Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sitting on the back porch of our minds

Y esto pido en oración: que vuestro amor abunde aún más y más en conocimiento verdadero y en todo discernimiento, a fin de que escojáis lo mejor, para que seáis puros e irreprensibles para el día de Cristo; lenos del fruto de justicia que es por medio de Jesucristo, para la gloria y alabanza de Dios. Filipenses 1:9-1

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

Our ladies group is pretty tired on Monday nights; it has been a long day. And a long life. We have all lived a long time in this thing called Christianity, this walk alongside of Jesus Christ. And the older we get, the simpler it gets.

We are good little readers and we have read many times and again the books that line all of our shelves at home. And we have sat in ever-so-many circles of friends, swirling iced tea or with our own water bottle sitting by our bag on the floor, with a Bible open on our laps. And pretty much every time the church doors are open, we have been there, sitting close to the front, or more often in the back, handing out bulletins or sign-up clipboards, placing cookies on plates, or rocking almost-asleep infants. And of course there’s the signed petitions and bumper stickers on and bumper stickers scraped off.

And last night we joined old Paul, Paul in his jail cell, beaten and yet undismayed, full of the understanding that when it all is distilled and undistracted, this is his prayer for the ones he loves, the ones that he holds in his heart: that your love may abound more and more.

And we all heard a story, almost a parable in its power, of a busy and not-so-organized preacher man who kept his promise and took twenty minutes to listen to an unmarried but very pregnant girl and that twenty minutes changed her life forever. Twenty minutes and a willingness to show up late to a previously committed lunch meeting. May we all be so willing.

And the footnote connects Philippians with James 3:17, which spells out pretty specifically this knowledge and discernment that accompanies love: But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

All this simplicity doesn’t mean that we just sit around on our collective couches and eat bon bons. Rather it is an encouraging, filling with courage, reminder of what this walk is all about, this walk alongside Jesus, the one who a bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench, until He brings justice to victory, which is exactly what the Spanish translation says: that we may be full of the fruit of justice, through Jesus.

Full to overflowing, as time is short and the days are dark.

To the glory and praise of God.