In my previous Tea Time for Your Soul, I told how my word for 2015 was “miracle” and about the miracle that stood out among the rest was my marriage on the last day of the year. Many wrote back and suggested that “joy" might be my word for 2016! I am sure the joy I experience in the overflow of God’s generous miracles is evident. The word our Sweet Father granted to me for this year is “prayer”! It is a joy to pray. Psalm 16:11 says:
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
There is much joy in the presence of the Lord and there is much extravagance also.
I’m writing this week’s Tea Time from the balcony of my honeymoon on an island paradise viewing a cloud covered volcano against the background of a brilliant blue sky and the foreground of lush flowered trees. I’m asking myself: What kind of God makes a world like this? He is beyond extravagant and even wild in His expression of love for us humans.
It was important to my husband and me to share the Lord’s Supper (communion, Eucharist) as our first act of worship as husband and wife during our wedding. I prepared the common cup and Paul told me not to put too much in because I had asked him to drink all that was left after me. Since the cup represents the blood of Christ we didn’t want to leave any. I didn’t think I put too much in. I drank a lot, but for him to finish it all, he had to lean his head way back and everyone laughed. He wasn’t trying to be funny and he definitely wasn’t mocking Jesus. Later when I was praying and thanking God for the beautiful service in which my new son-in-law presided (it was his first wedding), I remembered that moment and hoped no one was offended. In my heart I sense Jesus smiling and enjoying that invitation to our marriage and made Himself known with us in a wild, fun, extravagant way! Now, I’m the first to desire reverence and devotion as we obey Jesus’ instructions that we eat the bread and drink the cup in remembrance of Him. Yet, this experience felt blessed as well.
There are literally days that I cannot take in the wildly loving nature of God. The closer I get to God, the more I grow in awe of His goodness to me and all of His creation. Why do we find it so hard to take in the detailed messages sent each day from heaven? The air I breathe is a gift from God. The sun, moon, stars set in place by the very God who loves me so personally, testifies to God’s extravagant love. Why do I allow these daily experiences become ordinary demands? Why am I totally blown away when God brings about dreams that He Himself placed in my heart to fruition? Perhaps it is because I grow numb to the extraordinary, wild, extravagant love of God while focusing on the ways sin has drawn my attention to the drudgery of each day.
It’s easy to bear witness to God’s extravagant, wild love in an island paradise. However, those who live there seem to live with my problem as well. It takes the spiritual discipline of awareness to fully take in the love God pours into us through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) each day.
I want to enter into ordinary days, waking in my ordinary home with the same anticipation of noticing God’s extravagant love for me. It’s God’s love that makes any place I am a paradise.