October 25, 2010

Lessons from Sky Church.

I didn't take this; I wish I'd snapped yesterday's view.

Again, it was Sunday-on-the-job, and again, I was no where near a traditional church. Instead, I was dizzily zooming between three time zones and mouthing the "to fasten, insert the metal tip into the buckle and pull the strap until it's low and tight" speech (2-3 planes per week? Chyeah. Got it, Delta.) alongside Suzy Flight Attendant.

But then I looked out my window. Good grief. I couldn't find a better temple in which to praise our God:  plane after plane of brilliant white cloud spun in the most dazzling pristine silkish stuff threw light right back at the face of the One who sent the sunlight down in the first place.

I couldn't even look at it without my little green eyes watering. But then again I have self-diagnosed Photic Sneeze Reflex with 18% of the population and sneeze every single time I look at the sun... I digress.

This view was cool, too: Bucknell University last week. Yes, I sneezed.

ANYWAY, God used this moment to teach me yesterday. Below is the coolest passage ever from Sex God by Rob Bell. Stick it out, please read it:

"So if you were God--which I realize is an odd way to begin a sentence--but if you were God, the all-powerful creator of the universe, and you wanted to move toward people, you wanted to express your love for the world in a new way, how would you do it?

"If you showed up in your power and control and might, you would scare people off. This is what happens at the giving of the Ten Commandments. The first two commandments are in first person: "You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image...for I, the LORD..." But starting with the third commandment, someone else is talking: "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD..." The rabbis believed that this is because God was speaking directly to the people in the first two commands, but they couldn't handle it. As it says in the text, "They with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, 'Speak to us yourself and we'll listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die." So, the rabbis reasonsed, the switch in person is because Moses gave them the remaining eight commandments.

Just God speaking is too much to bear.

If you're God and you want to express ultimate love to your creation, if you want to move toward them in a definitive way, you have a problem, because just showing up overwhelms people. (Cue: I heard one of those David Platt "HA!'s" in my head.)

You wouldn't come as you are.

You wouldn't come in strength.

"You wouldn't come in your pure, raw essence. You'd scare everybody away...

The last thing people would perceive is love.

"So how would you express love in an ultimate way? How do you connect with people in a manner that wouldn't scare them off but would compel them to want to come closer, draw nearer?

"You'd need to strip yourself of all the trappings that come with ultimate power and authority. That's how love works. It doesn't matter if a man has a million dollars and wants to woo a woman, if she loves him for his money, it's never really love...

"So if you were an Almighty Being who'd made the universe and everything in it, you'd need to meet people on their level, in their world, on their soil...like them.

This is the story of the Bible.
This is the story of Jesus."
- Rob Bell

And then I started tearing up right there on an Alaskan Airlines Boeing aircraft somewhere above Montana where the rain drops on the window turn to baby snowflakes. Because God used another "churchless" Sunday to have His way His gospel and with me. Because I love this image of a gentle, loving giant of a Creator that is just so awesome, so indescribable, so worthy, that you and I can't even handle Him. Do you see that??? We can't even handle the true dosage of God. So had this fantastic idea to make a Gospel story.

And so he breaks. it. down...

He gives us our portion everyday.

And even that is enough to rattle our world at 35,000 feet altitude.

And that was the peak of my weekend.


  1. Thank you for sharing this, Ashlyn! Just beautiful the way God uses us :).
    Have a great week.

  2. If you have the time:
    Shop at the University Village.
    Drive over the Evergreen Point Bridge; longest floating bridge in the world.
    Ride the ferry to Bainbridge Island and back; best view of the city.
    Have a Medici at Caffe Ladro.
    Have dinner at Chinook's.

  3. nice post... I would love you forever if you made me a custom header for my collegiate preps blog!

  4. what an uplifting post. I want to have this printed and hung on a wall somewhere. Will for sure be going out in search of that book. Thanks!

  5. No matter where you are God will always put something in front of you and use you, even if it's on a plane. I read that book several years ago, good read.

  6. Ashlyn! This is beautiful! If you like SexGod then you would LOVE Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. Also, have you heard "Airplane" by Bethany Dillon? It's all about sky church. Loves it.


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