31 Days in which I Am Saved by Beauty – Day 14

today brought clear skies
and warm temperatures.
Our small group did its monthly thing,
gathering at our home.
And on this fall day, October 14, it was still more 
than warm enough to meet in the yard. 

These are such good people,
so dear to us,
and we enjoy our 2-hour window
for sharing and prayer,
sipping cool (or warm) beverages,
enjoying a few sweet or savory treats. 
Every one of us carries around
some points of concern and struggle;
every one of us finds moments
of grace and redemption
even in the middle of the messy.

The theme of our morning worship
carried over into our conversation a little bit.
We looked at the story of the rich young ruler
and the call to surrender,
to let go of all those things
that bind us and keep us
from fully following Jesus. 

I don’t like that story very much. 
It hits a little too close to home, you know?
But today, I liked it just a bit better.
We pondered the line,
“Jesus looked at him and loved him,”
in juxtaposition with the 
end of the story –
when the young man sadly walks away. 

Ever wondered why Jesus
didn’t do what we might be likely to do?
Soft-soap the deal?
Make a different offer?
Do everything in our power to
change this potential great-leader-for-the-kingdom’s mind? 

Yeah, me, neither. 

But today, I did think about it.
A lot.
And here’s what I’ve come to:
Jesus looks at us and loves us;
Jesus invites us into a full-bodied relationship
     of community and action;
Jesus loves us too much to either force us to follow
     or to back-pedal about what it might cost us to do so. 

So, as I cleaned up the kitchen
after they left this afternoon,
as I rested and caught up on Facebook,
as I took my walk and spied
this glory on the Carpinteria foothills –
I asked God to help me to want to let go.
To let go of . . .
     how much I love living where I live;
     how much I adore my grandchildren;
     how controlling I can feel inside,
          wanting to ‘fix’ everyone’s problems,
          not trusting that God’s got it – no matter the outcome.
Because we all have those things that trap us,
     and bind us,
          and keep us 
from becoming a fully devoted follower of Jesus. 

What are yours?
 “Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise!
Let the earth and all living things join in.
Let the rivers clap their hands in glee!
Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the LORD.
For the LORD is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with justice,
and the nations with fairness.”
Psalm 98:7-9, NLT

Joining with a few friends tonight – Michelle, Jen, Ann, Laura and L.L. to name a few:
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  1. Apropos to nothing you have written in this excellent post–I just finished reading “Age of Miracles,” and I looked at your photos and my first thought was, “Thank God, California’s still OK.”

  2. What the heck is “Age of Miracles?” Sorry to be so out of it!

  3. The things you asked God to help you let go of could have been my list of things to let go of. Obviously those things hold a very special place in our hearts. I have to remind myself daily that everything I have is really his anyway…..
    Great post. Love the comfort of friends and small group meetings and snacks…

  4. Thank you, Vicky – it’s a fine line sometimes between deep gratitude for God’s gifts (which is a great place to be) and allowing those gifts to supersede the Giver (which isn’t such a great place to be.) Thanks for standing with me in the thin place between.