After riding on a veritable big dipper of emotions (French /British translation – true roller coaster), soaked in prayer, Glen and I have made the decision to leave our Mount Pleasant home and move east into the vicinity of the nation's capital – La Belle Province. My focus for the fall has shifted towards another leap of faith in participating in the artwork of God.
As I de-clutter the house, pack, reminisce, and say goodbyes – I'm thankful for the support of the book of Ephesians, especially 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does."
I go back to this verse each time there is a big adjustment or change coming my way. I like the Greek translation for 'workmanship' -Poeima - signifying a work of art or a product that is designed. In classical Greek the word not only captures the work of a poet, the lofty elegant and rhythmical language, but also alludes to any work of a skilled artisan – like a person's deed, a creative painting, a symphony —all could be called Poiema.
This idea of God's design – His workmanship has kept me intrigued as I seek to live a deeper understanding of how His divine marks shape my life. I've been tracking this idea of design for many years. In one season I tried mapping it out with mission statements and goals. I gave that up when I realized it is all about grace. My walk with God is not always about best efforts.
Author Frederick Buechner calls us to walk this way - Listen to your lives for the sound of him.
So before I write any further lofty heavenly thoughts let me make this disclaimer. I am aware that language can be limited and God Talk, along with our encounters with the Holy One, can get very mystical, so rather than blab on what kind of masterpiece I've become, let me share how I sought to listen for the sound of him through the years at Redemption.
I look for signs of His grace within myself, and each of you, because it has and still can make us brave enough to take off our super-self mask and look at our real selves with all the sins and flaws that Christ died for. I like the idea that the Greek word for 'accept' is 'proslambano' which literally means 'to take to oneself.' I've been invited to enter, to stay, and accept being taken in by God. That's Grace. In Latin it connotes a 'free and ready favor', which implies that I need to make a choice to accept this grace. I accept that I have to choose to let go of the patchwork self-image put together by all the outward influences and ideals of these times. Sometimes this means facing pain and my weaknesses. My best mentors have been there to remind me not to waste my sorrows and confront the insidious power of fear.
A Regent Professor of mine, Luci Shaw, recently wrote a little book called Thumbprint in the Clay – Divine Marks of Beauty, Order, and Grace. Luci refers to those who have left a vibrant and lasting impression on her life as portraits of God Printed People. In a similar way most of my relationships at Redemption with God Printed People have been what God intended for each of us when we made the choice to be 'taken in by God'. Our time has been rich as we’ve shared our lives together in this amazing community. His grace has stretched us, filled us and enabled us to ‘imagine the long and wondrous journeys still to be ours’ (Mary Oliver).
So it is – dear ones – that as I continue to ride the emotional waves of saying goodbye to Redemption Church, I sign off as Elder – with much love.
With much love,