Sunday was a wonderful day in Johannesburg. We woke up to the sound of rain, drenching rain. Slowly doing its saturating work, each drop feeding the roots of a thirsty plant or organism. It rained the whole day and still is.
Our group also met and we had a wonderful discussion about Jesus as the Cornerstone of our lives. How he was a Tekton – the Greek word for ‘mason’. Recent archeology showed that Jesus was probably a stone worker and worked his trade in a quarry near Nazareth. Jesus is still chipping away at our rough edges and uses our communities to build us into stones that will glorify Him.
Afterwards we talked about the heartbeat of our church. Each one of us is a building block of the spiritual house God is building (an act of immense mystery and Immanence). Our conversation lasted for several hours as we unpacked the passions of our hearts, afterwards we shared a meal around the table wonderful Lasagna! It was one of the most refreshing church experiences I’ve had for a while.
Early this morning I woke up and read a Eugene Peterson poem, a reflection on one of the Beatitudes:
Unfriendly waters do a friendly
Thing; curses, cataract hurled
Stones, make the rough places
Smooth; a rushing whitewater stream
Of blasphemies hate-launched,
Then caught by the sun, sprays rainbow
Arcs across the Youghiogeny.
Savaged by the river’s impersonal
Attack the land is deepened to bedrock.
Wise passivities are earned
In quiet, craggy, occasional pools
That chasten the wild waters to stillness,
And hold them under hemlock green
For birds and deer to bathe and drink
In peace – persecution’s gift:
The hard-won, blessed letting be.
The piece is entitled “Blessed are the Persecuted”
A few minutes after I read this I was informed of some vicious allegations made against me and Lollie. It was one of those he told her and she told him and therefore your friends are slandering you conversations. Lollie and I phoned the people who were supposedly ‘slandering’ us and found out the truth behind the whole ordeal. Our friendship are stronger after the conversations, yet we know that we are under attack – persecuted verbally. It hurts. I love the last line in the poem – The hard-won, letting be.
The absurdity of blessing the enemy.
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you ever deeper into God’s kingdom.”