Howdy friends! I just got back from a “deep south” spiritual tour of America. I will mention a single highlight worth its weight. God directed me to the grave of Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta King in a torrential rainstorm! I ended up at Ebenezer Baptist where Rev Luther grew up and eventually preached. The intensity coming off the grave, and the wonderful african american ladies who led me into that realm, where memorable beyond belief. The rains were so intense that one of the ladies lost her sheet music which went pouring down the road towards downtown–she and i chased it three blocks before snatching it up from the flood, and gathering that song!
I felt I was in the Presence throughout. I finally “got” that King was bringing a Kingdom context to race relations that few in the Church really had an understanding of at the time–or since. I felt that he had preached the good news of the Kingdom, and that this was part of my own generations call–to provide a larger Kingdom context for the arts, bussiness, culture etc. Not just the gospel of salvation as Billy Graham and others have carried nobly, but the gospel of the Kingdom–and this excited me! Also to be around another church father and martyr who was killed the year I was born!
Anyways, very rich journey, while Amy was in London conversing with our tribe, and bathing in the strength of unity among friends.
I also got to talk to the arts counsel chairman in Birmingham Alabama about his view of the history of that city and what the arts could speak into it! Got a deeper understanding of the south, and some of America’s undealt with issues. Not just race, but a general inferiority complex in relation to the North, and some unhealed civil war wounds–for America to become one and fulfill her destiny, much is still needed of Christ the breaker down of dividing walls.
In addition, have been reading a terrific–almost midrashic book- by an Irish priest called “Leaping”. Lots of joy and hope that God is unique in His expressions through each of us, and just wanting to enjoy being Himself in us. It resonates deeply with my heart’s song of God’s pleasure in expressing Himself through each of us uniquely–God enjoying the poem of Himself through us. That when we enter this, we feel, as David did in Psalm 139, the way of meditating on God through the uniqueness of our own identity! Each of us His Poems (Ephesians 2:10)
We are preping for Summer tours of eastern europe and arts festivals, and thrilled to have some folks coming with us this year, to taste the nations, and the different parts of The Body. I am going to get to be part of some leadership dialogues at Slot festival in Poland, and then amy and i are co-hosting a gathering of artist in the south of france–so should be rich and lots of God getting to be HIMSELF! Giving Him room to be, seems important just now.
Also we will be getting to meet and spend time with Pieter Bos of “Serving the Nations”, and amazingly insightful dutchman and his wife who ministers at the UN this summer. He wants to come to belgium and tour some art museums with us, so we are excited by that, getting to glean some from the older wiser ones! He has been knowing cities and nations much longer than us, and has a heart for people encountering the personalities of cities and nations as God does.
I am also working on a book just now, and trying to tell some of the story of my times in way which captures some of the life of what I have been privileged to bear witness to in my life.
While in North Carolina, also got to bear witness to the dedication of the Billy Graham museum–three presidents spoke, and God was happy. It ain’t cultural, but something larger than just one nation or one section of a nation! I felt Billy Graham’s humility and wisdom and his love of his wife!
I was able to be at the last Billy Graham evangelism conference in Amsterdam several years back, and felt priveleged as he commisioned so many missionaries from that place to go out with that particular power to carry the gospel of salvation. I feel so privileged to have grown up near so many men of such caliber-including my own father!
On another hand, hoping to visit Marc Chagal’s–one of my favorite Jewish artist, who did the opera ceiling in Paris—chapel he did just before his death. It is in Nice, france, near where we will be holding our gathering. I visited once, and it is amazing! He painted the whole old testament (torah) on a piano–you lift it up and there are all the prophets, major and minor–and conversing inside a piano, a metaphore of sound, music–perhaps the most abstract and direct art forms! He also did all the stain glass windows in the chapel–and each face the correct direction to illuminate them in the order of the key revelations of the Old Testament. I just love the use of symbol, even down to when light hits a certain window!
Today, I have been working on a poem about my time in Jerusalem. I went to school there for a year, and worked for an arab family near the damascus gate. I lost most of my writings at the border, bec they seemed a bit suspicious to a border guard, but they were mostly poems celebrating the essence of jerusalem and its humanity, and pulse. I miss living there.
Anyways, within a few weeks we will be back on european roads, which i also miss, and journeying with The Jones to slot fest, and getting to see our friends from prague; so we are excited to still be alive, and still be a place God can download parts of Himself, for His pleasure.
May He richly bless your summers!! Keep us ALIVE in You Lord!