We recently moved after living in the same house for nine years. Eliza and I had moved into that house with no children: we moved out with four. During the move, I took multiple trips to one of the County recycling/collection centers. For some reason. I came to enjoy these trips and even anticipate them.
What was the appeal? Maybe it was the resemblance to basketball--tossing trash into a giant goal. Shooting from three-point range. Behind the back. The no look. Maybe it was the fun of breaking things on purpose after 41 years of never being allowed to break things. Maybe it was the relief of clearing out some of the pink plastic manufactured by the Barbie people.
Perhaps what was happening was that I was appreciating in a symbolic way the joy that can come from distilling life to its essence.
The reading in church on Sunday, March 8, 2015, was Hebrews 12:1-3: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
What is the essence of the Christian life, then?
As referenced in Chapter 5 of Joan S. Gray's Spiritual Leadership for Church Officers, Jesus explained and exemplified a new model of leadership. When the mother of James and John asked Jesus how her sons could sit at the right and left of Jesus in the kingdom, Jesus replied that "to sit at my right or my left is not for me to grant." Matthew 20:22. Jesus went on to offer to the other ten disciples that "whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:26-27.
We are asked to love, lead, and serve. This is what I mean to do.