lucy in the sky with lovedrug and songs in the key of life

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This morning I was still looking for the best that was yet to come. It didn’t.

Lucy walked by at 7:15 this morning, but this time without a smile. I sprung up from my chair and gushed, “Lucy, we were so sorry you couldn’t make our dinner last night.” She said sternly, “I was here on Tuesday night. I thought you said Tuesday night.” Her hope drained eyes made my heart ache. On Tuesday morning I had invited her to our beach dinner on Wednesday night. I had specifically said Wednesday night. Tuesday night our plans were to hang out at the local mall. It sickened me to think Lucy was anxiously waiting at the beach for us while we were killing time being passionless mall rats.

I apologized to Lucy that we had gotten our signals crossed. I asked Lucy if we could try another night. She was short and terse with her glaring “no.” I asked if I could bring her breakfast tomorrow morning. She said, “Maybe next year.” Ouch. Our conversation was uncomfortable, but I managed to keep my head above the obvious and rough high tide waters of Lucy’s dashed hope. Explaining how my family really wanted to meet her, I went on to promise I would wake the gang early tomorrow morning just so they could say hello. A slight 85-year-old sparkle returned. Lucy inquired of my two silly bands. She had never seen one. I took off one of mine and placed it on her wrist. With that she began to head back down the beach. I’m not sure what I could have done differently, but the pit in my stomach was signaling failure. Ugh.

Lucy walked off into a literal and metaphorical distant shoreline using her walking sticks, and then disappeared where water met the cloudless blue sky. This whole Lucy thing felt like eternity was and is at stake. The glorious adventure turned out to be a bust for now… but nonetheless still an adventure.

There was spiritual battle going on. I wasn’t fighting Lucy or myself, but rather darker, spiritual authorities (Ephesians 6 reminded me). I just wanted the opportunity to speak and boldly make known the mystery of the gospel… the good news that I think Lucy needs. (more Ephesians 6).

Twas a bummer morning, dude. As I explained it all to Sherry, I could sense her sense of failed mission as well. Lord, please give me a constant passion and mission for people wherever and whenever I’m breathing… whether on study break or back in Atlanta. Make my heart beat and ache like it did today, Lord. Make my heart like Yours.

If the Lucy thing wasn’t enough, my two oldest daughters left today. Definitely more ugh. Brooklynn and Lauren are driving back to Atlanta for a big concert tomorrow night with a national band called Lovedrug. Lovedrug schmugdrug… I didn’t want my daughters to leave. Sherry said something about this leaving and being away from us stuff is only going to increase when it comes to the kids. I told her I wasn’t going to be very good at this.

I shuffled back to the beach like a grumpy old man feeling a bit defeated and melancholy. A few worship songs from Steve Fee lightened my heart, but then I scrolled through my ipod to some old school Stevie Wonder. A few choice selections from the album, “Songs In the Key Of Life” transported me back to my junior year in high school. Mom and dad were divorced, and I was living with mom, my sister Lynn, and my brother Greg. Because of my gracious Uncle Dave, the four of us lived in a two bedroom, one bath apartment. Although mom had to go back to work and living space was tight, I don’t remember our hard times being hard. Our apartment was the place many of our friends would hang out. That little brick apartment became a contextualization of good news — the gospel. Mom would make fried spam and macaroni and cheese to enhance a tight budget. I can’t remember complaining as I always loved my mom’s cooking. So did my friends… and I’d bet that was worrisome to my mother.

God seemed to be stirring some needed and comforting memories of growing up and home as I listened to “Always” from Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In the Key Of Life. Imagine that. I wasn’t, as Hirsch and Frost write (The Shaping Of Things To Come), defining holiness by what I wasn’t doing, but rather by hallowing and redeeming the everyday through a 70’s tune. Hmmm. Ancient rabbis are known for saying that one day we will all stand before God and He will judge us for all the possible pleasures He gave us to enjoy, but we failed to enjoy. I was enjoying and needing and redeeming some Stevie Wonder.

I think this is some of what the girls are trying to do with their Lovedrug concert tomorrow night. They want to redeem and redirect pleasure and life. They want to smash the prominent, not-yet-made-holy thinking that says the Church suppresses life. Too many believe that Christianty denies pleasure and nullifies life. This was not how Jesus lived his Jewish idea of L’chaim and life.

I believe this was what I was trying to do with Lucy. I wanted to enter into her life and unique cultural context in the same way Jesus came as “Emmanuel.” I had hoped a beach dinner, wine and cheese, a glorious sunset, great conversation, and enjoying life would be more about an incarnational Jesus than it was anything about Alan or another notch on my evangelism belt. But alas… it all feels like failure. We’ll see what happens tomorrow morning — my last morning here.

I hope the girls fair better than I as they contextualize and play with Lovedrug. I’m glad God doesn’t separate secular and sacred, and can use a Stevie Wonder song. I hope I can continue to lead and teach at a church where we’re figuring out how all of life is to be enjoyed and lived missionally, incarnationally, and sacred. [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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