“Fully Known and Loved”

If you’re thinking maybe you don’t belong at His table because of all the ways in which you don’t measure up, take this song to heart.

“I’m fully known and loved by You
You won’t let go no matter what I do
And it’s not one or the other
It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known, fully known, and loved by You”

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Nature Is My Church

Nature is a magnificent sanctuary. Some of the most moving moments of my life have been those experienced all alone in the great outdoors. Surrounded by creation – no distractions, no social obligations (proper attire, standard small talk, conventional inhibitions), no boring sermons – just basking in the presence of God. Feet on holy ground. Honestly, it would be easy to make nature my ONLY sanctuary. However – quoting Ryan Dueck

“I was made for things like beauty and awe, certainly, but I was also made to be trained in the art of love. My soul was created for transcendent experiences and connection with nature, but it was also created for my fellow human beings. And, regrettably, I keep on blundering my way through life in selfish and stupid ways—ways that no mountain scene is up to the task of healing or forgiving or reorienting. I need to encounter God, yes, but God in the specificity with which God has made himself known, namely, in Jesus Christ. The God of creation can inspire me, but it cannot demand that I die to myself and become ever more alive and attentive to all the things that are ugly and easily ignored in the world—the parts and the people that don’t show up in carefully curated Instagram posts or status.”

The whole article here: https://ryandueck.com/2018/08/09/nature-is-my-sanctuary-but-jesus-keeps-dragging-me-back-to-church/

“Call It Grace”

“It’s the light that pierces through you
To the darkest hidden place
It knows your deepest secrets
But it never looks away.”

It is that look of Grace – so piercing, so unflinching, so tender – that will take us just as we are, where we are. It is that same Grace that will refuse to leave us unchanged. “Though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.”[1]

May we dare to step into that gaze and be known, loved, transformed.

[1] C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“The Burning Edge of Dawn”

“I’ve been waiting for the sun
To come blazing up out of the night like a bullet from a gun
Till every shadow is scattered, every dragon’s on the run
Oh, I believe, I believe that the light is gonna come
And this is the dark, this is the dark before the dawn.

… I had a dream that I was waking
At the burning edge of dawn
And I could see the fields of glory
I could hear the sower’s song

I had a dream that I was waking
At the burning edge of dawn
I saw the sower in the silver mist
And He was calling me home.”

The Lion and the Lamb

In Revelation, “we find ourselves eavesdropping on a majestic mystery. John the Seer, who is describing the vision he has seen, is himself something of a fly on the wall, peeping into the very throne-room of God himself. We, watching the scene through his eyes, are as it were eavesdropping at second hand.

It is an astonishing sight. John begins by describing God’s throne, and even – though cautiously and obliquely – God himself. Thunder and lightning are coming from the throne; this is a place of majesty and awesome glory. Around the throne are the representatives of the animal kingdom and the world of humanity: the whole creation is worshipping God for all he’s worth.

Here we see God’s world as it should be, God’s world as it already is within the dimension of heaven.

This is the point at which most of us want to say: but the world is in a mess! It’s all very well for people to praise God as creator; look at the state of his creation! What’s he going to do about it? The good news – and this is also right at the heart of what Christian worship is all about – is that exactly this reaction takes place before our eyes in the heavenly court itself. At the start of chapter 5, John notices that the figure on the throne is holding a scroll, which we gradually realize is the scroll of God’s future purposes, the purposes through which the world is at last to be judged and healed. The problem, however, is that nobody is able to open the scroll. God has committed himself, ever since creation, to working through his creatures, in particular through his image-bearing human beings, but they have all let him down. For a moment it looks as though all God’s plans are going to be thwarted.

But then there appears, beside the throne, a different kind of animal. He is, we are told, a Lion; but then we are also told that he is a Lamb. To read Revelation, you have to get used to its kaleidoscopic imagery. The Lion is an ancient Jewish image for the Messiah, the king of Israel and the world. The Lamb is the sacrificial offering for the sins of Israel and the world. Both these roles are combined in Jesus, in a way nobody had ever imagined before but which now makes perfect sense. And when he appears, those who were already singing (the animals and the humans) turn their praise to God the creator into their praise of God the redeemer:

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered, and by your blood you ransomed for God
saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”

 

N. T. Wright, Simply Christian, pp. 123-126

May you have a wonderful Sunday celebrating our great Creator and dear Redeemer, our Lion and our Lamb, the Worthy One!