I say to myself, The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!
The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from The Lord.
My favorite scene from Downton Abbey is when Carson follows a trail of smoke only to discover Ms. Hughes trying out her new electric toaster. To her, it is something new and exciting. To him, it represents the unknown, changing times ahead. Is it not enough that we are sheltering a dangerous revolutionary, Ms. Hughes? Could you not have spared me that?
I’m going to be moving soon, and it’s a big deal for me. It’s all sorts of exciting and scary at the same time. My good friend just made a similar move today, actually. A couple weeks ago he posted this quote, and it sums up what I’m trying to say better than I can say it on my own:
“Always, in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the unknown and it is your first encounter with the wilderness you are going into.” -Wendell Berry
Sometimes I feel like Ms. Hughes and her toaster: curious and excited because I’ve embraced the unknown with arms wide open. Most of the time, though, I feel like Carson: full of nagging dread. Those Carson moments pass and I’m able to remember why I’m making this move in the first place. But the only way I make it through those moments is by remembering that I’ve been seeking the Lord out in this whole process. Even if I make the wrong choice, if I’m continuing to seek him out, he’ll always lead me home. And even if there is a lot that is unknown still, trusting him becomes a bit more familiar every day.
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
There are some moments that you just remember about people when you think about them. I’ll never forget this one day when I was sitting across from my mentor. I was munching on my chicken salad sandwich, asking her about things that confuse me like honesty and faith and sex and truth. She looked at me and asked, “Do you think it’s important to do things the way God tells us to do them?” I didn’t have an answer for her, and I’m still wrestling with that question. But I think I’m in a bit of a better head space today than I was then. I’m learning and relearning that my faith is not just for myself. My life, my actions, and my words, are all supposed to reflect what I’ve found in Christ. And that idea is something I cannot refute. I never want to point people to something other than Christ…so when I think about those confusing things today, I get clarity a lot quicker when I think about what my choices communicate to the world.
On another note, this picture and verse will always remind me of this song.
…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God…
Acts 2:46 & 47
Breaking bread requires a certain level of humility. In Communion, the breaking of bread is a symbol of the most humble act of Christianity–the body of Christ broken for all mankind, the blood of Christ shed for all mankind. I find I can be absolutely prideful in every moment of every day except when I take Communion. It’s a reminder for me that I needed that sacrifice to be made for me so that my soul can be whole and well. I can’t be whole on my own.
The concept of breaking bread with friends is similar to that for me. If we are to view one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, knowing that we are all made in Christ’s image, shouldn’t my relationships be approached in the utmost posture of humility? Just as I approach the table for Communion, I should also approach the people in my life with reverence and a lack of pride or any self-seeking motive.
Written to the tune of “Break Bread” and “Bread & Wine” both by the wonderful Josh Garrels
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
For the days when nothing has changed from yesterday: when the AC is still broken and the morning begins quietly. For the days when there are no boys to text or to fluster me: when the only thing on my to-do list are two scrambled eggs with cheese (that I eat for breakfast every day) and getting a flu shot. For the days when there is no new drama to occupy my wandering thoughts: when I have time to be still, to reflect on what you’ve already done and who you are. Thank you for being the God of the boring days, too.
But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you won’t be once more?
1 John 3:18-24
I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought.
They start small, but some are bigger than my hand. Flimsy and fragile, they will make one fall in their life and there’s no getting back on the branch once that fall has happened. They take what they need and then they leave. Yet each one is intricate and beautiful. Lines that look like my veins carefully touch one another and shake hands to say, “Hey, we’re in this journey together.” These leaves, some bigger than my hand, are not beautiful by conventional definition. They’re asymmetrical, at least when I think they are looking their best. Their color is inconsistent and fine lines are apparent. But to me, they’re beautiful because it’s clear they’ve been cared for. Their fall is unique as are their roots and limbs, but their story is not. In their short lives, these leaves, some bigger than my hand, grown and function, live and die. The beauty lies in their details, because something so delicate and fleeting shouldn’t need the time of acquired beauty but they do. Because they are beautiful and for that–I’m thankful. If He gives such detail to these leaves, some bigger than my hand, how much detail does He give to us?