Forest For The Trees
At times I see the forest while slogging through the trees,
I see the bigger picture I can't see on my knees;
It's not that things are different out there in Giver-land,
It's more I get the picture – then better under-stand.
This morning's an example as I lay on my bed –
Past years of questing journey arrayed within my head;
I came out on an outcrop of rock above the trees –
“I'm part way up a mountain! Such cool refreshing breeze! ”
A journey of discovery which overlapped report;
First draft at least, recording two dozen years of work.
(Report itself is ‘different’, who reads those arid tomes?
Much better done in fiction, enjoyed in people's homes).
“What is the piece we're missing in church renewal stuff?
Why is there so much hassle, creating so much fuss?
How can we better function within this turbulence?
What can we each do different, with better consequence?”
Such questions at the start-up intrigued me, caught my eye;
I tried to work them out but much bigger they than I;
So, taking up my satchel, my walking stick, and cap,
We sallied forth in venture like satisfaction's cat.
I see how steep the incline, this journey through the woods;
Few glimpses of the vista – I little understood
The ups and downs and gullies, rock faces, and the brooks –
Right-brain constructed meaning reporting-novels took.
I wrote first draft of journey and parts I understood,
Like gauges on the dashboard connecting under hood;
I set aside the writing and did some other things,
Then Bingo! Saw the meaning which time and distance brings.
How simple was the concept which I'd misunderstood;
How easy to correct it, providing daily food:
“Apostle” was the concept, a treasure in the field,
A pricey-pearl discovered, great value now revealed.
The “power-grab” is tempting to us of human stock –
To hear Apostles' strutting as they through cultures walked;
But more like Bruchko’s model, down south in jungle's dense –
Cross borders, be with people, and come to their defence –
And then in quiet moments, in comprehension's gaps
Where fear and worry cripple, or guilt one's gladness saps,
Fill in the missing pieces, like leaven in the bread,
Like salt to flavour porridge, and light for what is read.
Some seek “Apostle's ” meaning from Roman or the Greek,
Though Jesus was a Hebrew, did Aramaic speak;
Apostles to the nations in Koine language spoke,
But first it came in Hebrew, and no words Jesus wrote.
In Aramaic language it just means “One who's sent”
Sent to the store for butter; on task for master bent;
To fetch the kids for supper; to tell of one's demise;
To rescue, heal, or party; flee danger well disguised.
A hundred thousand reasons for heading ’cross the land –
Apostles could be formal, or motley little band;
The Romans, into power, we're arrogant of ways –
The cultures touched and conquered to arrogance were swayed.
But not so those of Jesus –“ Apostles ”, termed in Greek –
The ways of strutting-power rejected – “Go for meek”;
“Through death to resurrection”; “With you it shan't be so”;
“Wrap towel around your middle, refresh with water”; “Go!”
“My house of prayer for nations – a mansion full of rooms”
“In darkness wait your coming to light it's deathly gloom”
“I'm going there, I'll meet you, together we will cross,
For I'll return and get you, and raise you up through loss.”
Most people don't like trouble, so stay amongst their clans;
That's fine with God in heaven – aligns the Babel plans
He had near the beginning to slow our trashing pace;
We grate upon each other as groups of human race.
When God is at the center of life, such allergy
Dissolves, we walk together, we work and play with glee;
Not just with people like us, amongst our kith and kin
But ’cross the many borders of world we find we’re in.
“So, having gone, Apostles, for jobs, or holiday;
As persecution hounds you; or soldiers drag away;
When ships wreck in some harbour; or Spirit whispers, ‘Come’
Disciple folks encountered, help them to know the One.
“Far greater things than I've done, you'll do there every day –
I worked among our people, ‘cross-culture’ is your way;
And that is tough, for arrows and spears defend their lands,
For way-of-life's defended by all with deadly hands.
“For all are very fearful you’ll undo Babel's gift,
And make them live with strangers like hours before that rift;
Divisions are for reasons, and language boundaries set,
So each within their groupings can have their life-needs met.
“As God in life is centered, to you, Apostle band,
You'll have no problem going to live in foreign lands;
But many of those people, allergic to you still,
Will fend you off, reject you, and some of you they'll kill.
“But some of you will triumph, break through defensive lines,
With wagons of provisions for parched and hungry minds;
For your task is “supply-train” for folk trapped in their walls,
Who see you as attacking their homes, and ways, and cause.
“Do not be “culture-busters”, don't say “Come be like me”;
There is no “Kingdom Culture” like Romans say to thee;
Take salt, and light, and leaven – not porridge, rooms, and bread –
Let them provide those basics, spice up such life instead.”
The issue in our nation is multi-cultured flow,
And every day new cultures within that cauldron grow;
If salt, and light, and leaven, effect will have in life,
Resolve each culture's question which generates its strife –
So dig into each culture – its way of doing life –
Resolve that culture's issue, alleviate its strife;
That is not “culture-busting”, “enriching” more, I'd say –
The kingdom is a mansion – God's many rooms and ways.
‘Diversity in oneness’ – a many-splendored thing –
Invention of Creator, exploding-life it brings;
We dummy-down to simple, dislike folks’ foreign ways;
When hooked up to our culture, each life with power plays –
For God resolves the issues unique within each clan;
(Such freedom for a brother you might not understand);
But what of you – is power attending all your ways?
Or do you live a culture, not yours, throughout your days?
God’s not afraid of difference, He loves it, can't you see?
He inter-twines us people that hybrid-vigour be;
A strength – not blended-greyness, – kaleidoscopic light –
Explosion – coloured rainbow, more rays beyond our sight.
So – where am I now treading, along this lifetime quest?
I'm editing five novels of prairie-life out west:
Report, spun out in fiction, of how things might play out
If this approach were taken in world that's round about.
I have some other projects, related to this thought:
Two novels set with Judas – his wife and how she walked
In life when dust had settled, and Jesus' merry band
Were killed, or traveled outward to many foreign lands.
One novel ’bout the exiles and their return back home,
Adjustment of two groupings made different when one roamed;
An on-ramp to the Scriptures, so folks may treasures grasp,
Then feed upon that insight, find life enriched at last.
There's drafts of four more novels, a ‘Drash' upon one phrase
In Proverbs, with five chapters of Wisdom's Northern days –
A diary that travels two centuries of war,
And views the Northern Kingdom through Wisdom's guiding store.
Then poems from my ‘Journey through Cancer Land’ to start
Of apostolic journey to Giver-Land; in part
My illustrative photos are on-ramps to the words
So odds and ends of meetings with folks help me be heard.
And all this work's surrounded with balanced lively days –
My renovation projects; sometimes I music play;
My rabbit; and my grand-kids; extended family, friends;
Birdfeeder at the window; as now this summer ends.
No doubt I'll feel confusion, as I head up the path,
And struggle towards the summit, get that for which I asked.
But thanks, O Lord, for showing this vista-view today;
Help me live out this vision, through tree-lined future ways.