“I remember a place where You spoke my name and I heeded to Your call ...”
from The Old Landmark, composer unknown
One of the best things about being back in North Carolina is the opportunity it gives me to re-connect with old friends and with family. I have had wonderful lunches and dinners with friends I had not seen in years; as well as some good, old-fashioned quality time with my sons and my grandson.
It got me thinking about those times in life that we call “full-circle” experiences. By that I mean the experiences that bring us back to some point where we have previously been. When I moved back here last month, I rented an apartment in the same complex in which I lived in the early to mid-90’s. There has been extensive new construction in this area since then - lots of newer, more modern housing choices. But I felt strongly drawn back to where I lived before, with my sons; just the three of us. And I still feel a fresh sense of peace and comfort each time I drive into the complex and enter my new home; which is smaller than the apartment we lived in back then, but with a very similar layout and “feel.”
Today, a song I haven’t thought about in years has been “stuck on re-play” in my head:
“I gave up all that [superficial righteousness] so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself.”
Philippians 3:10 (The Message)
There probably is not a season when my Christian angst is greater than during the one through which we are currently passing. My earliest memories of this season are set in my church-of-origin. My father, who was a great preacher, would preach the Crucifixion story using words that evoked such violent and horrific mental images that it made my hands, feet, and side hurt. And my heart – my heart would break to think that anyone as good as Jesus would have suffered all that he suffered. No matter how many times I heard Daddy (and others) explain that a loving God not only permitted, but willed, that to happen so that God could forgive us for our sins, it was hard for me to reconcile the end with the means, and the means with love.