Thursday 7 August 2014

The normal, unforced rhythms of grace

After a long summer season of ministry it is so good to be getting back into “normal” life. We have joked that I get a “normal week” about 30% of the year so “normal weeks” are good whenever they happen, but after weeks and months of packing and unpacking and repacking? Normal feels so good.

What does normal mean?

Normal means waking up at a normal time and spending time in the Bible and praying.

Normal means answering emails, having a Skype meeting and getting work done. Normal means spending time learning Czech after a summer of not learning much.

Normal on the first Wednesday of the month means noon is noisy.

Normal means buying food at Tesco and baking muffins for friends. Normal means hanging out with those friends, new missionaries who moved here recently.

It also means other things.

Normal means hearing my doorbell ring and answering it to find two Jehovah’s Witnesses on my doorstep – they’re really active in my town, and I often see them handing out leaflets at the train station.

Normal means walking down my street by the Buddhist centre and the homeless guys who often sit on the benches during the day and sleep on them at night.

A year ago few of these things seemed normal. I didn’t have the keys to my flat yet. I had been here just over a month. Some of these things should not be normal, and I ache and pray for "on earth as it is in heaven".

I am so thankful for God’s grace in big adventures, long roadtrips, weeks at camp, and visits to camps in others parts of Europe. But I’m also incredibly thankful for God’s grace in the details of life, and in the normal, mundane days here. I'm thankful for how His grace breaks through, and brings life, and changes things.

Matthew 11 v 28-30 in the New International Version reads

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

In the Message that same passage reads

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (emphasis mine)

I feel like I’m experiencing those unforced rhythms of grace in the everyday, mundane, normal of my life here in this little corner of the Czech Republic and am praying for this grace to continue to break in in this part of the world. I am so thankful for His incredible grace.

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