I don’t want to talk about Kodiak yet, where it’s raining and blowing, and where we barreled in for a rocky landing in the midst of a storm a few days ago.
And I don’t want to write about the elections. (My guy lost.)
My body is still in Mongolia. Today we’re all about superlatives and world records. So—-here it is. The biggest boot in the world! You’d better sit down for this . ..
Of course it’s a Mongolian boot. You’ll find it housed beneath the biggest equestrian statue in the world featuring the national hero Genghis Khan, who conquered and ruled over the second largest empire in the world, EVERYTHING about this monument is gaspingly massive and impressive, including the horizon-stretching steppes the Khan presides over.
(You can see that late October is a very good time to visit the sights. There were about 10 other people there.)
(Are you still thinking about your candidate who lost? Okay, then, on we go! There WILL be a point to all this!)
THEN—-there is the Gandan monastery in Ulaanbataar, housing an 82 foot gold-covered statue of “The lord who watches in every direction” (Megjid-Janraiseg). It took five years to build. It weighs more than 20 tons, is covered with brocade embroidered with gold, and with more than 220 pounds of silk. The statue contains 2286 precious stones, 27 tons of medicinal plants, 334 sutras and 2 millions mantras.
People come, bow, give money, spin the prayer drums, touching every one of the hundreds of barrels, each one rolled tight with scrolls of holy writings . . . The writings are written and chanted in a language the listeners and drum rollers cannot understand—-Tibetan.
So You don’t have to pray. You just spin the drums.
And you don’ t have to listen to the monks chanting the Sutras——because they’re chanting in a language you don’t understand (Tibetan)
But people come anyway. They come and bow and pray and listen and give money—-because they have so much hope. So much need.
Everything in Mongolia feels massive. Singular. Special. Record-breaking. And heart-breaking, too.
This most of all——-this longing to be known, to be seen, to be heard . . .. This is why so many there are finding Jesus, this personal God who wants to speak to them, who wants to hear from them. A God who forbids statues of Himself because he is living, not dead. He inhabits not idle idols, but the living hearts of his people. This God comes that close.
But I am not in Mongolia anymore.
I am home now, cooking salmon dinners, cleaning toilets, herding skittering dust-bunnies off the floors, trying work and write. It’s a let-down, you know? Back to the same old ordinary life. And that let-down can feel as overwhelming and huge as the statue of Genghis Khan, (without the metallic shimmer).
We love going out on mission trips. We love it because we go in Jesus’ name and in his heart-conquering love. We brave the days of planes and eat strange foods we’d never eat at home. We fall in love with another culture, fearlessly proclaim the truths of God’s words, watch Him work in astonishing ways. And when it’s over we fly home and scrub floors and clean toilets wondering, “Did that really happen?”
So here’s what I know about the Let-Down of Missions: If we can go out into all the world in Jesus’ name, then we surely we can come home in Jesus’ name, too. That’s what I’m trying to do. To inhabit this family, this house, my church and my town with the same fierce sweet intentions of Love as I left it.
This post is part of that intention. To make sure you know that your work and my work in our everyday houses is beautiful and good and brave as well. And as full of Jesus as a yurt-church filled with raised hands singing.
I’m right there with you, one hand on the broom, the other raised, singing.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”
And YOU ARE INVITED THREE TIMES! There are some pretty great ways coming up for us to meet and eat and sing and sweep the floor together!
I’ve got a brand-new 4 day writing retreat happening in February in PALM SPRINGS (think—-desert beautiful sun in the middle of winter!). We’ll be an intimate group of 15 meeting in a lovely house on a golf course under the San Jacinto mountains. I’d love to see some of you there—from very beginning writers to advanced writers. (I’ll give a discount of $150 off for any of my wonderful blog readers if you mention this post!) More info here.
AND—don’t forget Alaska! I have a Spirit of Food Retreat in July that’s going to be AMAZING! With Food Network star Melissa D’Arabian and Norm Wirzba, an expert on Food, Theology and Creation Care. We’re going to fish, forage, cook, sizzle, whale-watch, pray, sing, hike, learn to smoke salmon and so much more. And what are we going to eat? Fresh salmon, crab, scallops, shrimp, halibut . .. (Note: It’s already half-filled.)
And of course the incredible Barbara Brown Taylor is coming to HIWW 2019 as well! (Also already half-filled.)
Thank you friends. I very much hope to see some of you in one of these gorgeous places!