Was it you? Were you the one who grew tired of my complaints about the cold and kicked the weather machine as I had requested?
Well, thank you.
This weekend the weather took a turn for the very much better, with the temps rising 30 degrees almost overnight and the sun shining full blast. On Saturday, with Chloe at a playdate and Jonathan and Steve at the playground, I did something that I've imagined doing since we moved here. I bought a big cup of coffee, grabbed a good book, and sat on a sunshine-drenched park bench for an hour and a half. Part of the time I read, and the other part I people-watched and prayed. It was wonderfully renewing, and my love for this city and the people in it flooded over me yet again.
I'm still learning how to cook with the ingredients that are available in the neighborhood grocery (really, I'm still learning to cook, period. Please pretend with me, and we'll blame it on lack of ingredients). This weekend I had a yen for White Chicken Chili, which is made with great northern beans and other goodness. In the past when I've made this recipe, I've used a big jar of beans--beans that are already nice and softened and in the perfect amount. Two local stores did not have the jars of beans, so I went out on a limb and bought dried beans. Problem was, I didn't know exactly what volume a pound of dried beans would be after soaking and cooking them. For future reference, it's A LOT. I had to keep adding chicken broth and additional ingredients, and now I have a pot of chili the size of our refrigerator waiting for someone to eat it. Want to come over for lunch?
Last night Steve preached at Cedar Hill Christian Reformed Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey. It was an interesting adventure to get there, as the guy who offered to pick us up and take us to the church was a bit delayed by traffic, and we all walked into the sanctuary 30 seconds before the sermon was supposed to start.
Steve recovered quickly and delivered a touching and powerful sermon (I know I'm biased, but really, he was good).
He spoke about John 14.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life..."
...how it's so easy for people to see that as an exclusionary statement
...but in reality, it's the greatest invitation anyone has ever extended, with a guest list that includes every single person in this world...
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for YOU."
...a place made for each of us uniquely, because of our complete and total significance to God.
...Jesus invites us to come with him to this place, to know that we are loved and valued.
A quote from C.S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain):
Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him [God]; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you.
The mold in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock.
Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the Divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions.
For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you…your eyes shall behold Him [God] and not another’s. All that you are, sins apart, is destined, if you let God have his good way, to utter satisfaction….
Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.