Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Tonight at Deeper I decided to spend some time reading my Bible. Regardless of what is going on in the service, Deeper has really become more of a time that I set aside to spend time with God in whatever way I feel like that night (worship, prayer, Bible reading, journaling, etc.). I decided to start with the book of Matthew since I've recently seen Godspell, a musical loosely based on the Gospel of Matthew.

As I read, different things stood out to me. I enjoyed just reading through, pausing to reflect on certain passages. And then I got to chapter 9. My Bible is New Living Translation, and here's what Mt 9:19-22 says: "As Jesus and the disciples were going to the official's home, a woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, 'If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.' Jesus turned around and said to her, 'Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.' And the woman was healed at that moment." I've certainly heard this story before. But the word "daughter" caught my eye, and I wanted to see how this story was told in other gospels.

Luke  8:43-48 is the other telling of this story. This account gives more details. It says, "And there was a woman in the crows who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent everything she had on doctors and still could find no cure. She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. 'Who touched me?' Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, 'Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.' But Jesus told him, 'No, someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.' When the woman realized that Jesus knew, she began to tremble and fell to her knees before him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. 'Daughter,' he said to her, 'your faith has made you well. Go in peace.'"

This woman is desperate. She has done everything she can to get well, spent everything she had trying to find a cure. She knows Jesus is the answer, that he has the power to end her pain. But she doesn't do what most of the other people Jesus healed did. They went up to Jesus and asked him to heal them. She crept up behind him. If she was anything like me, maybe she felt like she didn't want to bother Jesus. He was obviously a very important man, and he was on his way somewhere to do something important. Maybe she didn't want to bother him, but she was desperate. So she sort of got her miracle on the sly. Except Jesus knew right away that something was up. And again, I think the woman reacted like I would; she was afraid of Jesus' reaction. I bet she was afraid Jesus would say, "Who do you think you are? You don't even have the courage to ask me to heal you? And now you're holding up this entire group when we're on our way to do something important!" Plus, she went through the embarrassment of telling everyone what was wrong with her!

I think the woman was probably stunned at Jesus' reaction. He did not condemn her. He did not yell at her or belittle her. He called her daughter. He commended her faith. And he told her to go in peace.

Sometimes when I pray, I feel like I'm bothering God. After all, he has a whole planet full of people to take care of. Who am I to catch his attention? But I do believe in the power of prayer. I know God can do anything. I really needed this reminder that God doesn't want us to feel bad for asking him to meet our needs. He isn't going to be fooled anyway, so why not boldly go to him with my requests? I am his daughter, and he cares about my pain, and he loves it when I have faith.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Theatre and God

Today I went to see Godspell at my alma matter. I know the director and was excited to see how the show looked set in a high school. Plus, I knew at least one of my friends was in the show, and I want to support theatre because it's not the strongest program there.

This was the third time I have seen this play performed, and they were all in different settings. The first time I saw it was at a neighboring high school. The second time was community theatre, and this time it was at a Christian university. This is a show that lends itself to lots of interpretation for setting and costume. Unlike most shows, it's not a linear story. It's a series of sketches of Jesus' parables that are acted out by Jesus and the group who is with him (basically disciples, specifically John the Baptist and Judas). The second act contains the Last Supper and the crucifixion. It's funny, it's serious, it's a neat musical.

It has been moving every time I've seen it, especially the crucifixion, but there was something so special about this production. I knew beforehand from talking with the director that the cast went through an exercise of writing out their character bios (the background and personality of their character), and then, in character, they shared those bios with the Jesus character. The director is the only other person who got to see this. As I watched the show, I saw how it made a difference that Jesus really knew the heart of every person onstage. There was a kindness, a love that was so moving to watch. There was a moment with "the loner" that was so touching I started to cry.

The whole point of doing that exercise was to really show that connection that Jesus has. The high school kids didn't know each other's stories. They were just who they were on the outside: the jock, the cheerleader, the misfit, the brain, the loner, the prom queen, etc. But Jesus (who was the janitor, by the way), really knew the truth. The director talked about how he wanted that to mirror Jesus' relationship with his followers in real life.

I'm a very tactile person. I have a very hard time grasping theories and big pictures; I'm more about the specifics and what I can identify with my senses. So even when I read in the Bible, I have such a hard time picturing that Jesus loves me personally. He isn't here to give me a hug or talk with me, and sometimes it's hard to believe he hears me when I pour out my pain and frustration. This is what I love about theatre, how it gives substance to things we can't experience ourselves. I want so badly to use theatre to communicate these truths in a way that hearing a sermon or reading words on a page just can't. Theatre is living and breathing, and the potential for this tool is so much more than we even know.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


In the past few weeks, three people that I know have passed away. So I've been thinking a lot about death and loss and relationships. I admit that I haven't lost anyone that I saw regularly, so the losses in my life, while painful, have been easier for me to deal with. I haven't lost a parent or a best friend unexpectedly. And while I'm afraid it might sound callous, it's been easier for me to deal with the deaths of people I didn't see as often. It's easier to hold on to the good memories rather than constantly feel the loss of future memories. Sure, I miss people more when I'm at weddings and I know this would have been a big event, but the day to day life is easier to bear.

I've also been thinking about relationships that are lost for other reasons. Those have been much harder for me to deal with in my life. For example, I was very close to someone in college. Our relationship was probably too close, in truth. Our emotional lives kind of meshed together in a way that was kind of messy and not always good for us. But it ended up blowing up, kind of all of a sudden. I was very caught off guard by how things turned out, and I just couldn't process and adapt fast enough to accept changes that happened in my friend's life. I still feel a lot of grief over how our friendship ended. I feel bad for my part of not being able to sustain the friendship. Yeah, I'd be amenable to see if we could still be friends, but unfortunately, with the way things ended, I don't know how I'd even begin to approach this person. So much has happened, so much has changed. I do wish I could apologize, because I know there was a time in my life when I was a terrible friend to everyone around me. I was incredibly selfish, and even though I was going through a rough time, that was not an excuse for how I treated the people around me.

Another example is that I had a relationship that ended abruptly when I left school. It was a more professional, working relationship, but it was with a person I respected. Because of the suddenness of my departure from college,  there were things that happened that still feel unfinished. I did not get closure on some pretty significant things, and I still struggle with my feelings about certain people, certain events.

As I think about the different loss and pain I've felt throughout my life, I think there is something so healing about finality. When someone dies, it's terrible and it hurts, but it's final. As time goes by, you learn to adapt and keep living your life. When you lose other relationships, whether with a friend, colleague, or (I'm assuming) a significant other, I think it's harder. It doesn't always feel final. I wonder if I should do something to mend the relationship, or if it's time to let it be. I wonder how the other person is doing, what's going on in their life. I wonder if they ever think of me, because I do think of them. I miss the good times. I'm sad for the ugly things that happened. I agonize because they are still out there living their lives, and I am living my life, and they are no longer connected.

Maybe it's more a question of forgiveness and letting go. When someone has passed away, you know there is no more chance for reconciliation or an apology. You kind of just have to let go. It's far easier (for me, anyway) to hold on to pain from someone still out there. Maybe someday, someone who hurt me will realize it, seek me out, and apologize. But that's not likely. I know I need to learn to forgive and let go even if I never get closure or an apology.

I know my thoughts aren't quite cohesive in this post, but I don't care. I start so many blog posts that I never get back to editing, so I'm trying to just write something and let it be, whether it's "perfect" or not.