Archives, Biography, Pondering, Wheaton

April Dew

Earlier this month I found myself standing in front of a group of women introducing my long-time colleague in ministry, Reggie Kidd.  In attempting to set the context, I quoted the beginning of Psalm 133: “ Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) dwell together in unity.”  And I was reminded of the beautiful picture the psalmist paints: unity is like “the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!”  Dew appears in quiet (never after a storm), and in the time just before dawn (when no one is looking).  But its quiet presence picks up momentum as drop by drop it rolls down the mountain and waters everything in its wake.  

I’ve had two dew-filled experienced in the past month.  One was speaking on the seven deadly sins during Spiritual Emphasis Week at Judson College.  I was working with one of my doctoral students, Warren Anderson, who is the dean of the chapel at Judson. He crafted beautiful services that, in deep, thoughtful and subtle ways, supported the topic for each day.  But the best surprise were the ten students who worked with me on dramas for each session that took each sin and translated it into the college vernacular. We worked back and forth on these dramas for 6 weeks. The team had obtained black t-shirts, and spray-painted the sin their drama represented on it. Once their “sin” was revealed, they wore their t-shirt throughout the week. By the time we reached Friday, the team and I had been caught up in a dance that was beyond anything we could have orchestrated.  They began Friday morning with a “reprise” of their sin for the week and announced to their peers that it was too hard to change.  Then I taught on the deadly sin of sloth…and the divine gift of hope. Then they returned, left an object representing their sin on the stage with the prayer, “Jesus, only if you help me can I let this go.”

I loved giving the talks.  I loved the way Warren masterfully crafted the services.  But my heart sang at the “dew” set in motion by this team as they created powerful, undeniable illustrations for the community. They served me by changing the dramas until we got them right (in some cases, multiple times)…and in the process their work watered the whole community.

And then there was my own church’s women’s retreat last weekend.  More dew. Women serving in every kind of capacity—making road signs, sewing felt “grapes” in which to place chocolate bars on pillows, making beautiful cards representing each fruit of the spirit…the list is endless.  There was purpose and creativity and hard work and joy…and dew. 

Again, I loved giving the talks.  I loved the way Linda (another one of my former doctoral students) masterfully crafted the worship services. But here my heart sang not so much at the unbidden surprises, but at the battles quietly won in hearts before we came and as we gathered.  It is no accident that unity is likened to dew.  It is only produced in peace…the kind of peace that the world knows nothing about. 

How good and pleasant it is when we dwell together in unity—whether the gift comes easily into our hand or is hard-won in our hearts. In the end, this peace rolls down the mountain and waters everything in its path. 

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