Truckers and Yankees

I meant to post this blog on Easter Sunday, however my computer crashed right before Easter and chose not to resurrect itself.  Now that I have a “new creation” I wanted to post a blog I wrote for Easter.

So on Easter Sunday I managed to spill coffee on an unsuspecting lady’s foot. I had put the almost empty cup on the chair next to me and as I went to reach for something in my bag I hit the cup and every drop remaining flew backwards. To make matters worse as I was turning back to survey the damage the chair I was sitting on scooted back jamming into the coffee drenched foot of the lady behind me. Have I ever mentioned how awesome I am?

So clearly this woman was not from the South. While being a Yankee myself, I have learned to recognize our kind in these situations. As I quietly expressed how sorry I was she completely ignored me as she took out some tissue and dabbed away the coffee. At first I thought she did not want to talk since the Pastor was in the middle of talking about how Jesus rose from the dead in the middle of history vs. the end of time. It was good stuff. I turned my attention to him so I would not distract her from quality teaching and settled to apologize properly during the time our church greets each other by passing the peace.

Well let me tell you our peace talk was a little iffy. As I sincerely apologized, instead of saying, “no problem,” or, “it happens,” or whatever good southerners say… (Bless my heart or something!) She looked at me with no expression saying, “At least it was not hot.” True I could have really maimed you! At that point I decided she was not likely to be a friend and I shared peace with others that I did not spill coffee on.

During the season of lent I tried to write about ways we can be captivated by God’s love and I have talked about the ways we get sidetracked and become captives to anything or anyone but God. In doing so I have come to the conclusion that there are many things in this world that distract me from God’s love. On Easter that “thing” was worry and the need for approval.

While the pastor was preaching about the resurrection and God’s timing I was feeling guilty about spilling coffee. I was brainstorming ways to make this woman my friend, as Kris (our pastor) was talking about Jesus being someone we could touch after He was resurrected. Obviously I heard bits and pieces but anxiety overtook my peace, the fullness of God living in me.

Now I make mistakes all the time so there was no need to get worked up over this one, but for a few moments I did. We are people that can be completely enamored by Jesus one moment, and then be people raging against others on the Atlanta Speedway the next moment. With the same mouth we praise God with we utter curses towards semi-trucks that cut you off and slam on their breaks the next moment. While I’m not trying to justify my cussing I’m just saying it happens.

The point is we are all prone to be distracted from God. This is really normal for most of us. To become people captivated by Him we must learn to invite Him into every part of our being, even the ugly parts that cuss at truck drivers and spill coffee on Yankees. Jesus loves every bit of who we are and waits patiently for us to invite Him in to those spaces. If we allow Him to fill us up, parts of us that were once dead may come alive in ways we never imagined. As we greet each other like we do on Easter saying, “He is Risen!” perhaps we can explore the possibility of Jesus being resurrected in us. Yes He is risen indeed!

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Do You Speak In Red?

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So I was talking to a couple ladies today about how I like to write and speak. I began to tell them that when I speak I’m a lot like Jesus… Immediately some alarms went off in my head to alert me to error of my ways. As I fumbled around trying to not sound completely grandiose one of the ladies said, “So when you speak are you speaking in red letters?” I laughed at her reference to Bibles that highlight Jesus’ words in red. I quickly tried to explain that I liked to use parables/stories to teach about various truths. But what a novel idea she had! I mean seriously what if we could all speak in red?

As our conversation wore on we started talking about who Jesus would be hanging out with in modern America. In my humble opinion I don’t think He would be spending most of His time with the church. As we all agreed on who Jesus might be spending His time with, the more important question came. What would Jesus say to them? That was one of those moments I really wish that I spoke in red!

Because of culture shifts, reading Jesus’ words at face value is not always quite as powerful. When we add context to those letters we start to learn about a man/God that was a bold lover of people. He was not worried about societal norms or acceptance. He was about radically loving people that others refused to show grace to let alone love. If speaking in red means that we love people in innovative ways then sign me up. If red letter Tracy means people will have an opportunity to draw closer to Jesus then I am in. If communication in red leads to a lifetime in the Kingdom for more people than what is stopping us? I can’t say I am there yet but I am all about becoming a person that speaks in red.