On Mount Sinai, God established a covenant with his people. It was a covenant etched quite literally into two stone tablets. This covenant established the relationship between God and his chosen people. On the outset, it seemed so simple. After all, God had done all the heavy lifting. He had heard their cries in the land of Egypt, brought them out with a mighty outstretched arm, enabled them to walk through the Red Sea on dry ground, and protected them in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. They didn’t have to earn that right; they didn’t have work towards this blessing. Instead, they are given a law, one set in stone, that would guide how they live. All they were given to do was live lives that reflected the blessings of their God. They were to have no other god’s before them, not use the Lord’s name in vain, and remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. The list, of course, goes on, but we don’t need to go much further to see that they failed to keep their end of the covenant.

It used to be that people shunned the use of a mask. Outside of Halloween or playing pranks on our friends, a mask was nothing to be proud of. Sure, we might praise the masked surgeon, fighter pilot, or hero running into danger to save others, but it is in the taking-off of the masks that we find cause for joy and celebration. For it is in the removal of the mask that we see their humanity, we see they are one of us. The fact that there remains a kinship between us and them offer us the promise and hope of potential glory.

Dearest War,

Waking up this morning I felt that sick stone pressing on my lungs again. Breath a little short, metal spoon-like keeping me from inhaling the bright dawn. Throbbing pools held back just behind the shell of my face. Not enough power to let it down, to let them fall, to release.

It is a most pleasurable and painful need of His image: To speak, to sing, to form, to make. Our hands were sculpted to press a moldless form into beauty. Our eyes were crafted to dream color into a dark grey vision. Our lips were shaped to taste the ever-sweeter sensations that we could conceive. We were fearfully and wonderfully designed to create like the Creator.

I feel genuinely sorry for people who do not go to a church that follows the old church calendar. Not that it will necessarily make the preaching better or ensure the handing over of the gifts of God, but as an organizing principle the movement of seasons and times throughout the year gives us something powerful, something beautiful, something to help drive our attention and focus. Could you imagine not having the season of Lent?

In the middle of the night, that’s when I fear unlove. Whatever light shone during the day, its not guaranteed that it will come back again in the morning. I wonder on my pillow if I did the right thing, said enough words, made my warmth accessible enough to you. I wonder in the darkness if you will be kind to my vulnerability, patient with my emotions, present in the raw moments.