Monday, February 18, 2019

Tearbitten


News of a dear soul passing to heaven reached me early this morning--the third of such people in recent days and weeks. I spent my waking hours tearbitten.

Tearbitten is my new word. I saw a word from scripture translated as hungerbitten. It doesn't need much definition, does it? Those hunger pangs nibble and bite. That's how tears feel this morning, a cry in response to the heart pangs.

Now I will say that the joyful side of heavenly entrance is very much a reality. And my tears are definitely selfish. I know this. :-) There is a beauty that resonates of a much different nature on that side of the scale.

If my cries could have resurrected someone, I would welcome that! They didn't even rouse my cat. It was all my soul pouring itself out. I'm not sure what I even want to say about that other than I want to write about it, and this is simply a draft at the moment. I may just need to acknowledge the moment while I can.

Something unfinished ... that's the ragged edge to my tears. Not just this morning, but in all three recent situations. For each one, my heart had previously been wanting to reach out--specifically, I wanted to write a letter (or text in one case). Regrets of the undone are the pangs, the piercings, the haunting sharpness.

Why am I so slow to respond? Why do I bow to procrastination? When did it get power in my life? Since when is my piddly day more important than reaching out to another human heart? Why am I timid about it?

Maybe the whys aren't important. Maybe just my recognition and awakening to this awful inversion is what counts.

I took it to the Lord in communion this morning. I judged myself of not following my inner urge to write when I could have shared my heart while a person was alive. (Not that my heart was important! Dear me. No! But that another person's life is important, and for me to take the time to acknowledge that and express my thankfulness for them.)

As I was trying to find words for a new commitment I could make with the Lord's help, I wondered silently why it was even a hint of a problem for me as I had a flashback to the times when letters from me were unfettered--free and lengthy outpourings of my heart. In that moment as if in response, I also recalled many experiences that targeted my words, hurt deeply, and caused me to restrain or second-guess (ultimately silencing) myself.

It answered my why.

As I sat with my communion elements, this time the breaking of the bread took on the significance of breaking that power over me. The body of my Lord broken for this ... for freedom from self-intimidation. After judging myself, I asked for forgiveness. I forgave those who contributed to the pressure that I responded to and shut myself down. I declared that power broken in my life. All in a gentle atmosphere of humility--acknowledging that I have no power in myself, but it's all God's doing and I welcome His work in my life to bring change, spark life, and spread His love.

I'm seeing such value (and challenge) in connection. We sure do need one another.

I want to look back and say that today is the day I leveled-up in life when it came to other people. It's another chip in the hermit-wishes (my mind gravitates toward being a hermit)! But most importantly, it's another day to step into the world bravely and see the hearts around me. It's another day to pick up my pen, put it to beautiful paper, and celebrate someone's life.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The 4 a.m. Lord's Supper

A recent article (future to the rest of the world, as it will be published in June) was the subject of discussion yesterday. Even though the suggestion had been submitted by the editor many times, when it came to her desk as an article, it was sobering.

We were discussing the impact. The focus was a passage in First Corinthians 11:23-32 about the Lord's Supper. The sobering part has to do with judging ourselves and discerning the Lord's body. "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [are dead]," (vv. 29-30).

Verse 31 swoops in with a breath of fresh air: "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." I do believe I prefer to judge myself rather than to be chastened of the Lord! But even in that, He does it that we should not be condemned with the world. He is a beautiful, loving Savior.

In light of that, she shared some experiences and things she had witnessed. It inspired me. I had a plan. My intention was to come home after church, sit down to communion, and judge myself! I wanted to hit that cause of sickness and weakness, and eradicate it! I didn't. I ate a bunch of chicken and went to bed!

But I woke at 3 a.m. with the Lord's Supper on my mind. Our conversation yesterday brought up Smith Wigglesworth's practice of observing communion daily. I decided to do a bit of research. I came across this quote in an article on cfaith.com called Building a Wall Between You and Sin:
"The real change in Smith Wigglesworth did not come until he started getting up every day at 4 a.m. to take Communion.

"Like clockwork, every day he would begin the day remembering his covenant with Almighty God by taking the bread and the cup. Every day, he lived under the influence of that covenant. And every day, he became more and more bold - until, finally, he became one of the boldest men of God in history."
I looked at the time. I had 20 minutes until 4 a.m. I may as well launch this effort at 4 a.m. like Smith Wigglesworth! I gathered crackers, juice, and my Bible. I looked up scriptures and wrote them down on a card for future reference. But I spent my time in First Corinthians 11:23-32.

I got quiet. I asked the Lord to show me where and how to judge myself. When any specific situation came to mind, I apologized and asked for forgiveness. I repented for thinking low thoughts and asked Him to help me see things His way.

Then I thought about the setting in the scripture. Jesus, about to be betrayed, spent His last meal with the disciples and made a covenant. Knowing what was to come. Knowing His body would be broken. Knowing His blood was to be poured out. The blood of the new testament, the new covenant, His own "last will and testament" so to speak (but He would live again to oversee it). Wow.

So I spoke the words softly to myself before each element: "Take, eat: this is My body which is broken for you ..." I broke the cracker, and as I placed it in my mouth, tears came. "This cup is the new testament in my blood ..." The tears continued.

I don't know why I cry exactly. It seems like any time I am drawn out to God and express it somehow, tears are usually part of it. But in this moment, I don't even have the words as I reflect. It was simply a very personal time with Jesus . . . He and I connecting over covenant.

This will become part of my life, my dedication to Him. I will do this in remembrance of Him. I just don't know that I can consistently do it at 4 a.m. every day!