Friday, August 08, 2008

What is "That"?

The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. Proverbs 4:18 ESV

Two precious weeks of rest and restoration are drawing to a close. We returned this morning from the Maritimes, after driving 24 hours straight through to get home in time for a beloved little grandson's first birthday. We have had so many experiences and taken in more of the wonder of God's creation than I ever would have thought possible in two short weeks.

We have scrambled across rocks and felt the salt spray on our faces on deserted areas of our eastern coast. We have seen vistas of beauty that at times took our breath away. We have descended to the black depths of a Cape Breton coal mine, and ascended heights of grandeur along the Cabot Trail. We met people who have instantly enriched out lives, some of whom we will never forget. We have tapped our toes to the infectious music of the Maritimes performed live. We saw wildlife, including two moose (one almost too close for comfort!), deer, a nestful of young osprey (close enough to photograph pretty clearly), whales cavorting off Cape Breton, seals poking their heads playfully up amidst the waves, and countless birds and squirrels. What an adventure!

I simply want to thank God for a time away that was as wonderful as one could imagine. Even in the midst of car troubles (we left an alternator behind in New Brunswick, and drove home with a brand new one!) his hand was evident every which way we turned and in the unfolding of this interlude of rest and refreshing.

The best part of this trip, though, was coming back. Back to our network of family and relationships. As much fun as it was to be away, the most exciting moments of the trip where when we were turned toward "home". Those last 24 hours of driving back to where God has placed us to live out our calling in time and space, just flew by. We have so much to be grateful for - our family, our friends, our church family, our jobs.

I've been thinking alot of late about the following verse of scripture:

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of THAT for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.. Phil. 3:12 ESV (emhasis mine)

I've been wondering what "that" is, in the "that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" and hoping I'm not somehow missing it in all the scurrying about and living of life that I do. Getting away for two weeks can change your perspective, though and has certainly given me a new outlook. I'm not sure how well I'm doing of taking hold of "that", but I do know that I'm here where I'm supposed to be, and that "THAT" --the extraordinariness of God's calling on my life-- is smack dab in the midst of all these relationships -family, friends, vocation, and in the day-to-day things that he has given me to do.

"That". Could it be it's in the rhythms and flow of ordinary life? Is this where God's glory is revealed in the wonder of where he has placed us and our response to his unfolding plan for our lives?

I think so... I really do.

5 comments:

Brenda said...

I'm so glad to hear you're back home safe and sound and thankful that you had some good rest and relaxation. Enjoy the birthday party! We're celebrating here as well because we have a new grandson. I'll send you a photo.

Belinda said...

Brenda, Congratulations on your new grandson!! :)

And Susan, welcome back. It's so good to have you back across the few fields that lie between here and Alliston! I'm so glad that this vacation restored your soul.
May your "that" be so obvious.

Meg said...

Hello Susan -

I love how you wrote about your travels..and I love what you said about "that". I guess it's related to the whole idea of a calling. I've been doing a lot of thinking about all THAT recently, having done the missionary thing and thought about being a pastor, and other apparently "special" callings, and about the whole thing of being special, which is a dangerous place to go in our heads, and these roles often lead us there. Our calling is to be children of God, to live out our daily lives in relationship with Him, as you are saying. I find this blog, and my own blog are seeking to show that to others,and to ourselves, to help us to savour the everyday practice of God's presence in our lives, just like Brother Lawrence in his little book about being a dishwasher. Thanks for putting more words to it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Susan, THAT is exactly that -- living out our vocation amidst the mess and detritus and loveliness of day to day life. It's nice to be reminded of it, and in such a wonderful way.

Thanks!
Alex

The Sheepcat said...

This is a lovely reflection, Susan, and welcome home.

As for that "THAT," I looked at some other translations. The RSV has "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own." Its "this" and "it" apparently refer back to Paul's wish in 3:10-11, "that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." So I think "this" and "it" may refer to the resurrection from the dead. But then again, 3:9 talks "about the righteousness from God that depends on faith." I've read that some of Paul's sentences in the original Greek were extremely long, and it may be that there's no simple way to say in English what he meant.

Let's see, the NIV here is the same as the ESV. The KJV I frankly couldn't quite parse...

All right, we now return to your regularly scheduled programming.