Growing in our Relationship with Jesus

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She can read!

My eldest granddaughter is an emergent reader. Recently we were on vacation together, sitting in a tourist tram, and I asked her to read the words in the front of the tram. I waited, figuring I would have to help her with the more difficult words. Yet, slowly but surely, she read the entire sentence! “Come as guests, leave as friends.” I was surprised, yet excited for her.

It is a thrill to watch this 5 year old have a new world open up to her as she grows in her ability to read. New opportunities are now at her fingertips.

I realized the same is true of us in our relationship with Jesus. When our knowledge of God moves from head knowledge to heart knowledge, an entire new world opens up to us. When we realize that Jesus, God in the flesh, desires nothing less than a personal relationship with each of us, we begin to see and understand that new opportunities are available to us. Those opportunities were available all along, but now they can grow and be nurtured in new ways, because Jesus has just become real to us.

Just as my granddaughter is an emergent reader, so, too, many of us are emergent followers of Jesus. We are just discovering what lies ahead. She has to continue pressing on to read well, and we have to press on, in the words of Paul, to grow in our faith. This is a time to continue your discoveries. This is a time to seek out growth, seek out going deeper in this relationship with Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of Life. What are you doing today to help you grow in your relationship with Jesus?

And, if you are one who has not discovered this reality, that Jesus is real and wants a relationship with you, this can be a time to seek him out, to allow emergent discoveries to become a reality in your life.

Just as my granddaughter is discovering that reading is so exciting, you will be amazed at the exciting path that lies before you when you allow Jesus to be central in your life.

Spiritual Renewal ~ Taize, France

Taize is a place of spiritual renewal. This morning when I left my girlfriend’s house I was as not sure where I would sleep this night. My hope was to stay at Taize, but they do not often take in “strays” for part of the week. They like you to stay the entire week. God is good and I have been allowed to stay until Friday, as was my hope. 

While I almost missed my train in Paris, there were friends there from Strasbourg whom I have not seen in many years. (We will catch up together soon.) They were cheering me on to catch the train to Macon. It reminded me of Hebrews 11 where the Saints who have gone before are cheering those who are still here. It was a beautiful gesture on their part.

So now I am settled in Taize. The dorm room holds six, but since I came late, this last room of adult women is not full. My roommate is from Sweden. This is her fifth time at Taize. She is a chaperone on a bus trip with students, but has said that she is on vacation. I will get to know her better as I did promise the brother who allowed me to stay that I would participate in the morning Bible study. 

Meanwhile, they have a lovely spring and pond at the end of a little fifteen minute walk where I spent much of the afternoon reading  the book of James. 

Brother Roger, who founded this community after World War II, based his community on three things: simplicity, joy and mercy. This is the year studying simplicity at Taize. I,too, am trying to live into simplicity as I attempt to live out of a packback that has very few things in it. 

So meanwhile, James says, beginning in 4:13, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit,’ yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”

This morning I did not know where I would sleep or what I would eat. It is my feeble attempt to live into simplicity. The next step for me is to figure out how to sustain simplicity. What allows you to live a more simplistic life?