NEIGHBORHOOD

The Grands have found the joy of childhood. They have friends that live only a few yards away. A barefoot run full of laughter. A stream full of adventures yet to discover. Tree houses with screaming imaginary battles to be fought.. Broken toys refurbished into new toys and bicycles decorating yards – just waiting for the next journey.

It feels as if I am seeing my own childhood through my parents’ eyes as I listen to them play. There is a certain joy that seems to fill me as I watch mothers sitting on the ground in front of their houses as the toddlers explore the smaller confines of their yard. It all sets my mind tumbling backwards. A small yard. A bunny hutch. A dog on a lead wire. Bushes taller than the parents where a kitty grabs some tiny toes and sends me scurrying back to a warm lap and laughter.

“Praise the LORD!
I will thank the LORD with all my heart
as I meet with his godly people.
How amazing are the deeds of the LORD!
All who delight in him should ponder them.”

It is good to see the resurgence of this type of neighborhood. It is good to hear the older children fighting imaginary dragons. It is good to see a neighborhood model that I thought had been lost to the ravages of a technological age. And I am – oh – so praying that it is not an isolated one. I’m praying that across this nation, parents are walking out their doors, sitting in the yards with their kids, talking to their neighbors and allowing their children to fall, pick themselves up and explore the small part of the world around them.

Our world is a scary one on so many levels. I do worry about those Grands when I can’t see them as I’m sure my parents and Grandmother worried about me. Yet, I remember walking to my Grandma’s when I was pretty young. I remember sitting in her garden while she showed me which plant was a weed and which plant was food. I remember running to my friends’ homes when I was the age of the Grands until I heard the three beeps of a car horn which sent me running for home.

“Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
He causes us to remember his wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our LORD!”

I think from a very young age, Our Father let me see what the Garden could have been for all His children. I think He is letting me see it again through the joy of the Grands during this Lenten season for a reason. I’m not quite sure what that reason is yet – but you can betcha – I’m looking for more wisdom everyday. Nothing is a coincidence in this life. Nothing.

As we travel through these last few days of the 2017 Lenten walk, I can’t help but wonder if Rabbi Yeshua was thinking and feeling much the same way as I am tonight. He could see the ugliness around Him. He could see the hazy shape of the cross in the skies just over the hills. Listening to the children laugh. Watching them explore the wonders of their world. Praying for them and their parents with each step that he took towards Jerusalem.

“All he does is just and good,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.
They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.”

I’m sure the Jewish world was every bit as scary – probably more – as our world is today. Much more than I can imagine. An occupied country with all the pain and atrocities that come with it. A religion that was constantly under attack – and this is where Our Father sent His Son. To a land that needed Him the most. To a people that were stuck between that proverbial “rock and a hard place”. To a few that were still seeking and willing to explore the world with child-like eyes of faith.

“He has paid a full ransom for his people.
He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.
Praise him forever!”~Ps 111

A son who would pay the ransom for His people. A son who guaranteed His Father’s covenant with them forever and added a new covenant for those who had been separated from the flock.

A Son who – like Issac did for Abraham – heeded His Father’s voice when He called.
A Son who – like Issac did for Abraham – rode a donkey to a hazy mount in the distance as His Father walked beside him.
A Son who – like Issac did for Abraham – carried the wood to the top of the top of the mount for His Father
A Son who – like Issac did for Abraham – would voluntarily lay himself down to be bound to that wood.
A Son who – unlike Issac who heard Abraham’s voice at the top of that mount – – – a Son who endured the absolute silence of His Father’s voice.
A Son who, indeed, sacrificed His life for the redemption of all – a redemption that would last for all people everywhere – for all time and beyond – so that His Father’s voice would never be silenced again and His children that had walked in darkness would see a great Light.

One day, the Garden gates will be thrown open and there will be many neighborhoods where parents and grandparents can sit upon their lawns, sharing with one another the beauty of the day. Children will explore wildly as their laughter, joy and song float all around the neighborhood. I feel so blessed tonight. Blessed to have caught a glimpse of His gifts once again. Blessed to hear His words echoing in my heart. Blessed to close my eyes and look forward to the Light that is just beyond that far hill. Blessed to begin the walk forward towards it.  [google images]

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