Hi everyone. Rob here.
Happy New Year everyone. At this stage it looks as if 2022 will have a similar level of uncertainty as 2020 and 2021 did before it. Covid is mutating and as it does so the world changes with it. Are we also prepared to change in order to meet the challenges of a new world with resilient, hopeful faith?
I love The Message paraphrase of Colossians 1:18-20 as it describes Christ.
He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so expansive, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
“So spacious is he, so expansive…” Ponder those words. Think about Jesus in those terms. He is not narrow or small-minded or petty. Think about all that is broken in our world and then think about the spacious love of Jesus restoring and reconciling it all. We serve and love a big God. Within that big love there is room for us to also change, for our old ways to become new and for our lives to be transformed. New thoughts, new actions and new attitudes are all possible as we give ourselves over to the expansive love of Christ.
It is this kind of love that our own hearts need to become truly alive. It is also the kind of love that the world desperately needs as it slides into the petty hatreds that come with tribalism, nationalism and sectarianism. God is love and God needs to be shown to be love by those that claim to believe in him and to be led by his Spirit.
For me that leads to an action point that is obvious but seems increasingly hard to put into practice. I need to spend time with God. I know he’s with me always but, and I’m sure you understand, the loudness of the world seems to be distracting my gaze from him a lot more these days. It’s not only the Covid pandemic, vaccine debates and endless speculation, but the ads, the media, the bills, the demands of life and more. I have found myself neglecting one of my core principles:
The busier and more demanding life is, the more time you need to spend in God’s loving presence.
If God is my strength then I need to spend time with him so that his strength fills me. The same applies to his love, his creativity, his kindness and his wisdom. The qualities that I need to do life well all emanate from God himself. they don’t come from me. They are fruits of the Spirit. Trying to do life on my own then is folly. I need God. I need to spend time with him – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We all do. Our hearts need us to. the people we care about need us to. The world needs us to. We need God-given capacity and abundance in a world that tries to take so much from us.
We become like the people we spend time with. They rub off on us and we on them. The same applies to time with God. Purposeful interaction and attention to Jesus means that more of Jesus will get into us and come out of us. I now have a few routines to sharpen up. My getting up routine, my going to bed routine, my transition from work to home and home to work routines all need more intentional focus and awareness. I need Jesus. I need to live out of that truth. Maybe then I too can become lovingly spacious and expansive.
How about you? As you look ahead into 2022 do you see yourself as someone with capacity, with abundance, resourced and ready for whatever may come? Or, like me, do you see that more of God is the only way forward? the invitation is clear. He wants our attention so that he can fill us with his love and his Spirit. Let’s give it to him.
Grace and peace.