30 December 2008

24 December 2008

coffee ceremony in a mountain village

07 December 2008

last night, i sat alone in the oshwal auditorium in nairobi, surrounded by strangers:

and the glory of the lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see together; for the mouth of the lord has spoken it.

we all listened. we heard. the gospel preached in music and word and glory. there is something mystic in the repetition of the chorus. you can fall into meditation, and there comes the moment you understand. when the knowledge, the truth, makes the leap across the synapses, and changes you. there is physical power, energy beyond atomic, in the words themselves. or maybe in the spirit.

and he shall purify
and he shall purify
and he shall purify
and he shall purify

jonathan opinya sang about darkness. i could hear the knowledge of darkness in his voice. the knowledge with which we are all born. the longing for light, for something true. and when the chorus began:

his name shall be called
the mighty god
the everlasting father
the prince of peace

i felt it. i smiled in spite of myself, almost laughed in the joy of the promise. even the drums couldnt keep in their exultation.

and the angel told the shepherds, fear not. (for they were sore afraid.) they must have known the hopelessness of their estate. the joy in the good news for them, was a savior. they knew they needed a savior. that they must be saved--saved from the hell built with their own hands, from the shackles and slavery of sin and fear.

but, praise God! there were good tidings of great joy.

rejoice, oh daughter of zion.
rejoice greatly.

there was the moment. the halleluiah chorus. we all stood, a few at first, some awkwardly, glancing around the faces watching until the entire room was standing.
we all stood together, like king george II, singing.

hallelujah! for the lord god omnipotent reigneth.
the kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our lord, and of his christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

it was a moment of glory. strangers, united in joy and glory and truth for a moment in measureable time. i don’t need einstein's theory to tell me that that moment will last for ever, and ever. as all moments do. everything is eternal.

and this morning, i feasted on the same Christ. the Christ whose kingdom has come, and who shall reign for ever, and ever.

and i realize more each year how much i need that sacred meal. i need to feel the ground beneath my knees, i need to hear the sound of the breaking bread, “his body, broken for you” i need to let the sweet taste of the wine linger in my mouth “his blood, spilled for you” as we give thanks together. i need to hear the priest, speaking the very truth, words of life, foundations of the earth, over me. amen. amen. amen.

christ has died
christ is risen
christ will come again.

04 December 2008

i think the lack of blogging, writing, is mental laziness. or perhaps insecurity. there are so many people here, on the internet, these days. and--i care what you think of me.

but i want an account, a history. something true, and transparent for this chapter.
i wrote awhile back that this life (this life) is a testimony of god's faithfulness. it is more true every day.

so, as a preface, this is where i am:

i am living in nairobi. there is too much empty space in my flat. i spend a lot of time on the fire escape. and, when the music and moment overtake me, i dance in the hall.

i am settling into a strange pattern of life: weeks of airplanes, motels, unfamiliar currencies, unfamiliar faces, strange stories and strangers, joy.
then home is a chaos of exhaustion, loneliness, gluttony, insomnia, emotion and work.
then, again. and again.

all my hope must be entirely in his faithfulness. i have none.