Purpose and Easter

4/5/2015

My church’s Easter was so cool today! There are a good chunk of things to share about, so let me choose a few.

It is awesome to see how God is leading people to follow their diverse passions, and how each of those has become uplifting to the body of our Church, from the seemingly smallest to the most obvious. As humans, we put things in hierarchies, but it is cool to see how he uses each and every person’s desires into this woven worship experience that was this Sunday. It’s not everyone, sure, but the foundations are being laid there for people to contribute in ways that will be exactly what he asks of them. Our church is growing, and it’s amazing to see. It’s nice to be able to watch God fulfill promises as we live and breathe, and know that those are only the first of many. It’s nice to see genuine joy.

It’s a solemn week, even though today we celebrate. Sometimes, great peace can seem as stoic as sorrow, and great joy can be very understated. It can be small to have something so enormous. I think about all that the church is called to be, and above all, it’s nice to just have it function as God asks it to. “Remain”. That word plays on my heart a lot these days, along with “there’s no good reason not to”. Steadfast love is coming into fruition this season, and it’s not mine. It’s pretty miraculous to watch.

Sometimes when I am very quiet, people think I’m upset. It is nice that they notice, but it fascinates me that being concerned is the default. For certain settings, I think that is good. I’ve noticed that people who default to concern often have to give a lot of concern for others, and that can be a very good thing. It’s just that sometimes, they misidentify it when things are just very subtle. Lord knows how funny it is that I’m the one saying that, but so be it, he does what he wants with my life. It’s just strange to be the serene one, after all this time. It’s like water, and what a gift.

You know, sometimes people just need to see things to know what/how/who/etc. to believe. I’m a lot like that, and so was Thomas. He wouldn’t believe Christ had risen until he had seen the nail wounds in his hands. Jesus had to make a special trip for him. For whatever reason, needing visual/experiential faith goes hand and hand with demonstrating what faith looks like, once you receive conviction. If you’re transparent naturally, once that faith is fulfilled, it becomes a tool in the hands of God. The seemingly ridiculous thing is how much patience it takes to get there. You think of all these amazing gifts that never really reach stewardship, or even understanding of what that means. Proper stewardship can only come from God, and that in and of itself is a blessing. If he doesn’t have room to work from our weakness, how can he redeem? It’s like asking for resurrection without death; it just isn’t going to happen.

I really like being the person people can share joy with. I like being the person people can call to share good news. To steward that gift well, I have to learn to be a pro at listening. It won’t mean anything to share good news if I talk over it, or if I don’t open my heart up to allowing those blessings to be enormous for others. I think this might be what the Bible references when it refers to having a “servant’s heart”. If you are called to be demonstrative, for whatever reason, and you’re concurrently called to serve, those two things need to find balance when combined. That kind of balance and proper guidance only really comes from God.

Timothy is a good person to think of, when it comes to young stewardship. He was Paul’s disciple, and that sounds so cool, thinking on it. He must have had excellent opportunities to learn. In each of these different callings, it’s important to reflect on what it means to allow them to be fulfilled. It isn’t your work, but whatever God wants to do with your callings is still impressive. It’s all the more impressive if it isn’t explicitly yours, and if you can give credit for what he does. Reaching maturity in one’s faith really isn’t about struggling to find out the next big thing, but allowing God to bring you into the roles/places/people he wants you to bless. It’s nice to be claimed.

If by clinging to what you love, you limit the blessing that God wants to bring to it, maybe it’s a good time to surrender. Christ is such a better steward than any of us could ever hope to become. In his entire time pastoring the flock of God’s people while he was here on earth, he says that he only lost one person, Judas (the son of destruction). Now, I may have gotten that piece of information wrong, since I only read it recently, but just imagine that. The only person Christ lost was the one he absolutely had to loose. He provided perfection for everyone else who relied and trusted in him. The disciples put all their faith in him, as was taught in worship today. Think of all those collective dreams, resting squarely on your shoulders. Now, go ahead and die. I think most people, without the foresight of Christ, would feel as though they had failed if they were told to release each and every single one of those dreams over into the hand of God. Deliverance. But Christ had complete and utter trust in God. I don’t think I can really understand that concept, but how awesome is it that he did? It was a promise fulfilled to him, to us, and by extension and the trinity, to God himself. That is what perfect divine relationship looks like, and by the grace of God, it is nothing like how humans interact. That is entirely okay.

The whole world really doesn’t have to try so hard, if the collective “us” is listening. It’s still nice to think he choose us, as broken vessels. Think of the power that being infinitely able to clean up other people’s messes would take. I don’t understand it.

If God does a lot of work on your heart in a short period of time, sometimes you can be stuck with the burdening of trying to explain it. Really, there is no explanation. It just is. Big changes seem out of place for a while, but even more so when the big changes just keep coming. It’s fabulous. But dude, fabulous things are really just hard to explain if you can’t see them, if you don’t know them personally, or if you aren’t in some way there for them. It’s a perceptual decision between a rock and a hard place, and the answer isn’t even included in asking “Why?”, since the question comes unnecessarily from worry, and the answer should just be “okay”.  I’ve talked a little about overthinking and how in my opinion, a thought path isn’t overthinking if it (eventually) bears good fruit (depending on one’s perspective). I think it’s often important to also  note that sometimes, overthinking really is there, and you just have to take it on faith, that it’s better for you to just stop worrying about it. Taking God at his word and promise is actually a lot harder than it sounds. The answer is just no, but it will be good for you.

I’m starting to become convinced that you can only properly love someone in a state of surrender. The whole verse about wives and husbands submitting to one another (1st Corinthians…?) is the one that applies.

Being able to reflect on God’s authority over this Lenten season was particularly necessary and also excellent for me. It needed to happen, and it’s been good to learn more about him. It’s strange to think that a year ago, I was walking to church on a sunny morning in Vina del Mar, Chile, having made that commitment to God shortly before, for the first time. I got to church early then too, and had some time to enjoy a bench in their lobby. How many things that we never notice are preserved? It’s like remembering a word you had previously forgotten.

Blessings on this coming week! That you have a ton of peace in wherever God leads you.

Love,

Haley

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haleynoohra

I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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