Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mud + Water: "But God"

I close my eyes and hear voices in unison; children wriggle out of their seats and hang over the balcony of this old open Theatre. We meet here on this Tuesday for lessons and Carols and a night of worship. I open my eyes to see their faces and I hear the words and I am captive to the way our hearts pound, how loud we sing the refrain because we know how true it is. I see the man in front of me who works at Burning Coal Theatre and does not know our church. His hands are still by his side, and his body pushes forward when he sings. I hear his voice clearly in the dark room outlined in white Christmas lights. He sits, entranced after each song and leans in to hear the scripture passages that tell the great story of how and why He came. He listens and I feel as if we are all telling him, and I can't stop myself from inching closer in my chair because I remember truly hearing it for the first time; I remember the way my hands rested on my lap and my eyes widened at how irresistible it all seemed. He came for me? He came to be broken? He came to give real peace? I do not know if the man in front of me knows the Christ, but I know that as he listens and sings and joins in, he knows there is something greater. 

When I think about Christmas and the King born in the most humble way, I can't help but think that the world must know something greater was coming. And today, as we celebrate and get caught up in the celebration and forget what we are celebrating, there is a heavy waiting. Something greater has come, and something greater will come again. Throughout His word, there is a beautiful phrase that will not leave my mind and my heart during this Advent season: "but God.." He has many names - holy and beautiful names that describe His character. But what rings in my ears as I reflect on His coming is the picture of the new Covenant - the true fulfillment and Messiah. 

"But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." 
- Galatians 4:4-5

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
- Romans 5:8

"but God raised him from the dead" 
- Acts 13:30

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ... For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" 
- Ephesians 2:4-5, 8

There was a time when the whole world was in bondage to sin and death. But God! Two beautiful words that change everything. But God loved too much, He loved us too much to leave us in that brokenness, so He sent His Son to enter into that brokenness and He offered real, abundant life. He came to rescue us, to pay the ransom. The blood of Christ was shed, and it was costly. The love of God is costly. 

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"Pleasant words are [like] honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24