Becoming otherworldly

I discovered a new television channel the other night. There was nothing new on my DVR and my Netflix account wasn’t working properly, so I was stuck having to search through commercial filled  TV channels to find something to watch. It was a rough night…and also  the epitome of ‘first world problems.’ Eventually, though, I stumbled across  the AXS TV channel. It’s a channel that usually goes unnoticed, tucked away past my usual television stomping ground of ESPN, A& E and the History Channel. Turns out, the AXS channel shows concerts and other music-inspired media. Not too bad of a discovery. And it just so happened that at nine o’clock on a Sunday evening an older John Mayer concert was on. For those who know me, this is a beautiful discovery analogous to finding a substantial balance left on a Starbucks gift card.

John Mayer inspired a previous blog post of mine because, well, I love him. (Actually, I love his music… not him per say) It’s true. I am a big a fan of his and he said something on AXS TV that was captivating. John was describing a musician’s journey and shared that musicians as a lot are all about continuity. There is this continuation among st musicians where you can pick out their sound and style and connect it to people who’ve gone before them. John mentioned his music is heavily influenced by the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmy Hendrix. According to John, he was drawn to these two in particular because their guitar playing was ‘otherworldly.’ There was something about the way they not only played their instruments, but embodied the musical experience that to him was life-changing. John believed Stevie and Jimmy were two quiet souls who tapped into this alternate existence and he had them to thank for his current sound. In his mind they became otherworldly.

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Going Home

I’ve always wondered if heaven will feel familiar. When we arrive, will it be like walking down our street or eating at our favorite restaurant? I’m not sure, of course, but I can’t imagine it feeling foreign. When we get there, I don’t envision needing an orientation meeting. I doubt Peter is standing at the gates with a clipboard and red double-decker bus, instructing us to board for the four o’clock sight-seeing tour. No, I imagine heaven is familiar. Instead of feeling lost, we recognize the sights and sounds. It will feel like going home.

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Homesick for a place we’ve never been

 

There is a beautiful line in the movie Garden State where Zach Braff and Natalie Portman talk about coming home. Zach’s character  has returned home to find things are different and will never be the same. He goes on to say you become “homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist.”  I love that line. I wonder if the church is a gathering of people who are  homesick as well. But not for a place that doesn’t exist, but for one we’ve never been to.

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Ecuadorian Hospitality

I like to coin my own phrases. My wife tells me this is very “Michael-Scott” of me (you know, the boss from the TV show The Office), but I do it anyway. One of my coined phrases is “There’s always room at my table.” I started saying that a few years ago. I guess it’s because there is something incredibly significant about sharing a meal with someone…and when people sit at my table, I just feel good about myself. Sometimes we serve food at church and I love seeing how many people we can fit around one table. When you  think about it, there is something special happening when we share food and drink and invite others to join us. We open up our lives and give of nourishment, but we also give of ourselves. The whole ordeal is quite intimate. It’s a beautiful picture of the Christian life–a life of reckless hospitality. A life focused on giving and receiving.

Last summer I spent a few weeks in Ecuador.  I quickly learned how giving and welcoming the Ecuadorian people are, and also how quickly you become family. During our stay, we took a couple of days to visit a small town on the beach. It was quaint, with unpaved roads, small buildings, and houses running throughout. Children played barefoot in the street. It only took a few minutes to walk through the entire town and the whole time you could hear the ocean crash upon the shore.

Carlos and Jeannette

We stayed the weekend with a couple named Carlos and Jeanette. Carlos was an Ecuadorian and his wife, Jeanette, was from Georgia. They had been married for many years and most of their lives were spent in the states. Now, Carlos and Jeanette were both retired and they decided to move to Ecuador for their golden years. They had an incredible house that sat right on the beach on the edge of town. It was a two-story house, with views of the ocean no matter where you stood. Carlos built the house a few years earlier and had made trips back and forth from Georgia to Ecuador to supervise the construction and progress. I soon learned Carlos had a lot to teach us.

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