Agape

I love that the Greek word for God’s love for us is agápē

Because, when you remove all the markers above the letters,

you get agape-

like mouth agape, heart agape, mind agape,

wide open.

God’s love for us is so beyond our comprehension

that it should leave us with our jaw hanging down,

we ought to be scratching our heads and

falling to our knees in awe of it.

Likewise, when we love like He loves,

we should illicit the same response.

Forget countercultural.

We’re talking blow-your-mind awesome.

Our love should be so righteous, so pure,

so unexpectedly right

that it leaves a mark, makes a difference,

changes the world, if only a little bit.

There, my friends, is our benchmark.

Time to thrive.

 

To Each Other & To God

Joy Moss started Asheville Beer and Hymns.

She lives up to her name,

a true beam of sunlight amongst clouds.

Every time we play music,

music is always secondary to community-building.

Our mission is higher than what we do,

It is who we are, to each other and to God.

Like Dandelions

The stage is set,

the audience is arriving, sitting down

We are undressing, redressing, getting into character

assuming our roles

Jim calls time and I take the stage, talk to the people

See how their day is, make them grow comfortable

Soon it’s time to go, I give the signal, we start to act

There are hula hoop performance, salsa dances,

excerpts from Joyce and Chekov

The living statue gives an erotic monologue

I sing a song, have my heart broken

and it’s all okay, all good

Tonight we’ll do it again

Then it’s curtain call,

we take a bow.

The audience cheers, we depart for the yellow room

They depart, we change

back into our normal selves, whatever that means

We talk with those who stay behind, clean up,

celebrate our victories, recap anything weird that might have happened

linger in the foyer, not wanting leaving

absorbing all the post-play magic that we can.

Then there are hugs and well wishes,

we get in our cars, we drive off

The next morning, when it’s not a theater night

A strange sense of loss consumes me

a grasping at the wind,

but theater is a moment, and eventually the place will cease its run

and all will move on

like Dandelions

The work never ends

God of life and passion and everything good,

bless my friends as they go on their way.

The Heart of Evangelism

The Heart of Evangelism lies in the sharing of the story

of Jesus,

how He, as God, came to earth as man,

walked the earth, performing miracles

and communing with the saints

until the time those self-righteous could stand Him no longer

and so crucified Him, according to their twisted pleasure.

But the grave could not hold Him,

and so spit Him out like Jonah’s whale.

He appeared at on the shore,

before the disciples, who had fled back to their old ways,

and He commissioned them for a new task,

to tell His story, to every corner of the earth,

until the Earth is no more.

My friends, we are a part of this story,

we share in this same commission:

to share who God is, was, and will be

no out of obligation, but because He loves us

and we love Him and we want the world to know that.

For Love to Be Genuine

For love to be genuine,

it must be personal and specific.

Jesus did not simply say, “I love you,” to the crowd and move on.

He called Zacchaeus out of the tree and dined with him.

He met with the woman at the well and counselled her,

unpacking her demons until she danced to a new freedom-song.

My friends, do not let slogans and memes speak for you,

when you speak of love.

Let your heart speak what is true, and empower your flesh

to follow suit. So all will know

that you love them.

Just Another Day

“Play me a song,” he said, seeing us leave the restaurant with our guitars.

“We don’t have the chords,” M said.

“Play it anyway,” he replied.

And so we started, roughly. The chords came, but the words didn’t. The words came, but the chords didn’t. Eventually, both aligned. Then, we sang together the songs that stuck with us, the ones deep down. Always a surprise to see what sticks.

“Play ‘Jesus Loves Me,'” he said.

And we did. The simple, fleeting words resounded through the parking lot and into the night sky.

Soon, we were all out of songs. They thanked us. His buddy, he told me stories about Vietnam while the others mused over M’s dreadlocks.

“My leg’s all tore up. Not a leg no more,” the veteran said, “Got two purple hearts out of it, though. I have trouble sleeping sometimes. All times. God forgive me.”

And he wiped his face with a dirty napkin.

I ran into the car and pulled out the McDonalds napkins I had stored there, you know, for emergencies.

“Here,” I said.

“Thanks,” he said while using the napkin, “for listening.”

M nodded me forward and we walked together to the nearest convenience store, picking up hot dogs and beer for the guys.

“Do you have a Bible?” said the first guy. I handed him mine, “what’s the shortest verse in the Bible?”

“‘Jesus wept,'” I said.

“And where is it?” he said, “What verse?”

I told him I didn’t know. he flipped right to it.

“Saint John eleven thirty-five,” he said.

 

I nodded in amazement.

We all hugged. M and I went to our respective way.

“I’m glad you didn’t die,” M’s girlfriend told her, later.

For us, it’s just another day.