Wednesday, March 28, 2007

calvary boys

Isaac sits at his father's feet, cross-legged, playing with a yellow sportscar. To his left, his little sister lies sleeping in her car seat. To his right, just five feet of carpet separates him from Peter, who is playing the conga with his eyes closed and his head toward heaven. I can feel the pounding of Peter's hand against that taut skin from my side of the room; I know Isaac feels it through the floor.

He pushes his sports car along an unseen-to-me highway, causing it to skirt surprise obstacles, jump other cars, twirl and leap and dodge the way only 6" cars in the hand of 6-year old boys can do. Stuck at a stoplight, he uses that time to notice his sister's fluttering eyelids. He bends his head, ducks under the handle of her car seat, and kisses her cheek once, twice, three times for good measure.

I watch him and I know he's oblivious to the words we're singing:

The arms of God are open, waiting
Everlasting, loving, saving
Underneath me when I fall
Outstretched every time I call
The arms of God are always near
They hold me high above my fear
This is where I want to stay
My Hideaway

Does that boy know why we gather in this room Wednesday nights and fill this space with guitar strums and congo beats and voices raised in praise? Does he know the gratitude that fuels our worship--the remembrances that lift our hands and faces toward the sky? He doesn't. Not yet. But I pray that as he sits here, Wednesday night after Wednesday night, he begins to understand that You, Jesus, are his hideaway and his rest.

Drill deeply, Lord, and plant a seed of faith.

In the very back row, another boy has taken a seat. He accepted my hug when he walked through the door, but he was careful to choose a way-back place, and take a middle seat between two empty chairs.

I've known this boy since he was small and blonde, with eyes that looked much too big for his tiny face. An enduring image I have, whenever his name crosses my mind and I latch hold, is of an afternoon the 4-year old version of himself spent at my house making kites. When we'd taped the drinking straw crossbeam in place and unfurled the tissue paper tail, he took it outside and showed me his kite-flying skills. The higher it rose, the deeper his dimples grew. As he ran circles in my fenced-in backyard, the sun broke through the evergreen boughs overhead and sprinkled light sparkles over the grass.

He's been gone a long time--long enough to venture into dark corners. He looks older tonight, and sadder, as if he knew things he wished he didn't. But he's here. He's come home.

Does he hear the words we're singing now? Does he know they offer the cleansing he's looking for?

Mine was Your only sin
Yours is my only righteousness
Mine was Your only shame
Yours is my only confidence
You took all of me; I want all of You

Mine was the pain You bore
Yours is the healing I received
Mine was the nails and thorns
Yours is my life abundantly
You took all of me; I want all of You

I'm waiting here to feel Your touch
The weight of sin it seems so much
The freedom that You offer me is You

Mine was the the victory
Yours is the blood that purchased me
Mine is a blessed way
Yours is my love eternally
You took all of me; I want all of You

Does that boy know You are the answer, Jesus? Does he know that You're the stealer of shame, the robber of regret?

Drill gently, Lord, and free his heart to remember.

"Hideaway" and "The Trade" by Brett Williams


10 Comment:

At 3/28/2007 12:47 PM, Blogger Faerylandmom had this to say ...

Amen, Lord. Touch the hearts of these boys.

At 3/28/2007 3:04 PM, Blogger Cora had this to say ...

I just knew when you asked me for my pen last week, you were watching Isaac and wanted to capture the scene before you.

We will keep praying for these boys. You know God's not finished with them yet.

At 3/30/2007 3:52 PM, Blogger Kelly Klepfer had this to say ...

What weight your words carry.

I forget what I've prayed, time softens burdens. But our Lord doesn't forget. What an amazing miracle it is that we, mere dust, can petition the God of the universe.

He gives us this opportunity that we squander and cover with sticky fingerprints, and leave out in the rain, and He takes it seriously, makes it eternal.

Right now, He is still at work, still remembering whispered prayers blurted years ago.

God loves these boys, and He longs for our hearts. The whispers and memories, the whisps and aromas don't leave us alone.

Oh, that we all would know the blush of being Christ's bride, the beauty He sees in us, the relationship He desires.

His heart is in the beat of the drum, His truth in the words of the songs.

We're all prodigals whether by word, attitude or deed. Yet He rushes toward us, open-armed.

What an amazing God.

What amazing grace.

Blessings on you, and the boys.

At 3/30/2007 4:12 PM, Blogger The Preacher's Wife had this to say ...

What beautiful words, Shannon. My prayer and heart's desire is that our churches would be that safe place those who have lost their way would run home to. Too often, these children come back to judgmental glances instead of an embrace. It sounds like you are in a wonderful place for this young one to land...

At 4/03/2007 2:58 PM, Blogger Ann V.@HolyExperience had this to say ...

Beautiful… as always, Shannon…
You bless me.
And I said so today at my blog, humbling offering you the Thinking Blogger Award…

Thank you, Shannon… for being you and exalting Him.

At 4/20/2007 1:04 PM, Anonymous Just a reader had this to say ...

I find it interesting that you felt the need to reference your church name in these blogs.

Church pride LOL

At 4/20/2007 5:18 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/20/2007 6:45 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Thanks for your prayers, Faerylandmom. I sure love those boys. :)

Thanks for always being there to loan me a pen, Cora.

What a beautiful comment, Kelly! Thanks for taking the time to leave it.

I echo your thoughts, Preacher's Wife. My longing is that the Body of Christ would always welcome home their prodigals. Thanks for the visit.

You are such an encourager, Ann. And thanks for the Thinking Blogger Award! That means a lot, coming from you.

Just a reader: I'm sorry if my affection looks like pride. It's just that I'm not the pastor's wife of another church. I only know this bunch of characters. :) And I adore them.

I wouldn't have bothererd to mention the church by name except that I've begun to use the "label" feature, and since so many of my posts are comments about what the Lord is showing me through this particular group of people, it seems fitting.

I understand where you're coming from, though. The church is too fractured, too isolated from one another. I didn't mean in any way to perpetuate that.

Thanks for the visit.

At 4/21/2007 11:07 AM, Anonymous Just A Reader had this to say ...

Thank you for the thoughtful response, Shannon. I appreciate it.

At 4/21/2007 2:49 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

I'm glad you came back. It bothered me that I might have offended you. Glad we're okay. :)


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