by Scott Linscott
I’ve been in the White Mountains this week. God provided a surprise opportunity for me to escape.. It’s been a productive week. I’ve had times to rest and times when my adrenaline was pumping (trail rides.) I’ve outlined my Sunday messages through Feb 13. I’ve updated the church website to upload Monday. And I have done a lot of thinking and praying. I’ve also been a bit introspective.
Am I ready to return to hit the ground running? Probably not, but that’s okay. With current events being what they are, It’s probably not a “running” time as much as it is a “standing firm” time. (Ephesians 6)
This morning I used this picture as my prompt. I made this image at the Fryeburg Fair tool museum. Making photographs is different than taking pictures. I was most interested in the cleated shoe in the middle of the display of heavy things. I pictured a logger doing what loggers do, standing firm, solid stance, and good footing.
Roman soldiers wore cleated sandals and some wore cleated boots when Paul wrote his letter to the Jesus followers in Ephesus. Paul told his friends to get dressed in allegorical God armor, not so they could march, or take, or forcefully advance but so they could stand firm and not be moved off their footing on “the good news (gospel) of peace.” He used the word “stand” three times. In this day and age of everyone advancing their opinions and agendas and forcing their ways on everyone else, standing firm is an important distinction.
But, be careful here. This does not give us a license to stubbornly dig in our heels for our own opinions and biases. It means we dig in our heels for the gospel that Jesus taught and lived. We stand firm on that gospel; the die-to-self, I-am-second, servant-focused, redeeming good news that brings incomprehensible peace.
I like to advance. I like to build and create. I have never been much of a maintenance-type personality. I think that’s why this pandemic pause has taken a big toll on me. Almost everything I want to try, start, or put in place is tempered by the “not yet” reality of today. Don’t get me wrong, the pandemic pause has made us do church differently and that has been my spark. Our efforts have turned almost entirely to serving the marginalized and meeting needs. There are very good things that have come out of this mess. We, I, have learned much.
I am not returning to real life with “wings as eagles” and lots of energy to “run and not be weary.” (Isaiah 41) That’s okay. I think we are still in a “wait on the Lord” period. I think we’re still in a “stand firm,” challenging season where we need to lace up our cleats, dig into the Truth we know and face whatever is ahead with faith and confidence.
Yes, let us stand firm in our commitment to proclaim and live the Good News of Jesus Christ! The winds of outrage and fear mongering may assail us, but Jesus will stand firm with us through the tumalt.