Monday, October 24, 2011

great oaks

Chaos has been reigning around this place lately.  So much so that one day last week I reached a breaking point and told all of the kids to stop what they were doing and meet me in the living room.  Once everyone was seated, I began explaining that we simply had to get to the bottom of what was causing so much bickering and whining and yelling and anxiety in our home.  Through tears (and quite honestly - slight hyperventilation) I explained to 3 wide eyed, and probably slightly terrified, children that our family was in NO way honoring God through the ways we were treating and interacting with each other.  In the midst of my monologue about how something had to change and how I couldn't understand what had gotten into us, a crushing reality rushed over me like a suffocating wave.  There was definitely a reason that we felt so far from God and his ways as a family.  I suddenly understood all too well.  It was because we actually were so far from God and his ways as a family.  Hello!  Slowly, but surely,  we had unintentionally let birthdays and math and picking paint colors and learning to read and crafts and clothes and just about everything else push it's way in front of God in our lives.  We had all but stopped communicating with God as a family.  I couldn't remember the last time we sat down to read scripture together.  Is it any wonder that the fruit falling from our family tree was just plain rotten?

So, this morning I decided we would begin our day in a more meaningful way than what had become the usual "hurry and up and get started on your math" way.  I knew I wanted to paint fall trees with our handprints and fingerprints today, so I considered what scripture we could talk about before beginning that activity.

Immediately, Isaiah 61 came to mind.  So we gathered around the table and feasted on this truth -

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
      for the L
ord has anointed me
      to bring good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
      and to proclaim that captives will be released
      and prisoners will be freed.

 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
      that the time of the L
ord’s favor has come,
      and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
 To all who mourn in Israel,
      he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
   a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
      festive praise instead of despair.
   In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
      that the L
ord has planted for his own glory.

We sat at the table talking about who the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, and the prisoners were and what it meant to mourn.  We talked about the fact that when we bring good news to the poor and when we comfort the brokenhearted and when we release the captives and free the prisoners..... those people will become like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.  So when we do these things, we are PLANTING GLORY for our God.

Then we watched this: (I know.  It's almost 9 minutes long.  Please, if nothing else, give them 9 minutes.  If nothing else, at least give them the time it takes to really see what their reality is.)

Sophia stood at my side as we watched. As the camera focused in on that one precious, chocolate colored little girl with a red scarf covering her head she said with a concerned look on her face, "Mommy, is she a captive?"  And all I could choke out was, "Yes baby, she is."  The camera then turned to a lady who looked to be about 50, but who knows?  She could've been much younger with a very tired body and a very old soul.  When Sophia saw her she said, "Mommy, is she a captive?"  "Yes baby, she's a captive too.  She's a captive to her circumstances."  Noah said in surprise, "So the famine is still going on?  When is it gonna end?"  I answered him honestly, "I don't know."

Here's what I do know.  I know that when we bring good news to the poor and comfort the brokenhearted and release the captives and free the prisoners.....  we are being used by the Creator of the Universe to help our brothers and sisters trade their ashes for beauty, their mourning for blessing, their despair for praise, and most importantly..... we are planting glory for GOD!

  There are 500,000 people in this camp alone.  500,000 hungry, poor, homeless, brokenhearted, mourning captives.  Prisoners to their circumstances.   The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon us!  We've been anointed to do the very thing that Isaiah was anointed to do for Israel.  But what are we planting?  Chaos?  Education?  Success?  Entertainment?  Great Outfits?  Impressive Birthday Parties?  Fabulous Houses?  Athletic Excellence?

We've GOT to figure out how to start planting righteousness, Great Oaks, glory for God by bringing good news to the poor and comforting the brokenhearted. And for the love of God (literally), we've got to release the mourning captives wearing red scarves who are sitting in the dirt and sleeping in tents with only enough food and water to survive today.  We've just got to.  Great Oaks can be planted anywhere, I know.  And they should be planted everywhere christians are present.  

I just can't help but feel like the Horn of Africa is a field ripe for planting.  

1 comment:

Shelby Grace said...

wow, mrs. jenny. this is amazing!