Thursday, June 30, 2005

Gospel Tangibleness

It has been over two weeks since my return from Peru. I had hoped so much that the trip would not have been over so quickly and yet it is. I think I am running on adrenaline right now—it is the end of the school year. The first year as an employee and not just as a student. It has been a year of changes and maturity and now there is a lull. I saw it coming—with every great goal there is a let down when it is accomplished. Going to Peru, visiting Joanna, was my greatest goal in years. I have been so consumed with surviving one day at a time, on getting my family through the next crisis that I had forgotten what it was like to set a goal much less achieve one.

It is often the small things in life that some how always end up meaning the most. Even the small hurtles over long distances end up building more character and leaving more lasting impressions than big events. On that note I have been thinking and writing a lot about friendships—what a tangible means of gospel grace. An application for growth and maturity. There is something at once freeing and terrifying about some one knowing you so very well. While every fun story is familiar to them so are all idiosyncrasies and pet sins. All is laid bare. True friends are those who call out the best in you especially when you yourself count it as the worst. Friends are most often the cause—or more like the inspiration—for our boldest ventures. We may doubt ourselves, give up, or never attempt things outside our comfort zone and yet friends seem some how to find a way to lay aside all our greatest hinderances. Maybe that is part of the maturing process from Individualism to Covenantalism that I was reading about the other day. It is not about me and yet the very nature of covenantalism takes into account the individual—to grow us up in wisdom and action.

Why do we focus on the individual even after we acknowledge that Christ came to redeem all mankind from sin. Even when we acknowledge the church triumphant—across the ages and around the world—we still focus on singular evangelism. Which reminds me of a comment Mr. Wilbur made in his blog a couple of days ago about “evandalism”—people defacing property just so that “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for you life” can reach that one person that might never set foot inside in a church.

The phrase for the day, though, seems to be “Individualism matures into Covenantalism”. That is the nature of redemptive grace. The goal is to move away from the solely individual, just as babes grow into greater awareness of people and things outside themselves. Friends come into our lives for just that reason. They tend to take the focus off ourselves, whether in terms of self-pity or self-glory, and make us aware, through fun and familiarity, that there is a bigger picture to life and that we can be a part of it. What an achievable goal—with help!


Anonymous said...

Until Nov., we were in NC surviving one day at a time, and getting through the next crisis. We had totally forgotten what it was like to set a goal--much less achieve one.
And yes,, it's the small things in life that end up meaning the most...
Friends definitely are a means of grace...
And the process of moving from individualism to beginning to "get" the whole gorgeous "thing" of covenantal community has been one of the most blessed, staggering encounters of my life.
And yeh, the journey is the point.

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