A Covering…a Safe Place

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Do you remember climbing trees when you were a kid?  Oh, surely you do!  I can remember climbing many trees…none of them were safe in our neighborhood from our adventurous scrambling up their branches. 

Especially me!  I remember climbing up the rough branches to see far and wide.  I remember climbing to win.  I remember climbing to discover and explore the woods and world around me.   I remember climbing to be safe from who was after me since we were always playing chase or hide-n-go-seek with someone!  I remember being scared because I was too far up the tree and then scared to go down the tree.   One day when we had company from out of town, us kids were climbing trees in our back yard.  In the really, really, fast blink of an eye I remember falling out of the top of a willow tree.  I landed flat on my back…winded.  I was unable to talk for awhile and just laid there and blinked and gasped like a fish out of water.  It was so hard to look cool in front of my cousins as I wheezed there on the ground!  I can’t help but smile since I, of course, am older and able to see the humor in it now.

I also see that in living out in the country – these massive live oak trees remind me of the adventure as a kid as well as the covering they now provide to those of us living under them.  I think of the power in the Word of God where God said in Isaiah 61…you will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.  I think of the depth of the roots in the ground…and remind myself that His Word is deep within me and no storm can change my faith. 

Just yesterday I was out riding my Dad’s 4-wheeler .  A neighbor’s horses were grazing on one side.  Another neighbor’s cows were grazing on the other side.  The crickets were chirping.  The birds were singing.  And the wind was drifting through the branches of the live oak trees over me.

I had brought my camera with me and snapped several pictures of the trees.  I guess I am just drawn to them at this moment in my life.  Things have been really hard.  It doesn’t mean that I am not blessed…you can be grateful but it still be hard.  I have had some personal changes recently because in January I resigned from my job…and was diagnosed with a serious medical condition…almost on the same day!  Talk about winds of change.  My health is almost back to normal now, thank you, Jesus and I love being in the country with my family.  But emotionally, sometimes  I find myself remembering how it was to climb a tree.   Maybe to hide again…like I did as a child?  I think so.  For real.  Not because I don’t trust the One who made the tree.  I do trust Him.  Not because I don’t feel rooted in His Word.  I know that I am.  But, being real right now…I truly need the rest.  I need to just lean back against Him and hear His whisper.  I could just sit in a swing hanging out of those massive branches and just ride the wind with Him….over and over again.

But seasons change… and spring will turn to summer, and summer will turn to fall.  Restoration is His promise…again in Isaiah 61, as well as beauty for ashes.   Smile.  I know that He will reveal His new plans for me…and new adventures!

Hiding in Him is a good thing.  Hiding from the world He loves is another.  THAT my friends, is real.  He pours in us…that we pour on others.  Holy fountains are what we are….how beautiful is that? 

In closing, I see the live oak branches hanging over my window as I write this.  What a beautiful reminder of Him…in this season.  And you my friend, I pray that you see His covering over you, in your season.

Patti Corbello Archer

April 1, 2012

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The Last Supper……..Story 3 of 3

min-jesus-and-apostlesCommunion has always been a place of honor and remembrance for me with Jesus.  My most precious times to share communion is when it is just He and I at home.  I repent, I surrender and I love on Him and it never fails that I hear an echo in my spirit that says, “Do this in remembrance of me…I want you to remember me, Patti.”  And I respond, “I remember you, Holy One…I do, I do, remember you.”

He always makes our communion encounters powerful.  Once as I held the goblet of juice I had a strong spiritual impression of Him standing in front of me…cupping my hands and holding the goblet for me to drink from.  Another time it was like He held my head as I drank from His cup.

I just feel with everything in me that He wants me to KNOW how much it matters to Him.  There is nothing casual about it.  How can there be?  How can I not remember Him?

And then I wonder what it would have been like to be one of His disciples that last week as they entered Jerusalem…hearing the voices of the people calling out to Jesus in the streets, “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  I know that truly the voices of the people that Jesus came to save reached high to the balcony of the heavens that day.  But only Jesus could hear the glorious roar from which all of heaven responded.

And even some time later I can easily imagine the flurry of activity as the disciples and Jesus arrived at their destination, a large upper room, already prepared for the Passover supper.  And here my friends, is where my story begins today.  We will step in and let young John, the youngest disciple, show us what it might have been like.   I can already see him running up the staircase to catch up to Jesus…as they all walked through the prophesied door of destiny.

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Everyone was enjoying this time with Jesus at the Passover supper.  To recline around the table was to literally enjoy the freedom this night was in remembrance of.  John was always so excited to listen to all the stories of his ancestor’s deliverance from Egypt.  He himself was taught the stories as a young lad.  As a Jew, sharing these generational stories and teachings were some of his favorite traditions — never forgetting who he was nor where he came from.  But sharing them with his Lord was the joy of his life.

John always made sure to get one of the seats closest to Jesus. He knew that his relationship with Jesus was personal.  He could see the spark in Jesus’ eye and being the youngest disciple gave him a few advantages – and he certainly enjoyed that!  But sincerely, John loved Jesus more than anything or anyone that he had ever loved before.  Even tonight, to be able to watch all the disciples recline around the table and listen attentively as their Master spoke was one thing.  But for him, sometimes he just wanted to get as close as he could to Him – to touch Jesus as he leaned back against him – as his Lord breathed, spoke and shared Himself.  Relationships mean different things to different people John knew – but he just wanted to be in His presence.  And John knew that Jesus wanted him there!  Knowing you are loved is powerful!

Sometimes John even thought he saw a secret in Jesus’ eye…like He had a surprise for him one day…something special that he would give to no one else.  One of these days I need to ask him about it John thought.  I wonder what that revelation might be?  Oh, well, one day I will ask him.

John loved listening to Jesus.  His voice had a way of talking not just to your ears…but to your heart.  He talked with wisdom and authority but without all the pompousness that you would see in all the religious rulers.  He talked of His Father with such obedience and love that following Him was all you ever wanted to do.  His voice was deep and rich almost like water you could swim in.  There was never an answer He did not know and trusting Him was as easy as breathing for John…and for all the disciples…or for anyone that had ever met Him.  It was a great night and John just listened, relaxed and enjoyed the meal being surrounded by people that he loved, admired and respected.

Suddenly after a brief silence around the table – Jesus said each of our names.  All of us straightened up in our seats and looked at Him.  I watched Him reach out and pick up a piece of bread out of the dish, break it and gave a piece to each of one of us…looking deep into the eyes of every one.  He said, “Take this…eat it…it is my body.”  I took the bread and looked at Him as he watched me eat it.  Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to each of us saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood…poured out for the forgiveness of sins.”  My hand was shaking as I took the cup from Him.  Again, He watched each of us drink from the cup that He offered us.  But ringing in my ears, were his words…my blood poured out…

Then as their first communion meal was ending, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”  I don’t think there was a sound in the room after Jesus said that.  Then like an explosion we all spoke at once – each saying, “No, never, Lord…surely not I!”  Trying to comprehend what was happening, we all looked at each other.  Then lastly, Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”  We all turned our eyes to Jesus.  He never raised His voice but looked straight at Judas and answered, “Yes, Judas, it is you.  Do what you must do quickly.”  As Judas jumped up and ran out of the room, Jesus whispered to all of us, “I will go forth as written…but for Judas, truly it would have been better if he had not been born.”

No one said a word, no one spoke at all.  Everyone knew something unknown was beginning to happen.  Softly at first, then stronger, in Jewish tradition to end the Passover meal, the real Passover Lamb began to sing to God…His Father…and all the disciples joined in.

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Somehow I know that at that point in the heavens, Jehovah God swallowed hard at the hours that He knew were ahead for His Son…and knowing that crucifying and turning His back on Jesus would be the hardest thing that He would ever do.  But He would do it, for even as He was God, it all had to happen.  After all, Jesus was in on the plan.

And in the same upper room where they just shared the last supper…in that same upper room God had another appointment in the near future.  The Holy Spirit was coming…

God always has a plan.  Remember Him…

Creative Story series – 3 of 3

Patti Corbello Archer

August 15, 2011