I realize Halloween is over but a message was shared over it Thursday in chapel and I would Iike to pass my take away from it on to y’all.
As we all know, the world is not always rainbows and butterflies. There are spiders and snakes. Car wrecks and taxes. Twerking and pedostaches. The world is full of darkness and it just so happens to come crawling out of every corner and crack on Halloween.
I never celebrated tnhis “holiday” growing up and I am thankful for that. Yeah, there were times I was jealous I didn’t get to dress as my favorite character or eat a bunch of candy, but I appreciate my parents discretion to shelter me from joining the dark side on October 31.
Anyway, back to the point of this post, the world is dark and when we make what we consider an irreconcilable mistake, we can fall into this state of darkness. A state of depression and sadness. I don’t know about you, but I’m afraid of the dark to some extent. I could be perfectly content with the lights on but as soon as they shut off, it’s like my mind goes crazy and imagines every killer or chupacabra in town is out to get me. Yeah, i realize that sounds ridiculous and I’m twenty years old. I shouldn’t think these things but that’s the world we live in. The media has put these images in my head. It’s dark and scary and turns me into a little kid again.
Christ came to be a light for us. He shows us the way and wants to be the light to guide us past the darkness. To get us through those hard times. To bring us to safety. Of our minds, surroundings and hearts.
Sometimes we don’t realize we’re lost. We don’t see that our situation sucks and we need to run. We need to remove ourselves from certain people or places before it’s too late. Maybe we’re blinded by rainbows or love. Our comfort or emotions refuse to let us assess the situation. Or we stamp our foot like a little toddler and internally scream, “no, I don’t want to change!” We can’t see that our circumstances are hurting us. Good news. Jesus wants to remove those dirty, cloudy contacts you have in to show you a whole new world…help you see clearly now the crap is gone. He is your clear eyes for dry eyes spokesperson.
Bottom line: Jesus wants to show you the beautiful sunrise before the darkest dawn. Open your freakin eyes and enjoy it because it’s breathtaking!
Have y’all heard this song yet? If not, that’s too bad. It has been an earworm for me since this summer and I’m not complaining one bit.
I think we all have points when we feel this way. nothing goes right. you just lost your job. you’ve been evicted..again. your best friend moves half way across the country. you just bombed that test. you lost a loved one. you made what seems like an irreconcilable mistake. That’s just one piece of the puzzle sweetheart. It will work itself out. We serve the God of RE. He freely offers us second chances and He wants redemption to win. He wants to mend our broken hearts and lives. He wants to to see that beauty from ashes. He wants to give you a new shot at life. He wants the struggle to end and redemption to win more than you do!
For the love of all that’s good and holy, let Him! It’ll be the best decision you ever made. I’m not saying it’ll be easy or enjoyable the whole time but it’ll be worth it. I guarantee it.
I just have a couple quotes for you today. I started reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning this summer and it’s chock full of grace. I haven’t finished it yet but I certainly would expect some more quotes from it in the future.
“Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life… It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection does not appear, when the old compulsions reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: “You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything, do not perform anything, do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted.” If that happens to us, we experience grace.” Paul Tillich The Shaking of the Foundations
“Whatever our failings may be, we need not lower our eyes in the presence of Jesus . Unlike Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame, we need not hide all that is ugly and repulsive in us. Jesus comes not for the super-spiritual but for the wobbly and the weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together, and who are not too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace. As we glance up, we are astonished to find the eyes of Jesus open with wonder, deep with understanding, and gentle with compassion.” Brennan Manning The Ragamuffin Gospel
The Scandal of Grace
A friend of mine wrote this Relevant Magazine article about nine years ago but it is a perfect glimpse of what Man of La Mancha is all about. I’m so thankful for the scandalous grace Jesus offers to us and I hope you can embrace your position as His “sweet one.”
“We play the character of Aldonza in this drama. We were dirty, impure and unworthy. We had no lineage and no future. We were of no account. We were not fit to be deemed the high lady of a knight. But the grace of God offers us, despite who we were, a new name. He does not see us as Aldonza, the whore, but He now chooses to call us Dulcinea, His sweet one.
Philip Yancey said, “Grace costs nothing for the recipients, but everything for the giver.” I am given this new name of Dulcinea by the grace of God through Christ Jesus. It cost Him everything to give me this new name. And this is the scandal of grace. It’s a mystery, but a “sweet one.”
A group from Grand Valley State University came down this week to share a unique performance with our students. First off, it was a puppet show, which I was a little hesitant about but second, it was based on DON QUIJOTE’S story! Do you know how excited I was to see this in the event line up? I just learned about DQ two years ago and hardly anyone I talk to actually knows his story, so you could say I was just a little overjoyed that people would be exposed to it.
The puppet show overall was great. the puppeteers were all undergraduate students studying Spanish and doing this on the side. They shared the story of this Spanish hero but they left out on gigantic part…Dulcinea. Don Quixote referred to her a couple of times but they never really explained who she was or her significance throughout the play.
Dulcinea may start off as Aldonza the Inn harlot, but she transforms before our very eyes into Dulcinea, DQ’s sweet one. Unlike the sheep, windmill or inn that DQ perceives to be an army, giant or castle, Aldonza actually converts into whom he knows her to be. She sees herself as a lady, beautiful, and worthy of love.
When I think of Don Quixote, I think of a beautiful story of redemption and grace, windmills and chivalry. The puppet show covered the windmill and chivalry aspects but Aldonza’s transformation was left out.
If y’all have no idea what I’m talking about, I’d encourage you to watch the musical, Man of La Mancha. It’s from the 70s so you may not be able to find it many places but I would check it out from your local library or maybe even Netflix. Seriously. do it. you won’t regret it.
I have a really great post to share with you tomorrow and if this doesn’t convince you to love DQ, hopefully that one will.
The Skit Guys do a great job illustrating God’s grace. We just don’t get it. It’s mind blowing. Why in the world would God offer his grace to us? Why doesn’t he just strike us down at the moment we screw up? Why? Why? Why? Because He loves us. He loves us enough to give us that second chance and to not let anything get in the way of our relationship.
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Enjoy this gem on a beautiful autumn afternoon. The season all about second chances…but more on that later this week.