peace and concern on a Saturday night

Rebekah, preparing her message for Sunday morning

There is something deeply peaceful and affirmingly right about Saturday evenings at our home. I think maybe it’s the mixture of hard work and good faith, and how everything seems to come together in a special kind of beauty.

It’s simple, really. I’m at my desk, working on some writing assignment and preparing to teach my Sunday morning class. Then it’s time for a fresh cup of coffee, so I get up and walk through the house, just taking it all in.

Everything is clean. We’re seldom messy, but Saturdays tend to see a little more attention to detail and the house is looking extra nice. So I pour the coffee, looking out at the garden in the fading light, noting how good it all appears from the hours of mowing and digging and weeding.

All is right and peaceful

Over by the piano, Scout lies curled up in a ball, completely still but tracking my every movement with her eyes. Beyond her, in the front room, Rebekah sits at the dining table with her laptop, surrounded by her Bible, a couple of books, several pages of notes and a mug of coffee.

Rebekah is finishing off her sermon for Sunday morning. The process is a week-long journey of study, conversation, notes, listening, research, prayer, more Bible-reading, reflection, more conversations, and – finally – the hammering out of details.

SO RIGHT: It all feels so right. This life. This living out our faith through the words that we share and the way we live in community. This home we love so much. This grappling with scripture, and prayer, and hard questions, and a gracious God. This good, mutually respectful, encouraging relationship we enjoy with one another and with Jesus. This sense of spiritual community that pervades the very fabric of our home.

And I return to my desk, conscious of God’s good peace and the grace of a love-charged home.

A SHADOW and a PRAYER: But at the same time, there’s a shadow. I’m worried, not about this weekend’s approaching hurricane but about another kind of disturbance, a hard cynicism and simmering anger that seems to be gripping this world that we love; and I have to pause and pray:

How can we share the message of peace?

Loving God, generous Spirit, great friend and motivator Jesus… I am so genuinely thankful for this life I enjoy here with Rebekah. I feel so richly blessed and so completely happy. But – at the same time – I am worried for our world. I am troubled by the hostility and the bitterness that have become so pervasive and so far-reaching. I’m not sure that the message of your redemptive and invitational love is reaching people in the way you intend; in fact I’m convinced of it. How can I share the truth about the Good News in a way that won’t fall on so many deaf ears? How can I tell this story in a way that will open closed hearts to your kind of peace? How can we beĀ encouragers, who bring the message of hope and promise? Your friend and servant – DEREK



Categories: photography, The Life-Charged Life, The Story

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2 replies

  1. The Bible tells the story of how it will all end. The situations in the world, all over the world, are not going to get better. That is why Jesus is supposed to come back, right? He is going to take us out of this terrible doomed world evil has created.

    Its a strange duality…in a way, Christians should welcome the further deterioration of the world around us, because that means Jesus comes back to save all his faithful and God will finally defeat evil. We have to get to the tragic end of it all so Jesus will make his return and fulfill the final plans of God. Its strange duality because Christians are trying to save a world that we well know through scripture is going to end eventually and horribly.

    The ultimate goal of any Christian: an eternity in heaven with God. A strange duality, because to get THERE (heaven) we have to have the ending to THIS old and nasty place.

    Its supposed to get worse…not better. And only then will it get better…much much better.

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  2. Quick reply… (heading out of town): That view of looking for destruction to hasten Christ’s return is only valid if the whole “Left Behind”/coming rapture theology works for you. Personally, I don’t think it’s an interpretation of scripture that holds water.
    The ultimate goal for this Christian is to “love God and enjoy God forever.” That’s not a heaven only proposition but one that begins when we understand salvation as “participating in the work God is up to” rather than “pie in the sky when you die.” Enjoying God forever begins now… not later. So this apocalyptic vision of the future is not in my thinking at all. Besides, Christ is here with us now, what “coming back” means is not clear (it may simply mean in the person of the Holy Spirit, something that started at Pentecost 2,000 years ago…) what is clear is that we have this opportunity – NOW – to enjoy our salvation and to introduce the world to a better way; a “new and living way” as Jesus described it.

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