Monday, January 06, 2014

The Challenge Concludes, Day 365: Malachi 4; Psalm 149-150; Luke 9

A Hand to the Plow
A year ago, to the day, we began this pilgrimage through the Bible. I have enjoyed this remarkable adventure, and thank the founders of the challenge for offering it to us, for all of you who have sustained the blog through this transit of holy writ, and for the opportunity to walk, grow and evolve as a child of God over the last year with a daily dip into words that have sustained me, challenged me, upset me, grown me as a child of God.


365 days ago, I wrote this:
Yes, the Bible is a big book. As I sit here on the front end of this year's pilgrimage through it, I am also aware that it is something that holds more than words and narrative. It holds, and will reveal to us, our journey through time and space as the created, being loved by the One who continually creates, redeem and sustains us.
Those words have been proofed. That's the thing about being immersed in the narrative of our walk with God: we have had the opportunity to bear witness to how God is steadfast, and to our common struggle to live up to, and in to, God's call to communion and covenant in all our stumbling, finite ways. Here are the take-aways I bear witness to as we conclude:

  • God loves us, with abandon...beyond our worth and yet in that loving bestowing worth on us without restraint
  • God forgives. Endlessly and infinitely
  • God is: active, present, engaged
  • God is not dispassionate, disengaged, disinterested
  • Jesus continues to inspire, bless, teach, form, challenge, outrage, pique, provoke, console, heal, restore, reveal, release, proclaim, love us....all of us. Without exception, with abandon (see above)
There have been times when it has been difficult to get up, read, pray and write. There have been times when it has been as easy as taking this next breath. There have been moments when I have struggled to find a single word to offer, much less a full post...and times when my fingers have fallen behind my heart as I strive to get down onto the screen what God has chosen to put on my heart to write. What I have learned, realize that a life's work will still not get this lesson to stick because we have to learn it again, and again, and again? That all of this is bigger than one person, one denomination, one culture, one age...Our journey of discovery of God's love for us is for the ages. We can add our part to it, as did Abram and Sarai, Deborah, Solomon, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Hosea, Peter, John, Paul and the rest...but no one can say that they have completed anything, save two moments: when God declares the creation good; and when Jesus cries from the cross. And even in those moments? The end is the beginning. It always is, with God.


So, take in these last lessons...and then look back on the landscape of what you have accomplished. Have you grown in our knowledge and love of the Lord? Have you found new perspectives of God's work and witness in the midst of humanity? Where have you found the deepest challenges? Where has your pilgrimage taken you that has surprised you? Where has it confirmed what you hoped for? Where have you experienced disappointment, or perhaps even disillusion? 

Finally, let's affirm that now when we pray to God, speak about God, make a witness to the stories we hear about God's great work in the restoration of creation to union with its creator, that we have grown. With our hand to the plow, we have follow this line, opened this field of faith for cultivation and prepared it for planting. Rather than see this journey as completed, can we not see it as only having just begun?

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