Kneel part 1

I don’t always kneel when I worship (whether it’s in the great outdoors, in my home, or in a church), but I did that day. In “Present Concerns,” Lewis says, “The man who cannot conceive a joyful and loyal obedience on the one hand, nor an unembarrassed and noble acceptance of that obedience on the other, the man who has never even wanted to kneel or to bow, is a prosaic barbarian.”

He goes on to warn against a “mind which hates all superiority.”

Superiority. Power. When we have power, we humans don’t handle it well. We often abuse it. We tend to run over each other when we have power and because of that, we can develop that “mind which hates all superiority.”

We can’t be required to kneel or bow before other humans with unquestioning obedience. Lewis says that it is “wicked folly” to require kneeling, bowing, obedience “on a legal or external plane.” That is, it would be stupid to legally require external obedience.

So, while we live in a legal equality with our fellow humans, CS says that “the whole hierarchical dance and harmony of our deep and joyously-accepted spiritual inequalities should be alive.”

Spiritual inequalities? Yes. There is an undeniable inequality between me and the God of the universe. Even Christ, who came to earth as a human, just like us, is still (in so many and all the ways) worthy of me bowing a knee.

That truth can be deeply and joyfully accepted by a heart that does not hate the “superiority” of the creator of the universe.

I am brought to my literal and figurative knees before one who is mightier, more beautiful, more pure, more majestic, more just, more powerful, and more loving than myself. And before a being so perfect and loving, this “inferiority” or “inequality” is a good place to be.

Yet, with so much human abuse of power and superiority, we recoil at the idea of obedience, and, as Lewis says, hate all superiority — including God’s. He warns us against it.

Instead, let us open our minds and hearts to the possibility of power and superiority done differently than we’ve ever seen them done. Let us slowly enter into “the whole hierarchical dance and harmony of our deep and joyously accepted, spiritual inequalities.”


Unexpected joy

“One joy was expected and another is given.” – The Space Trilogy (CS Lewis)

So busy wanting, expecting, hoping for the same type of happiness, fullness, and joy as before. Eyes peeled for the same joy as last time, pining, in a way, for the past. It makes sense. We want an encore of what was so great.

Yet I might be missing the new brand of joy that’s flying at me, the girl without eyes to see it because she was expecting something else.

“One joy was expected and another is given.”

It will look a bit different from the last joyful thing… but then again, I am also different. So is my world.

My Lord, however, is the same — beautifully unchanging — but it’s true that I see new facets of Him each year that I grow. He lets me in (little by little) on more of the mystery and wonder.

I don’t have the ability to imagine up all the possible joys in life. I’m working with a finite, pea-brain that relies much on memories and a bit on imagination. I expect one type of joy. Another type is given. The type I didn’t (couldn’t?) imagine or expect.

There’s joy abounding if I’m ready and open for the new joys, not the old ones; not the ones I expected.

Unexpected joys. Count on them. Expect the unexpected and keep those eyes peeled.


Wonder. A sense of amazement; that for one second everything is as it should be; a sense that maybe this life really is full of magic. Or at least it’s meant to be full of magic.

Things are meant to be a certain way, and we know it. We know it when things are wrong and feel the magic when things are right. The sparkle seeps through the cracks of this broken world and we get teasing tastes of glory, of rightness, of shalom. Encore! We want more.

I long for all to be right — in the world, in my heart, in friends and family’s lives, in our bodies. These are not how they were meant to be. And I long for it to be made right.

Wonder increases longing.

But while I long and wait for Jesus to make all things as they should be, I also rejoice that He’s already come — into this cracked and glittering world and into my very heart. I have Him. I long for Him to come yet rejoice that He is, in part, already here.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Every person a world

“How many who love never come nearer than to behold each other as in a mirror; seem to know and yet never know the inward life; never enter the other soul; and part at last, with but the vaguest notion of the universe on the borders of which they have been hovering for years?” -George MacDonald, Phantastes

Do we love in that way? It seems that we know the other person. But we haven’t even glimpsed the inner life, the soul, the universe that is the other person.

As the Spanish saying goes, “each person is a world.” Better yet, a universe with their own depths, story, and constellations.

Each person is an unrepeatable miracle and mystery – never again to be repeated in the history of the humanity. And we unknowingly walk on the edge of that human universe, loving (or leaving) without the slightest idea of the depths and beauty of the body-soul we have in front of us.

“Love that reaches the unrepeatable mystery of the other person is a love that’s truly that: unrepeatable, stable, sure. It’s an inexhaustible treasure that can’t possibly be found elsewhere. In this case, love’s inherent adventurousness finds its delight not in wandering from person to person, but from wandering ever more deeply into the heart of the one and only beloved.” – Christopher West, Fill These Hearts

The forever i

The forever I.

Okay, forever is a long time. Let’s say “the long-lasting I.” The I that has felt like quite a while.

It’s always just I.

“I’ll be there.”

“I’m moving.”

“I can’t wait!”

“I’m having a hard year.”

It’s “I” and there are days that the “I” aches for “we.” The world worships the individuality and freedom of I, yet we have hearts that yearn for togetherness and belonging.

To be part of someone else.

To be accounted for.

To be counted on.

To be a team.

To be a “we” that doesn’t swallow up the “I” but protects it, makes it flourish, nourishes it, and makes it shine.

“We’ll be there.”

“We’re moving.”

“We can’t wait!”

“We’re having a hard year.”

The “we” isn’t always a piece of cake. In fact, we is objectively and practically harder than “I” because it means becoming one with another imperfect human, taking them into account always.

But that’s not the point right now.

The point is that sometimes “I” can get lonely, that there’s loneliness intertwined with the joy of life and that’s okay.

the fringes of His ways

It’s a faint whisper and the fringe of Creation.

“He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps up the waters in His clouds, And the cloud does not burst under them. He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness.

Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?”
‭‭(Job‬ ‭26)

These are only the edges of Creation, yet we still stand amazed. We hear only a whisper of the Lord’s greatness, yet we still marvel. What’s the rest of it like?

It is good to realize how much we don’t know. It is good to be amazed by the 1% of things that we see and even more amazed by the 99% of things that we don’t know about.


I’m not sure about other runners, but I’ve thought about her when I head out. I imagine that the whole thing was a frightening reminder for those who wake up at 4:30am to run. Unsettling to all of us.

What happened is horrifying.

It should never have happened. It is unacceptable.

We go on strike in our hearts, refusing to let this be the reality, refusing to live in fear or inhabit a society in which we have reason to fear for our lives when we run. We fight for something better.

We desire a world where we run freely without fear, there are no tears, and the lamb rests with the lion. No fear. No abuse. No violence. No heartache. This is the kind of world we want and we know is right. We feel it in our bones. The dream is a world in which no harm is intended and no harm is carried out.

This longing hits the mark. It is not unfounded. It is correct.

We know that evil must be cast out. We want it gone — forever. We work towards that world diligently and unceasingly, because we know it is right.

But at the same time we are not deceived. We acknowledge that the sad, current reality cannot be changed by wishing on a star. We are fully aware that we hurt one another and are hurt by one another.

The effort for change is worthwhile and we simultaneously acknowledge that what we long for and work for will not be found in its fullness right now.

We long for and wait eagerly for the day that it is.

The Lord hates “hands that shed innocent blood” and “hearts that create evil schemes” (Proverbs 16). Good. I want a God who hates these things.

As Scott Sauls says, “ if there is no judgment, then there’s no hope for a slave, rape, victim, a child, who has been abused, or bullied, or people who have been slandered or robbed, or had their dignity stolen. We need a God who gets angry. We need a God who will protect his kids, who will once and for all remove bullies and perpetrators of evil from his playground.”

I don’t perfectly embody the striking combination of love, patience, and justice but I’m glad that He does.

He also hates haughty eyes and lies (Proverbs 16). We fight the bad in big and small ways, are careful to do away with hate which is, after all, embryonic murder in our hearts. We do everything in our power to give Love to those we cross paths with, and live wisely in a world that’s not as it should be.

The perfect world is the correct target — and we have glimpses of it. Glorious, peaceful, beautiful tastes of perfect harmony, complete joy, and unbridled freedom. The glimpses awaken our longing for it. We use that longing to propel ourselves toward what we know should be and the One who desires it more than us and will make it come to be.

“Eden’s voice rises from a whisper to a song, and it’s easier to see what we were meant for: to love the world as God does, shaping it to reflect what was in the beginning, and, and even greater glory, what will be in the end.” -Andrew Peterson

Hopeful yet realistic. Wise but not bitter.

We are not resigned to or beaten by the current reality because we have hope for long-term justice and change.

Furious indignation

Today is our Gran’s birthday.

And a month and a half ago we walked among tombs of familiar south Louisiana last names. We located our own family names carved into stone.

We went to bury her — their mother, my grandmother — and to cry together. We remembered something that I think she knew well: her life was not ending but instead changing. The change left us sad for us, but rejoicing for her.


I hate it and rage against it. As Nancy Pearcey says, “Death rips apart what God intended to be unified.” Namely body and soul, which were meant to be one.

At the death of Lazarus, Jesus felt some sort of furious indignation (according to the Greek) at the tragedy. What tragedy? I would imagine not only the passing of his friend but also seeing the reality of his creation broken by death.

This was not part of the design. And we feel the pain of it deeply. Death is not to be celebrated.

Yet at the same time, I feel a familiar acceptance of death. It is our lot for this time on earth and we are headed for it, wrinkles and all.

Death is a door, a seed, and — most importantly — death is conquered by Jesus. Literally no match for Jesus Christ. And he is not far removed from our suffering.

He brought his own body back from the dead and he’s bringing us and our bodies and creation along with him.

“The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21)

Death. I hate this thing that we were not designed for. But with Christ, it is not my greatest enemy and somehow it’s okay to embrace our mortality for the time being.

So we grieve, we hug, we cry, we lament the ripping apart. Yet with hope and freedom in Christ who went ahead of us. And, of course, we LIVE joyfully in the here and now!

Covenantal Skies

Who is it that has made a covenantal promise with the sky, marking the faithful rhythms of night and day?

Who pulls and pushes the tide of the sea and sets in motion the waxing and waning of the moon?

Who decreed the orderly laws of nature that govern the coming and going of seasons with unbreakable consistency?

Who has designed the function of organs and written meaning into the smallest cell?

“The Lord Almighty is his name.” (Jeremiah 31:35)

It is he “who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar.” (Jer. 31:35)

He says, “If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth…” (Jer. 33)

He has. We live by the rising and setting of the sun and his covenant with it.

He says, “If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time…” (Jer. 33)

We cannot. We lean our heads back to look at the sky, awed yet powerless.

And so we say, “Draw praises from us here in this cathedral of creation. Beneath this starry dome awaken our adoration. In this place where we are so very small — and yet so greatly loved.” (Doug McKelvey)

We are loved. The covenant-making one has come for us as well.


Yesterday we bid farewell to the body of my grandmother, almost five years to the day that we buried my grandfather. We will miss her so!

South Louisiana makes me think of stringy Spanish moss, sucking on sugar cane in the fields, miserably muggy weather, and, most of all, Gran and Gramps house and all the family memories.

I remember the creak of their front door, the funny brick linoleum floor, the sweet and distinctive smell of their home, and running my fingers along the wooden bars that led into their kitchen. There are countless memories stored up in my brain but also moments that have, over time and without my knowing, created and shaped the person I am today.

Gran spoke kindly, listened well, cooked the best food (but made us Velveeta macaroni and cheese for us cousins), gave thoughtful gifts, let us eat ice cream for breakfast, taught me math, spurred me on to cook and read, played hours of Mancala with me, watched our swim meets, wrangled and loved her kids and grandkids (then great-grandkids!), and loved Jesus Christ.

She aged with grace and was so patient in her suffering, whether it was her declining health, being wheelchair-bound, or having to stay in her room during lockdown.

After moving away to Spain, my contact with her became sparse, but we reconnected during lockdown last year when I found out I could videocall her. We spoke everyday and read a book aloud together. I’m thanking technology and corona for those special, daily phone calls!

At the end of one of my last conversations with her a couple of weeks ago, I said “I love you.” It’s the one thing you want someone to be sure of in those final days. And she said “I know.” ❤️

This week there has been sorrow mixed with rejoicing — sorrow for the hole that her departure leaves in our hearts but rejoicing over the gift that she was to this family and the new life she now has.