Further Up, Further In Weblog

Chronicling the Journey of the Homeyers

Upholding our Brothers and Sisters April 12, 2008

Filed under: Devotional — furtherupfurtherin @ 6:48 pm
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In my few months as a Pastor I have learned and experienced just a very little bit about hurting for the sake of others.  The helpless feeling when someone you care about is hurting.  Where there is nothing you or them can really do so you simply sit and hurt/pray/mourn/cry/rage/laugh/reminisce with them. 

I’ve done a lot of that this week for my brothers and sisters.  A friend going through a divorce.  A friend whose mother died quickly and far too early.  A friend whose wife got a bad report from a doctor. 

From my 27 year old, healthy, happy, absurdly blessed vantage point I see small mercies in each situation.  I truly believe I see God in each situation.  But I still hurt for them.  I pray for them.  And I wonder if they feel it.  I wonder not where the prayers go to but what God does with them.  I wonder, in the eternal scale of existence, what those prayers mean.  The divorce is irreversible.  The death of my friend’s mother is permanent.  The health of my friends wife will deteriorate significantly, be it quickly or slowly. 

I remember reading Charles Williams in college.  I remember he said something about how we should not carry our own burdens but our brothers and sister should carry ours for us and we in turn carry theirs.  So we, the body of believers, form an interconnected web, where none of us are called to bear our own burdens of this life, but are completely upheld by those who surround us even as we uphold them. 

I hope (although i do not claim to know for certain) that as my soul aches for these brothers and sisters, as I open myself on their behalf just a bit and the prayers of my heart escape, that in some measure these whom I love are upheld by their God and their hurt is lessened to some minor degree. 


A week’s musings… April 3, 2008

Filed under: Devotional — furtherupfurtherin @ 2:43 pm
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I am not preaching this week.  I say, “week” and not, “Sunday” because the preaching act really consumes the week of the preacher. 

 The week’s freedom has allowed me a bit of time to spend at the Java Bean simply sitting, reading, and visiting with whomever passes by my table. 

I have spent this time diving into Anne Lammott’s Grace Eventually, and in Mary Oliver’s book of poems, Thirst. 

Today I am off to Eagle Pass with a group from Fellowship to look at taking a mission trip there this summer. 

I wanted to leave an excerpt for you from each book I have spent time in this week. 

“When I am Among the Trees”  a Poem by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees/esepcially the willows and the honey locust/equally the beech/the oaks and the pines/they giv off suchhints of gladness/I would almost say that they save me/and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself/in which I have goodness/and discernment/and never hurry through the world/but walk slowly and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves/and call out, “Stay awhile.”/The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,/”and you too have come/into the world to do this,/to go easy,to be filled/ with light, and to shine.

Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott, talking about teaching a young children’s Sunday school class…

“Next, as always, we did Loved and Chosen. 

I sat on the couch and glanced slowly around in a goofy, menacing way, and then said, ‘Is anyone here wearing a blue sweatshirt with Pokemon on it?’  The four-year-old looked down at his chest, astonished to discover that he matched this description – like, What are the odds?  He raised his hand.  “Cme over here to the couch,”  I said.  ‘You are so loved, and so chosen.’  He clutched at himself like a beauty pageantfinalist.  Then I asked if anyone that day was wearing green socks with brown shoes, a Giants cap, and argylee vest?  Each of them turned out to be loved and chosen, which does not happen so often.  Even Neshama – Anyone in red shoes today?- leapt forward toward the couch with relief.” 

As you process from end-week to week-end, may you go easy/be filled with light/and shine and may you know you are loved and are chosen.


Campolo on New Baptist Covenant April 2, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 7:50 pm
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On God’s Politics Blog today, Tony Campolo has written a good post commenting on the New Baptist Covenant meetings that happened in Atlanta.  He talks about both the positives and negatives of the meeting.  They are good thoughts, worthy of reading. 

Here is the link.


April 1, 2008

Filed under: Devotional — furtherupfurtherin @ 10:21 pm

“Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, “Abba, as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts.  What else can I do?  Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven.  His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, “If you will, you can become all flame.”

        – From The Sayings of the Desert Fathers