This is the start of a new semester. A new dance of grief and joy, and new set of memories and experiences. And still, the words painted on top of canvas stretched over bars of wood ring true over places of life stretched over the cross of Christ.
dwell. abide. rest.
And isn’t that the hardest thing of all? To truly “lean back into” Him as Ann Voskamp says.
Dwelling means an end to searching for home, and a beginning of finding true dwelling places as the finest sanctuary (hiding under the shadow of His wings).
Abiding means an end to seeking all that He is in twisted, sin-filled, self-filled, life-perverted places and a beginning of finding Him in all He is here.
Resting is an end of the rush to become perfect to be loved, and a beginning of believing Him when He says, “It is finished,” “I have begun (her), I will complete (her).”
My Pastor spoke of the true mission from the pulpit yesterday. This true mission of being sent into the world by Jesus to those who need Him and need His life-giving, power-realizing, hope-full-living, and eternal grace, love.
That mission steps beyond the importance of trying to find a good job that pays the bills, and plans for the future. These are only small portraits where we image-Him… proclaiming the gospel (good news of the new kingdom) in who we are, where we are, what we do.
This set of art classes I’m blessed to take, this is the set of bridge building lessons. Bridges are areas we build into the world…areas we show up with good news. Art happens to be the thing we do while sharing who He is, what He has done for us, and who we are to Him. This is goodness. This is hard learning. This is work. This is feet hitting pavement, a ballet dancer in front of mirrors that image back to the viewer..
…imaging back the glory.
Am I willing to be changed here? Am I open to the work of God that could be done in me here? Have I forsaken bracing myself against pain with the sin of the flesh? These answers are easy with letters, and smooth with words. These answers are hard with hands and feet and breathing in and out of physical oxygen. Am I willing to step into the pulse of God?
Am I willing to learn to build a “bridge”? Am I willing to make the “models of bridges,” stand in the face of rejection with my heart-poured work in front of their eyes? Am I willing to repeat to myself that they do not give me the identity I already have?
This is the worship, the bowing low to honor, the submission: here. today.
This is the work of “spies” (who are not trained only to sit and linger over tables and plans), trained to go out and operate with the mission in mind. Undercover? It might seem like that at first. “Do they really know me? How do I communicate what I’m really all about…or more importantly, who He is all about?”
Just learn the lesson here: learn to find the grace today, accept the love today.
dwell. abide. rest.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 ESV
English Standard Version (ESV)
O Savior of those who seek refuge
fromtheir adversaries at your right hand. 8 Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9 from the wicked who do me violence,
my deadly enemies whosurround me
How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
My Refuge and My Fortress
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom Itrust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
andsee the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion andthe serpent you willtrample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
andshow him my salvation.”