new mercies, each and every morning.

Monday, June 23, 2014

When I was working at summer camp two years ago, we had a group of inner-city kids from Fresno that came up for a week. The kids were a part of an organization called Dakota House, which was an after-school house/program that helped kids in really difficult situations. The week with Dakota House was filled with laughter, love, and lots of hard stories from what these kids had gone through. I loved being able to share the word of God with them, reminding them that they are loved, regardless of what they had been through.

The director of the organization, Miss Jaime, always requested we sing the same song at campfire each night, one she had deemed Dakota House's song. The song was called "Sweet Mercies," and is about the new mercies that God provides us each and every morning. The chorus, which the kids would sing and dance along to each night as we played our guitars around a roaring fire, went like this: Let your mercies fall from heaven / Sweet mercies fall from heaven / New mercies for today / Shower them down Lord, as we pray. 

Important words to remember, for kids going through some of the most difficult situations I could imagine, that each new day, the Lord provides a new slew of mercies. An ongoing, and present process, creates reassurance for these kids, and for us as mature believers.

My summer internship with the Free Methodist church has me diving deep into Wesleyan theology, and applying it on a day-to-day basis. I'm loving the opportunity to sit and soak in some familiar theological concepts, and finding new and enlightening aspects within them. Recently, we read through The Scripture Way of Salvation, which details Wesley's views on salvation, What struck me the most in this sermon was how salvation is framed as a current thing, experienced over time, in this life. Not a "get-saved" moment that rests in history and is framed as a singular date, but an ongoing process. He argues against the idea of salvation as heaven, or eternal happiness, but something we are blessed to experience in the here and now - I mean, how COOL is that. Salvation isn't something we received in the past, or something we anticipate for the future, but something currently present -- something we wake up to each and every morning, just like the sweet mercies from our incredible God.

The salvation which is here spoken of is not what is frequently understood by that word, the going to heaven, eternal happiness. It is not the soul's going to paradise, termed by our Lord, "Abraham's bosom." It is not a blessing which lies on the other side death; or, as we usually speak, in the other world. The very words of the text itself put this beyond all question: "Ye are saved." It is not something at a distance: it is a present thing; a blessing which, through the free mercy of God, ye are now in possession of.

How would our lives change, if we took this to heart and woke up each new morning in light of the salvation we are currently experiencing -- how transformed would our day-to-day tasks be! And that has been one way I have been trying to weave what I am learning from Wesley into my internship this summer. My summer internship is becoming fairly routine, especially as we arrive at the midway point. Arrive at the office at 9:30, shadow a few directors, input data, each lunch, finish up small projects, and go home. I don't want my summer to become a routine, I want to experience the ongoing, current salvation of God on a day-to-day basis, that inspires and motivates me to breathe in Christ and do his work, in light of the great work He is doing in me!

Maybe I'm rambling at this point. 
But I've just been reenergized by framing salvation in this way.

Another section of the sermon that hit me hard, was the section on faith and confidence in Christ.

And it is certain, this faith necessarily implies an assurance (which is here only another word for evidence, it being hard to tell the difference between them) that Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me. For "he that believeth" with the true living faith "hath the witness in himself": "the Spirit witnesseth with his spirit that he is a child of God." 

"Because he is a son, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into his heart, crying, Abba, Father"; giving him an assurance that he is so, and a childlike confidence in Him.” But let it be observed, that, in the very nature of the thing, the assurance goes before the confidence. For a man cannot have a childlike confidence in God till he knows he is a child of God. Therefore, confidence, trust, reliance, adherence, or whatever else it be called, is not the first, as some have supposed, but the second, branch or act of faith.

Assurance, goes before confidence. How often we glaze over the "child of God" phrasing in our lives. It's something we've accepted and understand, and totally get, and blah blah blah – we're numb to it. Admit it. Does your chest twist up and your heart skip a beat when you realize that you are a child of the most high? That the God who created the mountaintops and valleys, who crafted this incredible world and stitched together your inmost being, considers you a child of his own?

A man cannot have a childlike confidence in God till he knows he is a child of God. This confidence (which is preceded by this assurance that we are children of God), is a foundation for FAITH, which in turn creates the means for our salvation, that great and glorious ongoing and PRESENT aspect of our lives.

It all connects together, it all fits together, and it is helping me wake up each and every morning with a renewed purpose for a seemingly routine job. Glory be to God!

Respectfully submitted,