I keep telling myself that this is just a season: the busyness, and reflective silence on here. Hopefully it’s true, or at least I will try to make it such!
It’s a good busyness though. A busyness of learning: I’ve spent the past few months immersed in learning about this new journey the Lord has me on. Learning everything from the history of my organization; what they believe and their goals and vision; to more detailed specifics of how to work in college ministry, how to teach the Word to students, how to make a schedule and practice Sabbath. But more than any of the specific topics, what I love about learning is that it’s always connected, if we’re open to see it, to life. The Lord reveals Himself in ways obvious and subtle, and all of a sudden learning about something like time management is saturated with spiritual significance. Studying communication becomes a means to better reflect Christ in relationship. Learning about the lenses through which we perceive the world allows us to further honor Him in our emotions. Listening to the history of higher education allows for reflection on how culture shapes our faith, and when faith must rise above it. Looking at results of a personality test sheds greater light on weaknesses and desired growth.
And of course, the Lord knows, and He is in every step weaving lessons together, laying Scripture underneath and within them, and using them in the greater work and redemption He is always in the business of in our lives. I love this. I love how the Lord can use anything to reveal truth and bring about growth. I love that he takes a broken world, with broken systems and broken structures and a whole lot of really broken people, and brings about beauty and wholeness. And He didn’t have to do that – faith could be something completely separate from the world and from life, as it is often treated. Faith could be all about removing ourselves from the brokenness. But Christ came into a broken world to broken people to demonstrate not, ultimately, that He will take us all away and start over, but that He will redeem that which IS, that He will make good again all that sin made opposite-of-good. That He will redeem US. me. Not make me over again, but make me new. Make me whole.
I love Abraham Kuyper’s famous quote – “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry ‘Mine!'”
This is something I’m passionate about, and it has been such a joy to be a part of and learn more about an organization that is passionate about it as well. And such a joy to be reminded by the Lord (though I didn’t know I had forgotten) that I am His. I am His in my brokenness, and completely irregardless of how faithfully (or unfaithfully) I perform the good works He has prepared for me. Of course He desires my faithfulness, and knows it is for my best, but His love does not depend on it, and even less so on any resultant measure of its “success.” What freedom is there! What freedom that produces a desire to be faithful, to be obedient, to do all things well. To live into that which is already true. To reflect His image well, as I as an image bearer am created to do. And to see and proclaim Him in the tiniest details of life and creation, going about His work of redemption. That is my work, to see. To see the world and to love the world because Christ does, and because of what He will redeem it to be.
I came across this poem the other day. I’ve already forgotten where: probably from somebody posting it on facebook. I know nothing about the author, and honestly, what her theology is and if this is at all meant to convey what I saw in it. But regardless, the words spoke into this truth right in the midst of me being reminded of it in my official training as well as my own heart, and I have no doubt that finding it was in the Lord’s weaving as well. As I’ve been thinking about this new job, this new journey, and some of my desires for it, this poem reflects a part of those desires well. I have been in an interesting moment in life, feeling both “no longer young, and still not half-perfect,” as Mary Oliver, the author of the poem, states it. And the more that I look at my work and what really matters the more I see this tension of work being to stand still and be astonished. I want to work out of that astonishment of what the Lord is doing, out of gratitude for life and salvation, out of love for the work I have been given. I want to proclaim, with every action and word, the truth that what matters above all else is that this is all His, and that He is the only one that fills all areas of life with meaning, because in His redemption we live forever.
by Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird –
equal seekers of sweetness,
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.