Grace on the Ground
They have gone out for the sake of the name...(3 John 7)
The glorification of Christ is an interesting thing. Too often orthodox and theologically sound people drone on and on about Christ-centeredness and yet seem unamazed by him. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the charismatics - the mystics. They may be loose or ambivalent towards theology in an effort to create more intrigue, focusing on experience over truth.
The marriage of these two extremes is the path of the glorification of Christ. Undergirded by sound (that is, Biblical) theology, the glorifier seeks experience and depth in the everydayness of life. They do not wax on about the complicated truths of God unless they are in scholarly company. They pursue God for who is today and not who someone once said he might be like.
I have been very good at erring on both sides of the continuum. I've had dry times of robust theology and fiery times of searching for a word from God while ignoring his revealed word in my Bible.
God is glorified both in the Bible on my dashboard and the stiff leaf laying in the parking lot of the bank. He is glorified in my prayer and also in my business dealings. He is glorified in nature and in man-made things (after all, he made the man and gave him his talents).
This morning on a fiercely cold run with Titus I prayed that God would grant me more wonder. I want to be amazed constantly at his grace in the world. This is hard for me. As the miracles of civilization: technology, logistics, farming, etc. continue to make life more comfortable I don't want to miss the song of a bird or the taste of an apple. I do not want to surf the waves of civilized comfort and never visit the rocky shore of reality.
Yesterday I fasted until dinner and it reminded me of God's provision for me. I barely know the pangs of an empty stomach, but forcing them highlights the grace of God to my heart. Remember how I care for you, he whispers. When I got home from work and broke my fast at the table with Lindsay and the kids it was a feast. My wine was fragrant and it sat lazily in its glass. The food was rich and exploded with taste. All the while my beautiful family sat around the table and we talked and laughed, corrected and encouraged. The grace of God is abundantly pleasurable, and sometimes it takes removal from the routine of his grace (like fasting) to remember that we have his gold ring on our finger.
I mourn for the times I have missed this. Too often I've looked past God to a nice truck, a padded bank account, a new fly rod, or an achievement. I become so easily distracted by the inferior things of this world. Compared to Christ, this world offers nothing but three day old trash. With Christ, this world offers grace in abundance. A humble and thankful heart can turn a cup of coffee into a spiritual experience. An entitled and hurried heart treats that same cup as a given or as a solution for lack of sleep and exercise. It can be either grace or entitlement, that same cup of coffee.
God is not everything, but everything we see, touch, taste, smell, hear, or imagine contain traces of his beauty, power, and grace. The prisoner and the prince thus taste the same sweetness of redemption through Christ's blood. It is available to us - right now. His glory is loud, and our hearts will sing if we just listen.