May Everything Be Changed

On Monday I met my mother for lunch and dropped the kids off to spend spring break with their Nana and Poppy. I had been anticipating this day for several weeks. Staci began working full time about a month ago and we’ve all been adjusting to the change in schedule and lifestyle.

I think everyone was excited for a break.

It’s amazing how different our house feels without the kids. Quiet. Calm. It’s a welcome thing, of course — getting a respite from the bedtime routine and the sibling tussles. Staci and I actually had an uninterrupted conversation with each other at dinner.

But it’s almost as if I don’t know what to do with myself. So much of my life centers around my children. It’s actually difficult for me to remember what life was like before they came into our lives. The memory is there, but it’s a hazy vision.

What I do and who I am changed dramatically when those 2 little ones entered my world.

I return often to the Sermon on the Mount. In many ways my faith in anchored in this part of Scripture. I’m fascinated by the picture Matthew paints of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. The words of Jesus seem so significant, so carefully chosen.

It feels like something new and revolutionary was breaking into the world. As if Jesus was birthing something new for the people right there on the mountainside. A new world, a new kingdom was here. And as a I read the words again this weekend, here is what struck me:

It is an all-consuming vision.

crystal-7_1523994iIt’s evident that when Jesus spoke about blessing and anger and law and revenge and love and hate that these weren’t just some addendum. These weren’t just side notes to life or a series of self-help tips. What Jesus was trying to do — for his audience, for you, for me — is to change the way we see. To change the way we think. To change the way we interact with the world around us.

This new thing Jesus is birthing in the world is meant to change everything.

And just like I have difficulty remembering what life was like before my kids, Jesus wants to change the world so much for us that we have trouble seeing it any other way.

Unfortunately, I don’t always want all-consuming. I want Jesus to touch my problem areas with pinpoint accuracy while leaving other areas of my life untouched. I often want the Spirit to change my behavior without changing my attitude or my thoughts.

And it just doesn’t work that way.

This weekend I came upon the short little poem “$3 Worth of God” by William Rees, a retired pastor and author. Its words cut to my heart and may do the same to yours:

I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

— Wilbur Rees

May we all seek new birth today rather than the warmth of the womb. May we seek transformation rather than ecstasy. May each of us seek the all-encompassing, life-altering power of the author of creation.

And may everything be changed.

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