new zealanders call it the haka - a war dance typically performed before rugby matches. players on the team slap their thighs with brute force and menacingly yell phrases while stomping their feet to a rhythm known only to those involved. they recite the chant in unison - their voices rising and falling with the pitch of the dialect. for those brief seconds, they are truly one - one hand slapping the thigh, one foot stomping the grass, one mouth voicing the words. they end by dragging their index finger across their necks - a sign of the opposing team's fate.

i've come across this word twice today.

normally i wouldn't think anything of it. normally, i would shrug it off as coincidence and a lesson in culture. but lately, i've noticed the way He brings me gifts. vulnerability in a youtube video. guest speaker at a convention. leadership meeting at work. suddenly, a motif materializes before me and i am left seriously wanting if i ignore the implications.

listen! i hear Him say, listen! write it down. whisper the words boldly. your voice will find it's strength.

today i'm drinking in every ounce of strength i can find.

it's funny how He sends us inspiration. without me even knowing it, i internalized this truth of haka - finding strength within where i thought there was none. and i may not have been slamming my hands against my thighs, but my fingers are flying across this keyboard with just as much vigor. i never stomped my feet in rhythm, but while talking on the phone with my social worker i breathed deep the rhythms of grace and spoke plain - even when it hurt.

and when i was done sharing, at the moment i felt spent and emptied, i was overwhelmed with messages on facebook and twitter replies and texts. i sat there, resting in the arms of one who knows me best, realizing i hadn't spoken alone at all. this tribe had been here all along, spirit-speaking and keyboard slapping and deep breathing the rhythms of grace right along with me.

i close my eyes and visualize the slit of the throat - the middle finger raised to shame and fear and doubt - the messy, bloody, infant-scream of Hope come to save.

it's enough to turn my whisper-prayers into shouts, my muttered thanksgivings into slap-key musings of joy.

and this is when i know: jubilee has arrived.


Posted on December 12, 2011 .