Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Right now, I come from Israel."

I read a comment on a blog post today that used this sentence. I think I might just adopt the phrase as my own. It seems a good answer to the question that MKs and TCKs all struggle to answer: "Where are you from?"

Up until 1987, I came from England.
After that, I came from California.
Right now, I come from South Africa.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

God's Invitation Part Two: Some Further Literary Details

(Skip to the post below for context... or just a shorter version.)

Around the borders of the invitation I created, I wrote some lines from a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem that continues to resurface in relevance for me.

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

What if what you’re called to do is simply to be who you are? This is a key part of my understanding of God’s invitation at this point in my life: God invites me to be myself. This is such a freeing thought: I am invited to be myself. My truest self, my self as I was created to be.

The poem goes on, and these lines also appear in the borders of my invitation:

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is—
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Suggested reading for the weekend retreat was a book called The Great Dance. One part of the book in particular resonated quite deeply for me:

“[Jesus] continues to live out his sonship, today and forever, as a human being—he just does not do it alone, but in union with us, in and through us, in and through our work and play and gardening, in and through our relationships, our friendships, our marriages and romance…” (63)

It’s this idea that the last few lines of the poem address: that the life of Christ is lived out today in us, in our everyday lives as we live the fullness of the life God gives. As we live out our true identity. God invites us to live as who we were intended to be, and in so doing, we reflect Christ. And it's beautiful.

On a related note: I find that for me, God speaks loudest when multiple, seemingly unrelated sources converge at the same time with the same message. As I caught up on some blog reading yesterday, I found this post on one of my favorite blogs. These coincidences happen too often to me.

God's Invitation

Peace of Christ
Gate and cross at St. Benedict’s House, Rosettenville, Joburg

This past weekend was our community reflection retreat, looking back on the Inviting Posture. The apprentices and a few of the staff (Bryan, Dayna, and me) went to a retreat center in Joburg for solitude and reflection, and sharing together what God had been doing in each of us during the posture and over the weekend.

As part of the posture, apprentices had been asked to write out their understanding of God’s invitation extended to all mankind. As part of the weekend, we were to finish writing (or start and finish writing!) these invitations.

Some created tangible physical invitations, others crafted words in journals; some were very personal and others more universal, but all of us attempted to convey a glimpse of what God is inviting us into. All 11 of us shared our invitations with each other on Sunday morning before we headed back to Pretoria. We went around the circle, each person sharing a little about the writing of their invitation, and then reading it aloud.

As Oupa read his invitation, I had one of those moments of resonance. It was such a beautiful picture to sit there with my community, hearing each person articulate God’s invitation in their own words: unique and yet so very universal pieces of the incomprehensible idea of God’s invitation to mankind.

Each one represented a different piece of God’s invitation; together they pointed to something so much larger. As the winter sunlight streamed through the windows over Oupa’s shoulders, I saw and heard a glimpse of God’s Kingdom in our midst. A glimpse of the Kingdom that is here, at hand, and to come. We are invited in.

Here’s my invitation.

Come to me.

Come and discover the home you long for, the place where you belong. Join the feast at my table; the family waits for your arrival. You are invited to live your life from within the family of God. Make your home here and find your identity as a child of this family.

Come and discover who you’re created to be—live out who you really are as a child in my house. I invite you into my life, that you may live Christ in your life.

Come, discover your deepest desires; live your truest identity, and you will find me there.

Home is waiting. It has been prepared for you.

You are invited in.

What do you want?

Do you want to be healed?

Come to me.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


This past week, I took a 4-day trip to a neighboring province (Mpumalanga), and stayed in an area called the Panorama. It was great to have time away to read, journal, and reflect in an area of amazing natural beauty. One of the points of interest near where I was staying is a viewpoint called "God's Window." I found this an appropriate place for a retreat...

Updated to say: More pictures here.

Me looking out God's Window

Lisbon Falls (I spent an afternoon here reading)

Chocolate mousse-filled and fruit-covered pancakes in a little mining town called Pilgrim's Rest

Bourke's Luck Potholes, some amazing rock formations that occur where the Treur & Blyde Rivers connect

Me at my favorite lookout point, with a view of the Lowveld

The Three Rondavels, at Blyde River Canyon (the third largest canyon in the world)

Me reading at the Lowveld viewpoint