Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Generosity of Abundance

Philippians 1:3-4
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.

Just a few short days ago we had the opportunity to gather with long time friends. Our common thread is a heart for God, a love of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, Young Life, and a deep affection for each other.

For the better part of almost twenty years we were all a community of believers that lived close by. We regularly were at each other's homes. We saw each other weekly if not more. We lived together, worked together, played together, vacationed together, raised families together, sang together, and ate together. Yes, there was always music and food! It was a rich time of growth and maturing. It was a time of feasting on the goodness of life in Christ, immersion in the truths of our faith, and of developing roots that would anchor our souls to Christ and to each other when hard times would come. Come they have.

And then some of us were scattered. We set out following God's call in vocation and in our jobs. Glenn and I were some of the ones that scattered across the world. We have been separated by many miles for more than twenty years.

Every time we get back together for a reunion, I am reminded that time and distance apart are no match for the deep love and affection that is rooted in Christ. We greet each other, maybe need a little help with a name, perhaps have a few more gray hairs (in some cases less hair!), and carry a few more wrinkles, but something stirs deep within us. It is the recognition of Christ incarnate.

Email, social media, and face time have enabled us to connect across the miles and help bridge some of the gap of being apart. There is nothing however that can match the gift of being together. Our time spent together is marked by laughter and of course by some tears.

Then as always, the guitars come out and the song sheets are passed around. Something happens as we begin to lift our voices in a chorus of club songs. The Spirit descends upon us and we recognize that we are in the presence of God. As Celtic spirituality calls it, it is "thin space". "Thin space" is where the spiritual and the earthly seem to intersect and we experience the deep presence of God. It is a place that seems to just happen and when it does, I never want to leave.

In a sense this seems like a little reminder of what waits for us up ahead. Yesterday a friend called it the "generosity of abundance". Not just having barely enough, not just having enough by accident, but experiencing abundance, an overflowing of God's generous provision by his sacred design.

For sure life is hard. However it is made so much better by our coming together in community and fellowship. This day our gratitude overflows as we think of each of you and as you cross our minds.

Colossians 1:27 And the secret is simply this: Christ in you! Yes, Christ in you bringing with him the hope of all glorious things to come.

...grace and peace...

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