Maybe This Is What I’m Supposed To Do

Read Mark 14;  45% of “Beautiful Outlaw” by John Eldredge)

“Think of the ocean. Picture it in your mind. Tonight the breakers are thundering on the reef a hundred yards out, and beyond that open ocean. What does this tell us about Jesus? What words come to mind? Majestic, powerful, wild, dangerous. Yes, tempestuous, like the clearing of the temple. “His eyes like the grey o’ the sea,” as Ezra Pound wrote, “the sea that brooks no voyaging.” But also gently playful as it laps at your feet, swirling round your toes, pulling the sand away from beneath you as Jesus ever so gently pulls the rug out from under us. I look down. Scattered at my feet lie a thousand shells, delicate, intricate, the work of a jeweler.  An artist with very small tools and exceptional eyesight.  If all this is thw ork of an artist’s hand, what does it tell us about the artist?  Creation is epic and intimate.  HE is epic and intimate.  Everywhere around me, an obsession with beauty and attention to detail.”
                                                                                                                      – John Eldredge
Last night Michael was insistent that I wake him for my early morning beach routine.  I set the coffee maker to slowly drip me awake at 6:30 a.m.  I didn’t think Michael stood a chance not being a coffee drinker.  But with one quick tug of his blanket, Michael was up and wide awake.  Within minutes we were soaking in the morning ocean on an empty beach.
Initially I felt a little invaded into my holy sand space.  My morning routine is how I begin a day of spiritual seeking and exploration during study break.  I tend to be rather stringent and selfish with my early mornings with Jesus.  But those tenuous feelings melted away quickly.  On this morning, I thought, maybe this is what I’m supposed to do.
A father and son… two beach chairs… a Bible… a travel mug of coffee.  Perfect.
I took a deep breath of sea breeze, and told Michael about my approach with these special morning times.  I hoped he could sit and soak in God too.  He did.  After a few moments of glory basking, I asked Michael a question.  “What is the gospel?”  My internal fingers were crossed that this pastor’s kid would nail it.  He fumbled.  He knew it was good news, but it didn’t go much further than that.  He used words like “saved” and “heaven” and what Jesus did for us.  Michael voiced what most 10-year-olds could concerning the Kingdom of God.  Would most Christian adults do any better?
“Where’s heaven?” I asked Michael.  He was now feeling the pressure of my theological quizzing.  A slight, unsure pointing upwards signaled my son’s answer.   Had I unknowingly taught Michael about a distant, up there God?  Was my son a captive of inherited deism?  (sigh)
What could we learn about God if all we had was the ocean?  I asked Michael my second question.  Together we gleaned truths like:  God is big, creative, and powerful.   Then we dissected things a bit further.   I asked Michael if he thought the ocean taught us that God is fun.  He replied, “Well, we like to have fun in it, don’t we?”   That was a longer version of “duh!”  Is God playful?  We considered dolphin we have seen jumping and breaking the surface of the massive waters before us.  Shells pointed to an intimate God of great artistic detail.  John Eldredge writes that God is both epic and intimate.
We sat and pondered creation.  I tried my best to explain to my beloved Son that maybe the Kingdom of God is more than just “up there” for us to obtain someday by somehow being good enough down here.  Together we were trying to grasp the glory of God’s creation… knowing that much of it was surrendered to an enemy by our sin.  This awesome creation we were taking in pointed backwards to what once was a perfect paradise.  It also acknowledges fallen imperfections (we wondered what an oil spill might look like).  BUT… one day it will be completely restored and renewed.  Wow.  Could Michael take all of this in?  Could he see himself be restored in a new heaven and new earth?  Maybe a smaller gospel of getting saved to get to heaven someday is just easier to explain.
But maybe… just maybe… this conversation with my son is exactly what I’m supposed to do.  Maybe it’s time for a younger generation bored of a boxy religion to be awakened to a greater gospel, a bigger Kingdom, and a God who is making ALL things new.  Graciously, God accentuated my time with Michael by providing pelicans and sea gulls this morning.  They were fishing perfectly and efficiently.  One sea gull actually landed on the back of a pelican and was surfing a few waves before flying off.  In the rising sun we saw a small school of fish jumping out of the water like silver confetti.
And to think… this glory of God that a father and son were sharing, was somehow not as big and amazing as someday it will be.  Oh to think about a greater good news of God’s restored Kingdom where my son and I will live in such a faultless Eden.  To think… someday God will smile as this will be what He intended all along.  THIS will be the glory of God.  It was such a great conversation with a young boy I adore.  Maybe THIS is exactly what I’m supposed to do.
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