Frodo: “I can’t do this, Sam.”
Sam: “I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”
Frodo: “What are we holding onto, Sam?”
Sam: “That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.”

“If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” William Wilberforce

“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” – Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the gritty beauty of being human. There’s much that we learn from poets, but maybe one of the most important things that we learn from them is how to be human. While humanity is fallen and broken, there is an underlying thing/thirst/desire in our soul that “longs for Eden”(as John Elderedge puts it). Something comes alive in us when we see stories of transformation, of love, and of justice. Perseverence, doing the hard things to see the just thing accomplished, makes our hearts come alive. I think that’s why we love people like Wilberforce and Francis of Assisi: their eyes were opened, and the revelation they received changed the direction of their lives.

This video is one of Rich Mullin’s last concerts before his death (in a car accident). I grew up on Rich’s music and worked for a time with “The Legacy of a Kid Brother of St. Frank” (a ministry that was started to carry on his legacy on the Native American reservations). Last year there was a movie filmed on his life (actually, both a documentary and feature – here’s the movie’s facebook, and twitter), so I thought as a release date comes in the near future, it’d be good to share a couple of Rich video clips that have inspired me: (production quality is a little raw – stick with it though. His interaction with the crowd is always awesome, and definitely hit: 2:15)

I believe that God wants us to experience all that life can hold for us. I find the High Priestly prayer of Jesus so interesting. Just as we hear in people’s last words, in John 13-17 it really seems to show Jesus telling His disciples ‘heart stuff.’ As if to say, “I’ve shown you stuff and I’ve told you stuff, and this is what I want you to remember – this is what I long for you to experience…” He says much about love, unity, joy, hardships, and most importantly, identity.

I guess what I’m feeling is that the Call of Jesus is captivating. The challenge is high, but so is the appeal and the possibility to experience greatness. It captures our imagination, and makes us hope for miracles. It is adventure. It is danger. “When Christ calls a man,” Bonhoeffer writes, “he bids him to come and die.” And in the words of the rabbi, Himself, “whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). There is an all-or-nothing call to be sure, but also the grace filled reality that when we fail (not if) there is grace and forgiveness. It’s not a call to an activity per se, but to a new way of life. Without knowing who we are in Christ, this Call is crushing. Without knowing how we are loved it is a stone of legalism that can suffocate. BUT if it is heard through ears of Covenant, it is not about death, but about Life Abundantly and about peace (not as the world gives). Then it is a joy filled revelation that we are living for another Kingdom.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full (John 15:7-11). – Jesus

So let’s LIVE. Let’s do it together. As Donald Miller tweeted back in March: “Lets choose to do something really difficult, something that saves lives, and lets do that thing with people we love.” Because after all, the High Priestly prayer wasn’t the end. Jesus rose again, and the last, last thing He told us as He ascended into Heaven was: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20). It’s not over. So, let’s live like every day is our last (and our first). Here’s one last Rich Mullins clip from the end of the concert that was shown above (at least hit 13:30):