Isaac is fascinated with the wet dish towel and cleaning motion. It’s a simple – and fairly odd – fascination. Each time he eats I get a dish towel, wipe him, and then he proceeds to take the towel from my hand in order to wipe whatever is nearest to him. Today, after his lunch, he found the wet towel I had used and picked it up. As he is just starting to take his first steps, I quietly watched him from the background. He very carefully stood up, bobbling back and forth, dish towel tightly griped. He began wiping his high chair … okay, makes sense. After he was satisfied, he turned to the love seat chair in the living room … not quite right, but the effort was adorable. The entertainment center was next, followed by the sliding glass door, and finally he sits down. Looking around, finding nothing else, he lifts up his shirt and starts wiping his belly.
I immediately started laughing, trying to hold back as to not draw his attention. Then, I sighed. “Oh, how I wish you could see him.” In that playful moment, I imagined how in love Matt would have been with his son, how proud he would of been of him, and how much they were both missing out on. I felt sad, but not plowed over with grief. I recognized the pain in his absence, but the pain was stripped of hopelessness. It felt almost like a memory, as strange as that sounds. Or maybe it felt as though he was right there with me, enjoying Isaac’s self administered sponge bath with me. I’m not positive, but it felt like a little step in healing.
A new sermon series to start a new year! It is time for a revolution. Time to leave our old – and often quickly forgotten – resolutions behind. It is time to begin a revolution in our marriages, with our children, in regards to our health, and most importantly a new revolution within the body of Christ; the church.
The sermon today centered around the story of Zaccheaus, the tax collector (Luke 19:1-9). Zaccheaus is a living example of what a revolution means in regards to our faith. His encounter with Christ radically and dramatically changed every aspect of his life. And it didn’t change it starting at the beginning of the year, or at the beginning of the week, or even the next morning — Zaccheaus was changed immediately. His repentance was a complete turning and moving away from his sin. This salvation story shows us just how amazing a Christ encounter looks like in the lives of people. This Christ encounter is available to anyone, anytime, and in many ways. Often, though, the encounter needs a catalyst. And as the body of Christ we are called to be that catalyst. To shine the light of our own Christ encounter, and help others find a way to theirs.
So how do begin a revolution? We set goals – personal goals, marital goals, goals as a church. We find out where we are going. Be intentional and thoughtful about your destination; don’t leave the outcome vague or undefined. Zaccheaus knew where he was going; he was going to see Jesus. Know what objectives you will need to overcome to get there. Find a plan of action to overcome the objectives and reach your goal. And then, of course, put it into action.
A new year means a new start. Things feel fresh, as if those barriers of fear and doubt have momentarily relaxed to give us a glimpse to the other side. Take advantage of the fire that burns when the year turns new. Set goals for yourself, and for your family. And most importantly set goals for furthering the Kingdom of Christ. As Christians, we don’t live apart from suffering, but we certianly live along side peace, knowing grace, and covered in love. It is time to share that peace, that grace, that love with those around us. It is time for a revolution.
As I struggle to finish what I started with Pete Rollin’s latest book, for a couple of reasons that have surfaced upon re-reading it, I’m going to jump for a moment to Rob Bell’s farewell letter to Mars Hill. Rob read this letter to the congregation this past Sunday; it was his last sermon at Mars Hill.
I have no critique of what he said, at least none that will be placed on this page. Just some thoughts, some encouragements. I was surprised at how emotional it was for me listening to Rob’s final sermon at Mars Hill. Far more emotional than it has been for me saying goodbye to pastors elsewhere in my life. Far more emotional than I expected. It reminded me of what an impact Rob has had on my life and my learning of Christ. That sense of loss made me sad for what may to come without my standard Rob Bell teaching; which is usually awaiting me by midday Tuesdays.
Rob said something though, at the end of the letter. He said that he felt like he was just getting started. I can’t imagine Rob would have any idea what those words could possibly mean to a young widow who has, since her husband’s death, felt a call towards ministry – started school – began making radical life changes. Or maybe he can.
He gave me courage, not only in this sermon, but in so many sermons I have heard him speak, that God has given us the innate desire to create. I have always felt this desire. He has assured me that to follow this need to create risks must sometimes be taken. I am just starting to take those risks. Those risks can be scary – for me, as well as for him, and others. It is far often easier to tell ourselves that this is the end of what God has planned for us. To think that we are too old to put ourselves out there, or too secure to take such risks. Those are the fears we must put aside.
I, like Rob, feel like I’m just getting started. My life has changed drastically. I will move drastically. I will hear the call of God, and listen it to it. I will try to be courageous. I will lean on Christ when I feel weak, and remember what God has promised to us if we follow this call . . . Grace and Peace.
I pray grace and peace to Rob as well. And I am ever so grateful for his contribution to my spirit journey.