Last night, I was out for a walk (with Scout of course) on a stunningly beautiful June night. The weather was perfect – slightly cool temp, low humidity, clear skies, gentle breeze, rain earlier in the day. Perfect. As I walked out, I finally purchased an album that I had on CD back in the day but somehow the disc disappeared before I copied it to MP3. It was the debut album from Jars of Clay. I am not a big Christian music fan (Yikes, a pastor who isn’t a big CCM fan) but Jars’ music has always connected deeply to me and this album in particular because of when I first came across it and the ways that it planted seeds of the deeper questions and wrestlings and blessings of faith. So as I started out, I was listening to these songs that have such deep resonance for me and I discovered new resonances as I listened to it for the first time in years. Even the titles of some of the songs speak to the depth – Liquid, Sinking, Love Song for a Savior, Art in Me, Flood, Worlds Apart, Blind.
But that wasn’t all. One street I walked down was beautifully illuminated by the low-in-the-sky sun and across the street from me floated a single glistening, rainbow filled bubble. But as I looked around, I literally saw no one else outside. No kids in the front yard blowing bubbles, not even the sounds of kids playing in a back yard. Where did it come from? How long had that single bubble been floating in the gentle breeze? I just stopped and watched it float until it moved to a place where I could no longer see it reflecting sunlight – maybe it continued floating a while longer or maybe it finally came to rest and popped. But it was beautiful as it caught my heart.
Finally, just around the corner from there was just one leaf on the sidewalk. A single yellow leaf that had fallen to the sidewalk. A single heart-shaped leaf. A single leaf that spoke to me of God’s abiding love and life. The concrete is rough just as life often is but laying upon that is the rounded and soft beauty of this single leaf that spoke to me of the love of the One who is in the midst of the rough periods and reminds us of that abiding presence through the re-connection with songs from the past that still speak in the present. The One whose beauty can be seen in a bubble that floated from who-knows-where and reflected the promise and acceptance of God. The One who created a world where there is both rough and smooth.
And then came the cotton patch’s version of John 5 this morning – specifically 5:26. In the midst of a discourse of Jesus to some “good church people” who challenged him about healing on the Sabbath… “For as the Father is a life-bearer, so he has made the Son a life-bearer.” I love that sense – life-bearer. God brings us life and as God is in us through Jesus and the Spirit, we are the life-bearers as well.