Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘Hippies’

I Belong, Don’t I?

mizzy-pacheco

Photo Credit: Mizzy Pacheco, Pacheco Photography

“And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:6 NIV

My childhood in the ‘70s included lots of hippie food, clothes, and activities. That set us apart from our wealthy, conservative, suburban neighbors. The grass on the lawn grew too tall. The hair and beards of the men in the family grew too long. Our cars and houses were simple, and kind of funky and neglected. Although I felt loved by my family, as an adolescent I also felt my “oddness” keenly. I felt like I didn’t belong.

Some of that  sense of “odd one out” traveled with me into adulthood. Surprisingly, I didn’t find too many other flower children out there.

However, over time, I have come to experience a deep sense of belonging. It comes from being loved by God and a part of a worldwide diverse Christian family.

Ironically, I, who am a Gentile, worship a Jewish Savior. Jesus came to his own and chose disciples from among the Jewish people. I cannot remake myself into a Jew. But, I know He wants me, too.

Recently, I found evidence for this claim as I re-read the account of Jesus Clearing the Temple in the gospel of John:

“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get out of here. How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”   John 2:14-16 NIV

My NIV Study Bible note on the verses explains: …”The cattle, sheep and doves were for required for sacrifices. Jews who came great distances had to be able to buy sacrificial animals near the temple. The merchants, however, were selling them in the outer courts of the temple itself, the one place where Gentiles could come to pray.”

Jesus purposely and with intensity cleared the temple for the Gentiles to have a place to pray.

This obviously mattered to him.

So he made a place for me – how meaningful for a flower child like me.

“From my mothers womb

You have chosen me

Love has called my name

I’ve been born again, into your family

No Longer Slaves, We Will Not Be Shaken album, Bethel Music, 2015

 

 

Oh Foolish Me and the Kind Protection of Almighty God

Photo Credit:  Sam Javanrouh  Florence, Italy

Photo Credit: Sam Javanrouh, Florence, Italy

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10

I am the child of hippies – of 1970s vintage – and I grew up without much supervision and structure during those tumultuous years, which is not the best environment for a child. One of the positive results, however, was how independent I became, doing things for myself, and on my own, with great courage and “chutzpah”.

Is it any wonder that I would adore the 139th psalm? It speaks of the loving care of a personal God who knows where I am and what I am doing, and guides me and holds me fast.

My parents loved me, though, and one of the special gifts my father gave me was money for trip to Europe after I graduated from college. I cherish this gift more now, but at the time, too, I was ecstatic over the opportunity to travel for eight weeks with a Eurail pass, a backpack, and money for cheese and bread and hostels.

They say Europe is small, but it’s actually dense – extremely varied with its cultures, art, history, languages, and geography, and after seven weeks, I hadn’t seen it all.

Not even close.

Particularly, I longed to visit Italy and see the canals of Venice, Michaelangelo’s David, and St. Peter’s Basilica.   My two traveling buddies had a month more than I (the lucky ducks) and they were content to stay in Austria to explore more of the countryside. I burned to make my last nine days count and see the wonders of Italy.

So I left on my own.

On my own.

At age 20.

(I am a girl by the way.)

What was I thinking? No, I wasn’t thinking, I was impulsively doing.   And the God of the universe protected me – even when I was foolish.

How about that?

I was stalked, pinched, and creeped out, but not harmed. And then, as I stood in line on the ancient cobbled sidewalk to enter the Florentine art museum that housed Michaelangelo’s exquisite sculpture, I struck up a conversation with a young woman with a shoulder bag decorated with a Canadian maple leaf. She was Spanish and traveling with her brother and sister from Madrid down through Italy in their tiny citroen.   And they invited me to go with them. I spent the rest of my precious travel days under the cheerful protection of three Spaniards, eating their food, traveling safely (though squished), in their car and sleeping at night in their tent (on the far side – away from the brother).

What a loving God to protect me when I had “gone rogue”.  What makes him love us so much, not only when we “behave”, but when we are “off the rails” in some way?

“If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:11, 12

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