Josh, managed to get some free tickets to the Sounders game and sporadically invited me the night prior. I paid a ghastly amount for parking, but told myself it was worth it for a free ticket and being able to attend a professional sports game! I’ve seen the Mariners multiple times, but baseball is nothing compared to football and soccer. I grew up with season tickets to the Boise State Broncos, but for the past couple years of having to work on weekends or living in Seattle, I’ve rarely had the chance to immerse myself amongst avid, crazy fans who want nothing more than a good game, beer, and noise. It was lovely. Besides the company of Josh and Yikhwan, the flittering confetti coming from the rafters, Newby leading the national anthem, and the milk duds in my pocket, I managed to win a free haircut. Now, this wouldn’t sound nearly as impressive if it weren’t for this – Adam and I had planned on getting a haircut today, but I bailed because of this game; however, it turns out that if the Sounders score three goals then your ticket automatically turns into a free haircut pass to some crappy place in Seattle. Fortunately enough, they scored three goals today, meaning my time and effort watching a delightful game and surrounding myself with loveable heathens was not only a grand ol’ time, but was a grand ol’ time + one free haircut! Yes, Sarah, you are right; I do lead a charmed life.

Afterwards, Nick, my friends Blake and Phil, and I went to Bethany and I heard one of the best sermons I’ve listened in a long time. Right now the church is going through the minor prophets, and Habakkuk was the man of the day. I think it was early my freshman year when I stumbled upon this book of the OT and it blew my mind that there was a book of the Bible I’d never heard of (or at least couldn’t recall). Little did I know that some of the prophets surrounding this one were others I’d never heard or paid attention to either.

Habakkuk is a book written over the course of 20-30 years as he references the names of other prophets during his time, and while this is written the northern kingdom, Israel, had just been taken over by the Assyrians and he knew that the southern kingdom, Judah, was soon to come next. Habakkuk was the voice of the prophets and people asking God, “Why? Why does evil triumph over the righteous?”

“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You cannot look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor on those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?” – Habakkuk 1:13

God then responds with piercing, convicting words in saying, “No, the evil are not oppressing the righteous? Don’t you see? The evil are oppressing the evil!” God levels out His chosen people with the unchosen in saying that His people are no better, not in His eyes. What have they done to show that they are any more righteous than those conquering them? Does not all sin lead to death? This moral high ground that you see is naught but a creation of your own. He shall break the pedestal you have created for yourself. And you will be humbled.

“Then the LORD answered me and said, ‘Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets that the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay’… ‘You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor. Now you yourself drink and expose your own nakedness. The cup in the LORD’s right hand will come around you, and utter disgrace will come upon your glory.’ ” – Habakkuk 2:3, 16

Step down from your throne of pride and self-righteousness because on it you are merely buying oblivion. You, the “supposed righteous”, are no better. Recognize your sin and repent, just as John the Baptist and Jesus Christ have commanded.

Habakkuk then responds, recognizing his own inadequacy and the position of his kingdom, “I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones and in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us… Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” – Habakkuk 3:16, 18

But do not despair! Accept your fate and rejoice in your salvation! Do not let pain and suffering become pain and suffering in and of itself – learn and observe, for God has plans. He is faithful. Always.

Well, it’s a new week now. I get Thursday off because Max’s family is leaving early for the 4th of July. I also start my internship either Monday night or Wednesday night, so please be praying for that. Lastly, please pray for my friend, Bill. I can’t help but think about 1 John 1:3-4 when I talk with him. If he ever knows Jesus I’ll be the happiest guy in the world. Oh, it’d be so great!

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~ by Chris Kyle on June 29, 2009.

2 Responses to “Losing Innocence”

  1. <3!

    You forgot to mention Frodo, Sam, Gandalf and the crew! I'll let it slide this time though… Also… you called Ironman by the wrong name. Dishonor!

    I ❤ your <3!

  2. I love how you mentioned that you went to the game with me and Yikhwan and then followed that up by saying you were “surrounded by heathens” 🙂 So true. Aren’t we all holy heathens-continually setting aside the God of the Universe for the minuscule desires of our hearts? You hit the nail on the head.

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