Skip to main content

the R word

We are away for the weekend, visiting friends in Ontario. I have two papers due early next week, which explains my absence from blogworld as I have been trying to get them done before we took this wee vacation, and I am happy to say that the rough drafts are both done and packed in my backpack, waiting for me to edit them.

We had a great home group dinner on Wednesday night, lots of food, good discussion, mulled wine, and of course, some silly dance moves. I got there early to help prepare the food and a few of us started talking about one's purpose in life. One of my friends had been asked the question at work by a colleague, "What is your purpose in life?" and now she wanted to know what other people would have said. Good question. It is easy to give a broad, vague answer and we came up with most of the usual ones: to worship God, to love others, to know God, to be everything I am meant to be, to make this world a better place, etc., but that's pretty easy to say and pretty hard to pin down and perhaps not all that meaningful to the average person you meet at work or on the street, no matter how true it might be.

Of more interest to me was what the discussion revealed about what we want and what we are afraid of. Basically, we want to do the right thing, the thing that makes us and those important to us, happy and content. And we fear that we will miss it. Somehow, the discussion got onto making decisions and making mistakes and how we are sometimes stopped from making decisions because we are afraid of making mistakes. Noble as it sounds, not wanting to make a mistake is just another way of saying that one is afraid. And what exactly are we afraid of?

I think that somewhere in a back corner of our souls, we are afraid that redemption does not work. That wrong cannot be righted, that we will bear the consequences of our mistakes forever, and that forgiveness feels good but doesn't blot out the cold, hard facts, and that surely badness and judgement will follow me all the days of my life. And so we find it hard to make decisions, afraid of what the implications might be. Don't get me wrong, I think responsible decision-making is a great trait to develop and often too rare, but it is not what I want to count on to get me through. I need more than that - I need redemption.

Redemption works. Believe it. Jesus is enough. He specialises in well-meaning mistakes and ill-conceived decisions and misplaced self-reliance. He is not afraid of them. He can make something beautiful out of nothing special and make your big worrisome something into nothing to be concerned about. Trust him. Make the best decision you can and plunge it into the bath of redemption.

This is a Christmas streamer at my friends' house in Ontario.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

the songs we sing

NOTE: I am going to make some pretty strong statements below, but understand that it is my way of taking an honest, hard look at my own worship experience and practice. My desire is not to be overly critical, but to open up dialogue by questioning things I have assumed were totally fine and appropriate. In other words, I am preaching to myself. Feel free to listen in.

---------------------

When I am in a church meeting during the singing time, I sometimes find myself silent, unable to get the words past my lips. At times I just need a moment of stillness, time to listen, but other times, the words make me pause because I don't know that I can sing them honestly or with integrity. This is a good thing. We should never mindlessly or heartlessly sing songs just because everyone else is. We should care deeply about what we say in our sung, communal worship.

At their best, songs sung by the gathered body of Christ call to life what is already in us: the hope, the truth, the longing, t…

comedic timing

One of my favourite jokes goes like this:
Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting cow
Interrupting cow w---
Moooooooo!!

Timing is important in both drama and comedy. A well-paced story draws the audience in and helps it invest in the characters, while a tale too hastily told or too long drawn out will fail to engage anyone. Surprise - something which interrupts the expected - is a creative use of timing and integral to any good story. If someone is reading a novel and everything unfolds in a predictable manner, they will probably wonder why they bothered reading the book. And so it is in life. Having life be predictable all of the time is not as calming as it sounds. We love surprises, especially good surprises like birthday parties, gifts, marriage proposals, and finding something that we thought was lost. Surprises are an important part of humour. A good joke is funny because it goes to a place you didn't expect it to go. Similarly, comedic timing allows something unexpected …

singing lessons

When I was a young child, a visiting preacher came to our country church. He brought his two daughters with him, and before he gave his sermon, they sang beautiful duets about Jesus. They had lovely voices which blended well. The preacher, meaning to impress on us their God-given musical talent, mentioned that the girls had never had any singing lessons. The congregation nodded and ooohhed in appreciation. I was puzzled. I didn't understand how not learning was a point of grace or even pride. After all, people who have natural abilities in sports, math, writing, art, or science find it extremely helpful to study under teachers who can aid them in their development and introduce them to things outside their own experience. Being self-taught (though sometimes the only option available to those with limited resources) is not a cause for pride or celebration. Why? Because that's just not how the communal, relational Creator set things up.

I have been singing since I was a child. …