I heard a speech coach once describe the art of story-telling as giving each word its own time in your mouth. When it came time to tell our children the Greatest Story, I reached for every angle and resource at my disposal. Thankfully, children like the hands-on process, no matter their learning style, and I enjoyed finding ways for them to touch, taste and handle the Words of Truth and Life that comprise the Gospel and a Biblical worldview, without always sticking in a DVD Continue reading “Observing the Atonement (Without Crucifying Someone)”
I drank in the time-honored melody of the hymn as it poured over the neighborhood from the electronic bell tones of the Methodist Church. ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ it chimed, as I finally seated myself, breathless, on the dusty porch chair. Cup of tea, Bible, journal, pen? No. No pen but I was finally here and the battle had been fierce.
I had come awake by a telephone call from overseas; just the usual extended family check-up. Nothing major but I was awake now so might as well maximize the extra time for extended ‘Quiet Time’ (QT), I idealized. A quick love pat down the hubby’s thigh designed to say ‘Love ya’, without robbing of the few sweet minutes yet to pass before his alarm went off, I slipped out of bed for brief ablutions and finally made a beeline for the necessary cup of hot green tea.
And so began the running of the QT Gauntlet.
Bracing internally, I groaned with longing for the morn when it will just be a cake-walk: the journey to the trysting place where I am reminded of ‘what it’s all about’ and ‘Who wins ultimately’, at the end of the long day. But till then I tried to play deaf to the voice of the jacket lying on the floor calling out to me, demanding to be appropriately located on a hook in the hallway closet. A long-postponed project peeked out from a room at the end of the hall, waving at me then throwing guilt bombs. The kitchen light, left burning all night by my late-night study-ers, enticed me to grumbling displeasure and to begin composing the lecture I would later deliver on frugality and good stewardship. A bunch of over-ripe bananas waylaid me on the counter, a-peeling to be made into muffins for breakfast, ‘right then!’, ‘They can be baking while you do QT’, they reasoned. That launched an entire barrage of assaults from the kitchen lobbyists, all proposing possible good deeds I could get going, ‘really quickly!’, that would actually help the forward movement and efficient flow of my day.
Doggedly I ignored them all, made the cup of tea, and pressed my way to the laundry room, in search of my sneakers and finally headed, with one under each arm, to the front porch. That’s when a stealth tactic seized me – muscle-memory – for before I knew what I was doing, I had set down everything and had opened the dryer door, pulled out a table-cloth (from the kitchen linen load I had put to dry the night before) and started folding. Thank God for its wrinkles, which prompted me to replace it and run the dryer again, saving me an entire folding session, then and there!
Ignoring the cat’s meow, I squatted down to strap on my sneakers and let the strong, determined tones of Lauren Daigle’s contemporary worship song ‘First!’ flood my mind,
“Fir-ir-irst! I want to seek You, I want to seek You,
Fir-ir-irst… more than anything I want, I want You first!”
Gathering my QT paraphernalia and tea, I backed out of that mine-field and broke for the front door.
The experience that greeted me was nothing short of a warrior’s welcome home. Call me hyperbolic but as soon as my rear smothered the last protesting voice – the pollen-dusty porch chair – the nearby church-bell tower suddenly pealed out over the neighborhood, in the still quiet morning:
“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;”I breathed, in deep thankful agreement. He is faithful, I felt like He had been there the whole-time willing me to come be with Him, and Creation’s glorious outdoors cheered along with the bells, as I showed up, despite the challenging distractions, which had caused me to turn, and turn and turn again, till finally, in the right direction, I came. The brisk wash of fresh morning air reminded me of my cuppa, and as I relaxed to enjoy a deep sip, the lines of the hymn continued to fill my mind,
“Thou changest not; Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be. “
I drank in meaning as I sipped
tea and truth together: He alone is the Immutable One Who has perfect capability to be both inflexible yet full of grace, firm without crystallizing into cruel rigidity, eternally good, kind, and trustworthy, morning by morning.
Warmed by the tea, braced by the mild pre-sunrise chill and chorused by hymnodical truth, I tearfully gave thanks for the grace provided to fight the good fight another dawn, to put Him first, ‘up front and center’,
“…letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on all day.”
– C. S. Lewis
 Lewis, C. S. (1979). Mere Christianity, Book IV, Chapt 8. New York: Macmllan.