Category Archives: Poetry

What Makes the Angels Wonder

Even mainstream culture has a cyclical fascination with angels and angelic beings. Growing up we watched Touched by An Angel as a family. Nicholas Cage had that strange movie about being an angel wearing a trench coat. People buy angel figurines and necklaces for each other as symbols of affection and protection. There is talk of guardian angels even among those who would not call themselves religious.

It is no wonder that angelic beings make us wonder. The reality that an unseen realm exists right alongside our material universe has staying power. Even in our age of materialism when what is real is that which can be measured, prodded, dissected, and recorded, people are loathe to let go of the idea that angels walk and move and serve among us.

While there is much to say about the less visible though no less real realms, my heart has been thinking about what makes the angels wonder.

The Scriptures flat out tell us that, just as we are intrigued and wonder about angels, they are intrigued and wonder at us. Well, to be more specific, they peer from their lofty perches in the unseen realm and wonder at the salvation God has purchased for us.

We, who were intended to be the crown of God’s incredible creation, had quite a tumbling fall. Angels are not unaware of such ignoble falls. After all, the lead angel of light was swept out of the heavens for desiring more power and more prominence than the God under whose authority he was to serve (see Luke 10:18). They know all too well the corruptibility of God’s creation.

They wonder not at our disobedience, but at the incredible condescension of God who stooped to save us, who died that he might once again delight in us.

The Apostle Peter, writing to a beleaguered and bruised, suffering people, sought to remind his tired flock of the incredible wealth they had received in the gospel. He employed the wonder of the angels to that end.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look (1 Peter 1:10–12, emphasis mine).

The angels stand in awe and wonder at the salvation God has secured for us. While we wonder about angels, angels wonder at our purchased place in the kingdom of God.

As a group of ladies and I have been studying the book of Acts, the angels that keep popping into the story for a brief act of helping obedience have stood out to me. They seem to be a funny flock, those angels. They remind me of Navy Seals, prepared and trained to the nth degree. Ready to step in for their crucial service of obedience to help a bungling group of human believers who are seeking to clumsily advance God’s rule and reign on this earth. They pop in, do their role, and peace out as quickly as they came. No agents, no publicity stunts, just unadulterated obedience and service to God.

Angelic Wonder

Angels don’t need agents.
They don’t crave publicity.
They operate in obedience,
Do His bidding in simplicity.

In compassionate condescension,
They buoy beleaguered belief,
Propping up pallor believers,
Bringing resurrection relief.

Sitting on the Savior’s tomb,
Wondering at what He’d done,
Ushering astonished disciples
When the gospel had begun.

Angels follows order exactly,
With God-empowered precision,
Yet they wonder at salvation,
At God’s unthinkable decision.

We know aspects of Adonai
They’ll never understand.
As recipients of redemption,
In God’s great grace we stand.

We were made lower than angels,
Yet, for our souls, Christ came.
As His resurrection lifts us up,
A wonderful salvation we claim.

We stand in a place of redemption that causes angels to wonder. Perhaps we would do well to join them in their wonder at all God has done on our behalf.

On Benefits

When I hear benefits, I immediately think of insurance plans, copays, deductibles, and group numbers. Adulthood will do that to you. Thankfully, when the Scriptures talk about benefits, they speak about something far more incredible than insurance plans.

In Psalm 103, David invites both himself and his listeners to consider and count a very different set of benefits.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:1–5).

As a celebrated king who reigned during the golden era of Israel’s history, David knew a thing or two about benefits. Yet, when he wrote poems and songs, he did not elaborate on his home or the homage given him; rather, he recounted the spiritual blessings bestowed by God.

Paul, when writing to the Ephesian believers, borrowed the financial language of a city familiar with wealth. However, like David before him, he elaborated on the spiritual blessings that are bestowed on those who trust in God. After a short introduction, he presents his thesis and then unpacks it with countless blessings.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3).

The verses following the aforementioned one are replete with rich examples of the benefits of being in Christ. Verses four to fourteen are littered with words like blessed, lavished, fullness, inheritance, and possession. Yet, Paul does not mention physical comfort or financial peace. Rather, he reminds the Ephesians of the spiritual blessings they have in and through the person of Christ.

In a world where we tend to count our IRA’s, our profits, and our bank accounts, the Scriptures command us to count a very different set of benefits. These will not deplete or decay (see Matthew 6:20–21). They cannot be repossessed or reneged. They don’t wrinkle or ruin with age. Unlike all our physical possessions, they pass with us from this lift on to the next.

Benefits

The benefit of bodies,
Powered by pumping hearts,
The care of the Creator
Who every breath imparts.

An inheritor of language,
Born into a world of words,
Woven wide with wonders
His goodness undergirds.

Buoyed by borrowed breath,
Blessed by first and second birth.
Worthless and unworthy, yet
Esteemed at His infinite worth.

Counted among your family
Though failing countless times.
Assurance and endurance,
Separation from our crimes.

Forget not all His benefits;
Rather, recount and rehearse.
For us to receive HIs blessing,
Our Christ took on the curse.

Earthly blessings are bonus.
Hold them lightly as such.
But these eternal benefits,
Count and cherish much.

A Chronicle of Grief

Being a mother has completely transformed the way I experience Easter. It has very little to do with hiding the eggs and everything to do with imagining Holy Week through Mary’s mind and heart. When my kids stub their toes, I cringe. The relatively few times we have had to take trips to the ER (especially considering I am raising three rowdy fellas), I was completely undone watching my children in pain.

This series of poems chronicles the three days from the perspective of Mary, the grief-stricken mother of Christ.

A Chronicle of Grief

Friday
The aroma of anointing oils,
Scents of frankincense and myrrh,
Linen wrapping and a dark cave;
Buried memories begin to stir.

I remember holding him tightly,
Two sets of tear-filled eyes locked.
All was well with the world,
As I my newborn child rocked.

Here and there arrows of fear
Pierced the placid scene,
A Jealous ruler, exile to Egypt,
Prophecies. What does it mean?

Thoughts long stored in my heart,
Reemerge as tears my eyes fill.
Deep down, I knew pain was coming;
But death on a criminal’s hill?

Crazed by love and drunk with pain,
I nearly climbed that shameful tree.
His tear-filled eyes locked with mine,
Saying silently, “Momma, you must let it be.”

As I hold his body, swaddled again,
I rock him with the sways of grief.
My baby, My Son, My treasured One,
Without you, there can be no relief.

Saturday
For a moment, a split-second
In between waking and sleep,
I thought it just a nightmare;
Then realty fell in a heap.

Eyes swollen shut from crying,
Mind splitting in throbs of grief,
Muscles aching, heart breaking;
Even sleep offers me no relief.

Trapped by Sabbath laws,
A grief with nowhere to run.
So livid I could shatter stone,
To simply see my little one.

I want to be near you, my baby,
To lay beside you in that cave.
I cannot face life without you;
How did you beat me to the grave?

Sunday
“Let me be,” I mumbled from bed,
“No visitors today,” I said in sigh.
Yet, John still bounded in,
A glimmer of hope in his eye.

Out of breath from running,
In heaves of adrenaline he spoke,
“Mary -at cave. Stone -rolled away; 
Not there; Somehow he awoke.”

Fragments of news reached my soul,
As I processed what he’d said.
“Could it be, could it be true?
My son, awake from the dead?”

An angel had announced his birth,
He was conceived in a miraculous way.
Yes, Yes, It does make sense.
My son! Alive! What a glorious day!

Leaping with life, I ran to the door
With joyful John at my heels.
Though far too frail to be running,
Joy like strong drink in me reels.

We must, we must find him.
I must hold the son of my womb!
Drunk with joy and crazed with love
I rush to His empty tomb.

I am so thankful that God enabled a very human Mary to endure the unendurable so that we would never have to. Yet far beyond that, I am eternally grateful to the Christ who through His life, death and resurrection has secured a lasting hope for the wayward children of God.  May the Lamb receive the honor due His name this Easter week!

A Legacy of Covenant Love

Every time I walk down a certain hallway in our home, I see, among the family pictures hanging on our wall, a picture that nearly arrests me. A stunning woman looks askance at a handsome, proud young groom. Her eyes show the anticipation we normally associate with weddings, but they also betray a look we don’t expect: a nervousness which is closer to fear than wedding jitters.

She had only met her would-be husband two times, yet she was walking to the altar to vow a covenant of lifelong love to him. No wonder her eyes revealed mixed emotions.

My parents-in-law, as was the custom in their culture, were arranged by their parents. The decision was prayerfully and carefully considered. Each set of their parents saw in the other a good match for their children.

The concept seems foreign to me, one raised in a culture where there is no need for a descriptive adjective before the word marriage. When all marriages are love marriages, chosen by the marrying parties (and often blessed by the parents), there is no need to distinguish between” love” marriage and “arranged” marriage.

As an outsider looking in for the past fifteen years of their long marriage journey, I am astounded at the depths of their relationship. I am humbled by the way friendship and romance grew out of covenant and choice. I am deeply indebted to their marriage, not only for producing my husband, but also for painting a realistic yet regal picture of covenant love.

Their marriage exemplifies what Thomas Hardy so poetically and powerfully captured in his classic book Far From the Madding Crowd.

“Theirs was that substantial affection which arises (if any arises at all) when the two who are thrown together begin first by knowing the rougher sides of each other’s character, and not the best till further on, the romance growing up in the interstices of a mass of hard prosaic reality.

A mass of hard prosaic reality is an understatement. They worked hard to move their family to a foreign nation where they had only tertiary contacts and tenuous hopes. They weathered losing jobs, raising children, and moving multiple times. While there marriage is neither dreamy nor perfect, it is weathered and well-woven.

The strength of their covenant love has been highlighted by over a decade of being tested by the slow, steady decline of Parkinson’s disease. Amma serves as Appa’s primary caregiver, bathing him, feeding him, managing his litany of interventions and appointments. She rarely leaves the house. She has to steal a few moments away for a relaxing trip to the grocery store. Her world has shrunk considerably to match the needs of her hurting husband.

Yet, there are still moments when the two laugh together over Appa’s less-than-lucid thoughts. Playfulness pops out in the midst of the plodding perseverance. Watching her serve him so steadfastly with all of her life literally brings tears to my eyes and refines my view of marriage.

If what C.S. Lewis says about romantic love lighting the slow coals of covenant love is true, their marriage is even more astounding. Their covenant coals were lit only with the fire of promise and trust. They give my husband and I a moving, real-life picture of the love between Christ and His bride.

Covenants and Coals

If romantic love is flame
Lighting covenant coals,
Their love is hard to name:
The arrangement of souls. 

Barely more than strangers,
They vowed longterm love,
Trusting their arrangers,
Depending on God above. 

As they walked through life,
True companionship grew.
As they navigated strife,
One formed out of two. 

After a decade of slow decline,
Years of suffering and serving,
They stand with covenant spine
In their tested love unswerving. 

Coals without first fire lit
Still offer steady heat,
God by His hand has writ
A lifelong love still sweet. 

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

The Seder and The Savior

A few years ago, when my children were three and two years old, I had the brilliant idea of teaching them the deeper significance of the Passover. I studied the Seder meal, went shopping, printed coloring sheets. The whole shebang. My incredulous husband wondered if this was really age-appropriate, but I pressed on.

We sat down and strapped our children into their baby chairs, lit candles and began our walk through the Jewish traditions. It was a total disaster. They spit out the herbs, gagged on the horseradish and chugged the sparking grape juice. I have not yet regained the courage to attempt another Seder in the Joseph household.

Funny story aside,  today I imagined what it must have been like for Jesus to sit down with disciples for the Seder meal. I imagined the familiar scents and flavors which Jesus would have known from years of celebrating the Passover with His family, suddenly becoming ominous as He realized they all pointed to His punishment on the Cross as the second and eternal Exodus of both Jew and Gentile alike.

Thinking of the Savior eating the Seder meal that spelled out His certain death moved my soul to a deeper appreciation for his last Passover in that Upper Room.

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The Seder & The Savior

The Upper Room is ready,
The table carefully set,
The disciples eager to celebrate;
They don’t understand as yet.

The Seder plate stares up at me,
Invading all of my senses,
Sights and smells arrest me,
Alluding my human defenses.

The bitter herbs, they bite me.
Meant to point back to captivity,
Yet they press me to tomorrow
When I’ll be nailed to the tree.

The roasted meat, the Zeroa,
Features the bone of a lamb.
They think of sacrifices past,
Yet I know that I am the ram.

The Beitzah points to desire,
The cries of people to be saved.
The path to their deep desire
Through my death is paved.

Karpas, the parsley-reminder
Of slavery’s back-breaking load,
Smells of relief to them, but to me
Does the darkest day bode.

Charoset paste of apples and wine,
Reminds of the mortar and brick,
To release them from their burden,
I the way of the Cross must pick.

Looking up from the plate, my portion,
I see the familiar faces of my friends.
For them, these sin-sick brothers,
I will drink God’s wrath to the end.

Oh, Father, pass over your people,
Let the punishment fall on me.
Through my ultimate slavery,
Finally set your children free.

The Brave Work of Soul-Searching

We have reached Spring Break, a much-anticipated break from zoom school and being largely housebound. As one with wanderlust raising three boys who crave open spaces to explore and tame, I want to cram these days with outdoor wonder. We are all craving vastness that remind us that we are infinitesimal while our God is infinite. Our plans to visit the Grand Canyon and Sedona will likely deliver deliciously.

Yet, this morning, I woke up thinking about the depths of wonder and unexplored territory that are contained within our chest. While many have explored and mapped trails in the Grand Canyon, few can boast the same about the hidden depths of their own hearts. Scientists chomp at the bit to explore the Mariana Trench, the deepest parts of the ocean still largely unplumbed; however, the human soul contains depths even more profound.

Though they are fist-sized, four-chambered organs, God has set eternity within the human heart and soul. Even Solomon with his precocious wondering mind recognized the wonder within one single human soul.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

While our whole family is looking forward to travel, I don’t want to neglect the traveling within that leads us, by both desperation and awe, to look upward. I look forward to standing in my smallness before a giant crack in the earth’s crust. However, I also want to take the time to teach my children to explore the cracks and crevices in their own souls. To do that, I must first admit the longings and disappointments that befuddle my own heart.

It takes bravery to dive into the strange spaces of a soul. Thankfully, those who trust in Christ have an inner guide in the person of the Holy Spirit who searches all things, even the depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:10). The Spirit never leaves us in self, but presses on onward and upward to Him from whence shall come our help (Psalm 121:1).

As the world opens back up and travel resumes, let us not neglect to travel and explore our own souls, hand-sewn by the scarred hands of our Savior. Such soul wanderlust will lead us to wonder at the One who created and reclaimed our cavernous hearts.

Hidden Depths

The human heart has hidden depths,
Putting the Mariana Trench to shame;
Four-chambered and fist-sized,
It holds vastness difficult to name.

Yet, somehow God has set eternity
Into so confined a single space.
He laces its chambers with longings
Nothing on this earth can erase.

In wanderlust, we travel wide
To tread the wild in wonder
All the while carrying canyons
No explorer could ever plunder.

An honest inner deep dive
Must press us out of self.
Our cravings must be sated
By our Savior’s wealth.

The Pure and Sore in Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God  (Matthew 5:8). 

The Greek word makarios, used repeatedly in the string of beatitudes, literally means happy. Happy are the pure in heart. But so often, when we think pure, we think prudish, stuffy, or pristine. At worst, we think holier-than-thou and inaccessible; at best, we think naive. 

But those who are holy-in-Christ are far from those things. They pure in heart are usually the most sore in heart. They are holy because they wholly know their desperate need. They are pure because their deep knowledge of their deep impurity has led them to the pure One. They see God because they see their sin. And seeing their sin, they see and savor the One who saved them from their sin. 

We are declared pure by imputation. But we become pure by Spirit-led conviction. The more convicted we are of our sin, the more convinced we are that we need for a Savior. The more convinced we are of the love of God for us, the more we are convicted to strive solely after him. 

When my middle-school boys say that someone’s basketball shot is pure, they mean that it seems to flow effortlessly. But what seems so natural to NBA players has been habitually practiced and hourly-honed. While we come by purity simply by way of a Savior, we do not come by it cheaply. A purity so expensively-purchased is meant to be intentionally-practiced. 

Purity comes by way of practice. Singular focus comes by way of straining and striving. Paul, writing to his protege Timothy, who is already pure in Christ, commands him to strive toward purity and righteousness. Before Paul commands Timothy to live as a man of God (imperative; do), he reminds him that he is already a man of God (indicative; done).

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things…to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 6:11-14). 

Note the active commands Paul recommends to one already commended by God: flee, pursue, fight, take hold, keep. This means that the pure in heart sorely moan and groan. The pure are pierced by sin and boxed by their efforts at becoming the pure ones they already are in Christ. They struggle with the hazardous waste they find in their hearts. But their pollution leads them to the pure One. Coming by such a costly purity by Christ alone, they are humble and accessible. 

The Pure in Heart

The pure in heart
Sorely moan.

Stabbed and sutured,
They’re Savior-sewn. 

The pure in heart
Are not pristine.
Polluted and purchased,
They’re Christ-clean.

The pure in heart
Are not starched.
Bent and broken,
They’re heaven-arched,

The pure in heart
Sorely groan.
Strained and stretched,

They’re God-grown. 

Oh, that we might be pure in heart in this Savior-sewn, Christ-clean, heaven-arched, and God-grown way. 

What a Waste

An alabaster jar worth a year of wages. A woman lavish in her love. Practical disciples who call this waste. An intimate betrayer who wastes his friendship with the Christ for 30 pieces of silver. A man willing to waste his life for the unlovely.

The theme of waste is woven into the 26th chapter of Matthew’s gospel.

Hearing this chapter read this morning by my oldest son, the juxtaposition of the beautiful waste of love from the alabaster jar and the treacherous waste of Judas struck me deeply.

Jesus came to her defense when the disciples indignantly asked, “Why this waste?”

“Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the word, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew 26:10-13.

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As he defended this brave women, I cannot help but imagine Jesus thinking of the crowds who would call His life a waste. Just as He came to the defense of the wonderfully wasteful woman, the Father would come to His defense as the crowds mocked His wonderful waste on the Cross.

The Wasteful Ones
Reflections on Matthew 26

They say of her, “Wasted perfume,”
As she breaks her precious jar.
They’ll say of me, “Wasted life,”
As blood flows my body they mar.

There are better ways to invest,”
They say as perfume begins to rush.
“There was so much He could’ve done,”
They’ll say as fluids from me gush.

They say, ”With great needs on earth,
Why does she squander all on one?”
They’ll say, “Our hopes of a new reign
Now with you have come undone.”

I say of her, “You let her be,
Let her lavish her oils on me.
She does a beautiful thing,
Her memory for years will ring.”

He’ll say, “Forgive them.
Pour your love down from that tree.
This is most beautiful deed, my son.”
I’ll cry, “ Totelistai. It is done.”

 Nothing offered to Christ is ever wasted. It is treasured and touted by Christ Himself.

May we find, fill, and break our own alabaster jars.

Laboring for New Life

An entire tribe of my friends are having their first children, which means that I am a pseudo-grandmother. Nearly every month, a new little soul has been joining our growing tribe. As such, I find myself lingering in the baby section at Target and my soul remembering the pangs of labor. As my friends’ bodies repair and as they share their stories of labor and delivery, I am brought back into the agony of the delivery room. The screaming, the writhing, the soreness, the tearing. These all feel fresh and real to me again through their stories.

I am struck this morning by the reality that Jesus saw fit to use the analogy of birth pains when talking about the new creation (Matthew 24:8; . Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used a similar analogy when speaking of the futility of the old creation as it awaits new birth (Romans 8:20-23) and also when he spoke of the process of spiritual formation and discipleship (Galatians 4:19).

The creator of the human body, the One who enabled humanity to take part in physical birth, came to the world by way of a birth canal. He who was present with the Father when He pronounced the curse of increased pain in childbirth became present on the earth through the labor pains of a young girl. It is no wonder, then, that He would delicately draw an analogy between the labor that enables physical birth and the similar labor that enables spiritual birth. He wasn’t merely recognizing the wearying, yet wonderful birthing work of women. Soon, he would be joining them in the greatest labor pains in the history of the world.

“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world” (John 16:21).

Jesus spoke with such authority on these things because He experienced them to the uttermost. On the Cross, He labored to bring the birth of the New Creation. In a sense, He died in childbirth, bearing the unbearable weight of our sin that He might usher in a new creation. Our spiritual birth was not painless, it was purchased.

As we approach Easter, the image of Jesus undergoing the agonizing labor that would produce the new creation in His blood has me in awe.

The Labor of Love

In labor for the new creation
He was broken on the beams.
The pressure of coming promise
Ripped the Promiser at the seams.

The inexhaustible one, exhausted,
Cried out under waves of pain.
The heart of the God-Man heaved
Under wearying waves of strain.

The Son gave up His Spirit,
To usher in many more.
His broken body birthed us,
His death became our door.

The Son, risen and repaired,
Sovereignly swaddles His own.
He smiles on the new creation
For which He once did groan.

A Mascot for Muddled Times

I cannot say we are those with a penchant for excellent mascots. As one whose college mascot was “The Blue Hose” who married a “Purple Paladin,” it should not surprise me that my children’s youth sports teams have featured such mascots as the “The Pink Fluffy Unicorns,” “The Green Ninja Lizards,” and “The Camo Sharks.”

In light of such a streak, it would not seem strange to select the Bereans from the Bible as a mascot for our muddled times. The courage, curiosity, and Scriptural anchoring of these Jewish brothers and sisters have much to speak to us today. Like us, they lived in a time of great upheaval to what they had always believed and been taught. Their spirit of openness to hear from the apostolic band of brothers was balanced by an honest questioning and sifting what they heard through the sieve of Scripture.

For us today, reasoning, idea-mixing, and intellectual dialogue are no longer isolated to a few central locations like the city gate or the synagogue. In fact, there are hundreds of would-be prophets and politicians (both trained and untrained) who offer their opinions and worldview to us at the scroll of a finger. Credible, non-credible, and even incredible sources vie for our attention and our allegiance. Popular voices use their platforms as megaphones, making it hard to turn down the noise. As such, the Bereans who held both the tension between being open-minded and gullible prove an example for us today.

As was his custom upon entering a new area, the Apostle Paul went to the synagogues where he would reason and open the Scriptures, “explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead” (Acts 17:3). After being sent away from Thessalonica for his own safety, Paul and Silas came to Berea and headed directly to the synagogue. The audience they found there left an impression on them.

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men” (Acts 17:11–12).

They were eager, but not too easily swayed. They were curious, but cautious, wanting to search the Scriptures to see for themselves. They were not afraid to reason and reckon before they received what they heard. Their opinions, desires, and long-held customs were not their compass points, the Scriptures were.

After all, what Paul and Silas were sharing with them forced them to have to let go of long-held and long-cherished beliefs and customs. Yet, they did not refuse to listen, entrenching themselves in the bunker of their beliefs. They had open ears but rightly-skeptical hearts. However, when the truths they were hearing aligned with the Scriptures, they were willing to shift accordingly. In a polemical culture where assimilation and fortification are two poles, we have much to learn from the posture of the Bereans. Thus my vote to make them our mascot for a muddled time. If Stanford’s mascot is a tree and Syracuse boasts a giant orange man, biblical Bereans do not seem so strange a selection.

The Bereans

You were meant to conquer,
Yet let a cross conquer you.
You were to upend Rome,
Yet Pilate upended you.

You were to restore our city,
Yet You died outside its gate.
You were to usher in a kingdom,
Yet You were ushered out in hate.

I’ve seen the Scriptures all my life
They’ve been my utmost concern.
But hints of the Suffering Savior
Shout as each page I now turn.

The living logos has leveled
A lifetime of cultural learning.
The Holy Spirit stirs my soul,
For a better king I’m yearning.

I love the model the Bereans left us. I love how the Spirit saw fit to inspire Luke to include their example in the book of Acts. For those who say the Scriptures are not relevant to our time, the Bereans say otherwise. Oh, that we would be more like them, that we would raise children more like them. Oh, that we would be more committed to the searching the Scriptures for what God is saying than using them scaffold what we want to them to say.