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Posts Tagged ‘Kingdom of God’

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated April 4th 1968.  A horrible act that turned a man’s living into martyrdom.  He was a man who had a dream of racial and class equality, a life where men and women were judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin.  A dream that did not die but continues to work its way through life.

Dreams and visions are of vital importance in our lives.  To dream means we must recognize the potential of greatness to come.  To dream means that we stand in the presence of a reality we are not satisfied is as yet completed. To dream means we are not satisfied with ourselves enough to sit and rest.  Many people dream, but few of us live lives that reflect the hope we believe will come.

What made Martin Luther King, Jr. the giant we imagine him to be today is not that he was martyred and it is not that he delivered amazing speeches. What made him a force of hope was not only that he believed his dream, but that he also lived that dream before it became a reality.  He respected others before he was respected.  He was honest with others before they were honest with him.  He did this because he must have known that any dream worth living must begin with the character of that dream in the present reality.

Jesus preached that the kingdom of heaven is here now in part and one day it will be completed.  We talk of “one day” living in heaven and what that will be like. But what use is living in heaven standards “one day” if we are not willing to live heaven standards now? Jesus says we can step into the reality of heaven now.  He says it won’t be easy, but he is with us every step of the way.  But don’t you dream of knowing what it would be like to live in the freedom to love your enemies, bless those who curse you, live as light in a world of darkness, and bring a taste of goodness to a world that feeds on bitterness?  What is your dream?  Are you willing to start living it now?

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Facing the Waves

The sand, packed hard by the incoming tide, gave support to our feet.  I marveled at Sydney’s delight in the impressions her tiny toes created along the way.  Each wave charged with territorial authority yet retreated with graceful invitation.  We skirted the edge with diverted attention, priority with one discovery at a time.

My desire was to walk a 1oo yards beyond the casual fishermen to an area more secluded.  This is a beach away from people and buildings, surrounded by small dunes and sea oats.  A place where daddy and daughter can play in peace.  As we continue down the shore, attention has moved from footprints to sea shells.  Upset with being ignored, the ocean waves gently reach our feet and kiss our ankles.  For me a pleasant surprise.  For Sydney, not so much.

She quickly scoots more inland about 20 yards and decides to walk in the thick loose sand.  Not easy to walk in, but safe from the sneaky water.  I stay close to the water, but it makes her a little nervous so I come up high with her, encouraging her to keep walking.  She does not trust those waves.  She picks up shells along the way, all the while eyeballing the sea.

We finally reach our resting point.  I set up the umbrella to grant shade to my little 2 year old.  She thinks the umbrella is too close to the water.  I try to convince her it’s ok.  I move the umbrella further away from the tide, set up a blanket, get out the buckets and shovels.  She has a blast in the sand.  It’s everywhere.  I walk toward the water just to the point where the waves will cover my toes.  Sydney, does not trust this water.  Words will not convince her.  “Sydney” I say, “It’s ok.  The waves are just saying hello.  They just want to play a little”  She responds simply, “no.” For some reason she does not believe me.  I walk back up, show her I am ok and dig in the sand with her a few minutes.

I return to the water.  I like being on the edge of the water.  The colors, the design and dance of the various shells.  Each wave paints a new picture.  I want Sydney to enjoy this creation, this wonder.  The waves come in and out and I call for Sydney’s attention.  I can see her tense when the water runs over my feet.  No words this time.  I jump up and down on the thin water. Splash, splash, arms in the air, smile on my face.  She laughs.  I do it again, each time the water comes in.  She laughs and becomes curious.  Fear begins to wash away.

“Sydney, the water is ok.  You are safe with daddy.  I won’t let it hurt you while you’re with me.  Do you want to play in the water?”  She says, “Ok”.  We walk toward the water.  She is still cautious, but she trust me more than she fears the water.  The water comes in and we jump together. Splash, splash, arms in the air, smile on our face.

We face the waves and let them wash over our feet.  I hold her hand and hover.  She is safe.  She kneels and lets the water wash over her legs.  She laughs.  We call out to the water, “Come here waves, come wash”.  The waves obey.  Her hands in the sand, her feet tickled as the water washes the sand away from her ankles.  She moves further out.  She wants the waves now.  When they don’t come far enough up, we run down the beach to where they do.  She sits and laughs in the water.  It is deeper and stronger, but I am there.  I hold her waist.  The water does not move me, but she is little, she is moved She holds on to me and laughs.  Her trust is deep and her fear is gone.  The waves want to pull her out, but she embraces and is embraced by me. No fear, only celebration and delight in this dynamic interaction of daddy, sand, and wave.

Time for more sunscreen, so we move back to our blankets.  We are refreshed with bottled water.  We walk back toward the ocean.  But this time she tries to go without me.  She confuses lack of fear with safety.  I will not let her go alone.  “Sydney, not without daddy.  Let’s play together.”  We sit down in the water and a starfish, blue and wonderful washes up beside her.  She holds it and finds it magical.  She lets it go home, back to the sea.  A place just moments ago brought her fear out of what it might take, was transformed out of trust into a place she freely gave.

God kissed my cheek that day and said, “taste and see, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven”

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