Artis Divina - Where Artists find ways to follow God

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

Jesus speaks here about unresponsive people, and then about those who are tired of complications and religious-ness, come and hear his heart, mind, and words…

From The Message 1
Next Jesus let fly on the cities where he had worked the hardest but whose people had responded the least, shrugging their shoulders and going their own way.
“Doom to you, Chorazin! Doom, Bethsaida! If Tyre and Sidon had seen half of the powerful miracles you have seen, they would have been on their knees in a minute. At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you. And Capernaum! With all your peacock strutting, you are going to end up in the abyss. If the people of Sodom had had your chances, the city would still be around. At Judgment Day they’ll get off easy compared to you.”

Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”

Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I’m not keeping it to myself; I’m ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:20-30

Sometimes, we as creative people in the Christian Faith, get subtly, or even not so subtly sidelined by the congregations that we attend. Or sometimes even just get asked to DO things for our Churches, they think that we should be just overjoyed at being given the chance to be a part of the church, and give what they think may take a couple of hours, but in reality, may take almost a weeks worth of our time and thoughts.

Their mindset is often that we would regard it as a privilege to be used by the Church, to help the Church. And all this for the momentary usage of our works, then they are pretty much discarded, and also for the momentary chance to belong to the club of our church, and for once, be accepted, but only because they actually found a “use” for us, and our work. This isn’t so much of a rant, as much as a reality that we must learn to deal with.

But thankfully, and MUCH more importantly, Jesus asks us to come to him simply to BE with Him, and to come with all that we are, and all that we carry around as different types of baggage.

Jesus asks us to find, in completely unforced and graceful ways, how to come and dance with him. How to come and find his paths, and walk together in the cool of the day, enjoying each others’ company, laughing and just having a great time together. Jesus doesn’t ask you to bring your paints and music charts and carving tools and word processors. He just asks you to come.

He just asks you to come and follow him,
- and he will give you rest.

He would like us to find the unforced rhythms of heaven’s graces, and enfold them into our lives, seeking to continuously and spontaneously be with him and enjoy the presence of God in our every moment of consciousness. This is about a relationship, not a duty or a supposed obligation.

Pray that the Spirit would show you what He wants to show you, and then go ahead and re-read the Matthew passage again, maybe a few times, and underline the phrases that stick out to you, and then write two or three of them below.

1 _______________________________________________________________________________________________

2 _______________________________________________________________________________________________

3 _______________________________________________________________________________________________

Dwell on these thoughts for a few moments…

Do these thoughts have any implications for your life?
- for your life in relationship with God?

Spend some time now speaking with God, and talking to Him about it means to you to walk together with Him. Honestly tell Him what He means to you, and where you would like to be with Him.

Again, go back to the passage, and write down the promises that God tells you about walking together with Him….

Where does this take you?

What new and fresh life patterns and rhythms of grace do you sense God leading you to enter into?

What might be new passions for me to develop?

Pray and ask for God’s help in accomplishing these changes in your life’s relationship with God.

1 Peterson, Eugene H., The Message, (Colorado Springs: NavPress Publishing Group) 1997.


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