RECYCLING

By Lisa Huddleston

 

Forest, trees

Forest, trees

Back and forth

the transformation

takes place

 

Art to garbage

And back again

 

“He gives life

to garbage.”

 

Picker to Artist

Garbage to Art

And back again?

On which side will

they stay?

Do they have a

choice?

 

“I never saw myself

as a piece of

art.”

 

Somewhere between

Forest and trees

Back and forth

the transformation

happens

 

Potential realized

 

Image bearing

Revealed

 

Garbage becomes

Art

 

Written in response to “Waste Land,” a documentary film about visual artist, Vik Muniz, and the pickers of Jardim Gramacho.

ON SECOND THOUGHT

 By Lisa Huddleston

 

“But I thought better of it and acted out of who I was, not by what I felt, so that I might be honored and not blasphemed by the nations ….”  (Ezekiel 20)

Three times in Ezekiel 20, God speaks these words in response to his overwhelming desire to wipe out his chosen people for their blatant disrespect and sin against him.  When a word is spoken even once by God, it’s worthy of our attention, but three times in the course of one chapter deserves our total concentration. 

We could focus our thoughts on Israel’s glaring sins.  We could compare their idolatry and desecrations to our present day actions, and we would find many similarities to note.  But these particular words are about God and his freedom to choose his response–they are not about the people. 

In turning our thoughts toward God, we find a lot to learn.  First God “thought better.”  That really blows my mind.  In other words, God had a first thought–a knee-jerk response to their sin–“to inflict his anger of them,” “to unleash his anger on them,” and “to dump his anger on them.”  But he thought better of it!  He took his first thought captive, and he chose to change his mind. 

Next, he decided to act out of who he was instead of how he felt–which in case you missed it was ANGRY.  God resolved not to let his emotions control his actions.  It comforts me to read these words and to realize that God understands the power of feelings and the need to reign them in at times.  Even he needed to remember who he was and to act out of that truth.  Incredible!

And why did it matter how God chose to act?  Couldn’t God do whatever he wanted to do?  Absolutely, but his name was at stake.  He thought better and decided to act from a place of who he is (his I AM-ness) so that he would be honored by those who were witnessing his actions–the nations surrounding Israel.

My prayer this day is to do the same:  to think better, to act out of who I am in Christ rather than how I feel, and to honor God and bring him glory.

May it be so.

WAITING FOR HOPE

By Lisa Huddleston 

God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,

 to the woman who diligently seeks.

It’s a good thing to quietly hope,

quietly hope for help from God.

What does it mean to wait passionately and to seek diligently and to hope quietly?

The second idea seems the easiest to understand. Seeking and diligence feel right together—both are related to my doing and my energy. I can understand pushing toward a goal and working hard to reach the next mark.

But passion and waiting make a very odd couple. Again, I comprehend the passion. Passionately seeking makes sense but waiting? What a passive and frustrating concept! Waiting is so irritating, so anemic, so out of my control. That can’t be what the writer means.

Maybe “anticipation” says it better. Even “tiptoe anticipation.” That seems more like it. Passionate waiting can’t be passive. It, too, takes energy.

Looking to the horizon for the silhouette of hope to appear. Craning and straining to make out his face. Listening for the sound of his voice to break the crackling silence with a trumpet blast. Is it he? Has he come at last?

Be still, my daughter, be still.

When life is heavy and hard to take,

go off by yourself. Enter the silence.

Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:

Wait for hope to appear.

(Lamentations 3:25-26, 28-29, The Message)

DAILY BREAD

By Lisa Huddleston

Give us this day our daily bread.

Jesus taught his followers to voice this prayer.

A daily request to meet their needs for 24 hours and no more.

I wish it had been different.

Give us this day the bread that we need for the rest of our lives.

Help us to be full and to stay that way.

Keep us from the pains of hunger and the soul-sucking emptiness of despair.

But, no.

Daily bread is just that.

And I want more.

 

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And He gives me more—forgiveness for the past.

For everything I’ve done that’s revealed my emptiness.

Terrible words and actions that have come from me and through me and to me.

Wounds I have inflicted and received.

Forgiveness poured out on me as I have poured it over others.

Those who have misunderstood and misjudged and misrepresented.

He gives me more.

 

And lead us not into temptation.

Then there’s the future.

Lying before me with empty space that will be filled with daily bread.

Do I trust Him for it?

Do I have any choice?

Will I receive His bread or will I give myself and others stones

To be poured over and over with the oil of forgiveness? 

Crumbs or pebbles? Loaves or boulders?

The stuff of sustenance or the breaking of teeth?

 

On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Please, fill me, Lord.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Amen.