Monday, December 8, 2014
Set A Fire
On Friday night, there were two events going on at UNM. First, as pictured above, the traditional "Hanging of the Greens" started as soon as it was dark. Every year, campus organizations put together thousands of luminarias and place them around campus. There is hot chocolate at the President's House and if you're lucky, you might even run into carol singers! It's really beautiful and loads of people from the community come to walk campus and see the lights.
The second event was Lobo Worship Night, an incredible event put on by our very own Lauren McAuley. Lauren has been organizing these nights at the end of each semester for the past several years. It's always an awesome time of worship with other campus groups, made even more awesome this time around because our very own Russ Collins was the headline musician!
As I was on my way to campus for Lobo Worship Night on Friday, I totally forgot Hanging of the Greens was going on. And if you know me, you know that I LOVE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS/DECORATIONS/CHRISTMAS IN GENERAL. So you can imagine my delight when I walk on to campus with luminarias lighting my way around every turn. I stroll into the SUB (the large building in the picture) and come to find the room Lauren reserved is the ballroom with huge windows overlooking the campus plaza that has lights absolutely everywhere. Wow! A perfect set-up despite the fact that the technology in the room was malfunctioning, and we weren't able to get words to the songs projected on the wall.
The night proceeded, however, and when I talked to my friend Elise later about Lobo Worship Night, she said something about how not having the words on the wall made the experience "raw" and authentic and so personal. I love this description of Friday night. And being on campus, singing praises to the Prince of Peace, surrounded by decorations celebrating HIM (even unwittingly) reminded me that I am, yet again, in the midst of His great work.
We sang one of my favorite songs that night. One verse goes like this:
Set a fire down in my soul,
that I can't contain,
that I can't control,
I want more of You, God.
As morbid as it is, I imagined one of those little luminaria candles lighting its bag on fire, and then jumping to another bag, and another, until the entire campus of UNM was engulfed in this flame. (Let's be real, this is probably influenced by the fact that my hometown has almost burned down...twice). What if this is what God is in the process of doing right now? He's lighting fires in each of us so that we can go and light other people on fire to spiritually burn down this campus...heck, this city? Boy, I hope this is what's happening.
Honesty hour: I am afraid of fire. Like really afraid. I've been burned before. Not bad, but it still hurts because fire is hot. Duh. But I also love standing around a huge bonfire on a cold night. I love roasting marshmallows over campfires. I love drinking tea and reading books next to my parents' wood burning stove. And it's from those experiences that I know how fire pops and crackles and sparks and surprises us sometimes.
I don't know about you, but I've experienced God sparking, crackling, and popping these past few months. I've been caught off guard, surprised, and sometimes even a bit disgruntled at the way He's moving in my life, on campus, and in Albuquerque. God brought this verse to my attention this week, though. In 2 Thessalonians 3:5 Paul writes, "May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ." Have you ever been totally hypnotized by flames? The blue, the yellow, the orange, the red. It's beautiful, really. This verse challenges me to look at God that way. To be totally absorbed by Him, but not just with my eyes, with my heart above all else. To be in awe of His steadfast love, directing my heart to the warmth that emanates from King Jesus, especially at Christmas.
It's the most wonderful time of the year, people. Love to you all!