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Endurance
  • Ferguson Isn't About You. It's About Us.

    If you've never read "Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King Jr." or "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison then now is a great time. One is a biogroaphy and the other, fiction. These books informed me of something I didn't quite understand before reading them, and excuse me for being so obvious but...I will never understand what it means to be African-American.

    What I am not saying is that these are somehow replacement texts for the experience of being black in America. No I'm not saying that nor am I suggesting that these books made me understand in a moment something that is impossible for me to grasp. I'm saying these books unlocked something in me. They gave me light to see and an awareness of an ugliness I did not know was there. 

    There's something bigger going on in the aftermath of Ferguson than a single verdict. We have brothers and sisters who are hurting. This comes from a place some of us cannot comprehend. Be patient with one another. If you cannot bear to endure another minute of this process of restoration and wholeness in our land, remember - it's not about you. It is about us.

    It's times like these that we need the imagination of a gifted guide to unlock our perspective to see from the other's vantage point. This is what art does. It shows you life from the mind of another. It requires that you consider for yourself that what you are looking at is valuable because the one who made it took time to finish it.

    "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28 (NIV)

    Contrary to what you may think Jesus didn't erase lines. He connected the dots. He made us whole. In Christ we find diversity - and it is complimentary. Actually, it's irreplaceable. Whether we've realized it or not we are of the same ilk. You and me, we have been given the same name - it is our humanity.

    Creation groans inwardly for the revealing of the children of God. It takes no expert to see the frustration. It's within reach yet waits for our embrace. The apostle Paul tells in Romans 8 that there is palpable "hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God." 

    We must slow down and make room for us.

    by Scott Crowder

    A photo I took of my own chidren playing near the James River.

  • The Present of Presence

    "Ah, little prince, dear little prince! I love to hear that laughter!"

    "That is my present. Just that. It will be as it was when we drank the water..."

    "What are you trying to say?"

    "All men have the stars," he answered, "but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems. For my businessman they were wealth. But all these stars are silent. You - you alone - will have the stars as no one else has them - "

    "What are you trying to say?"

    "In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky a night...You - only you - will have the stars that can laugh!"

    And he laughed again.

    "And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure... And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!" And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabyy trick that I have played on you..."

    - excerpt from "The Little Prince" written & illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupery - buy here

    Currency is valuable because of what it connects to. The paper in your wallet or even the digital printout of your bank statement is a representation of what is valuable. The nature of currency is connection. It is transmission. There is acceptance that must take place. There is circulation. In the act of giving one thing and receiving another there is an exchange. And it’s in this exchange we find out that we are valuable.

    Our lives have been noted as something holding worth.

    We know this is true because Jesus came to earth. In his life and death he ascribed value to us. In Jesus’ coming He gave us life. It was abundantly beyond what we thought was true.

    God’s assessment for our value can be seen in His ultimate sacrifice at the cross. He died.

    in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself... (2 Corinthians 5:19, ESV)

    For God so loved the world that He gave... (John 3:16a, ESV)

    Not only do we see the value of our lives in Christ’s death. It is revealed in His life.

    We find it in the manger.

    We find it in Mary's womb.

    We find it in thirty years of insignificance.

    We find it his attendance at a wedding.

    We find it at meals with outcasts and swindlers.

    We find it in the way he treated women and children.

    We find it in a shared cup.

    We find it in forgiveness.

    We find it in eternal life.

    We find it in his total surrender to be like us and with us.

    The God of the Universe, Maker of Heaven and Earth put on limitation so that we might know Him. It was John the beloved of Jesus who said that ‘no one had ever seen God’ (John 1:18). Others had seen something of God, but before Jesus, John tells us, he truly was never seen for who he was.

    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, ESV)

    What we find in the Incarnation is that because of our great value God wanted to close the gap.

    It wasn't okay that the things we thought were not His own thoughts. It wasn't His intention for His ways to be so far above our ways that in comparison it was as high as the Heavens are above the earth. So He made the first move. He drew near to us.

    The prophet Isaiah records this beautiful picture.

    “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:10-11, ESV)

    The Word came down from heaven and made an everlasting deposit. What was given has accomplished the purpose for which it was sent. The deposit of Christ in you gives value to your valley. It makes the mountaintop more than a great view. 

    Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

    - Scott Crowder

    Image is 'The tree of life' (Cave painting found in Borneo, Indonesia)