Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Bloom family,

I appreciated Dave's encouragement to us this past Sunday to lift up our heads and silence the lies we tell ourselves in order to become all consumed with Christ. We see John the Baptist's life and ministry fade into the background in light of his love for Christ. We see the same with Andrew and Peter. We see it over and over again mirrored in the lives of Christ followers down through the ages... just this utter abandonment of self in light of instead finding ourselves caught in the all consuming love of Christ. Christ's love is the only love that can truly bring us to life and that can free us up to let go of all we hold onto that seems so important, whether it be our greatest joy or our greatest sorrow. 

If you are like me, you found so much of what Dave said to be true in yourself. The inward journey into yourself can be fruitful but in the end it leaves you with this sentiment of "well, if that is all that is within me... I don't really want much to do with myself." But how? How do we lift up our eyes to meet the gaze of Christ upon us? How do we not look away, when his gazing love towards us starts to feel a little too revealing? He knows us better than we know ourselves, after all.

I want to encourage you, that the way forward towards Christ doesn't need to be difficult. It is not a task to hard for you. Though, I get it, it can feel a little bit like riding a roller coaster with no bar to hold you in the seat. That is okay. 

It is not a task too difficult for you. It is in praying, even if you are not sure what to say first. It is in serving your neighbor, even if you not quite sure what they need. It is in making time for your friend just to listen, even if what they share leaves you with only tears in your eyes and compassion in your heart. The task is simply in beginning. That is ever the task before us, to wake up each morning and put our hands to the plow, trusting that Jesus's hand is right next to us. We go to work, with the Spirit whispering of his love for us along the way. It is in doing small things, so that "it is on earth as it is in heaven." It is in refusing to believe the voice of condemnation in your head, because Jesus Christ has something much more kind and gracious to say to you. 

You see, the question isn't really how... it is more so who? Who is this Christ? Christ is the one who hears our little thoughts to him and is delighted. Christ is the one who makes known to us the needs of our neighbors. Christ is the one who listens to our friends and gives us compassion to walk alongside them. Christ is the one that silences the voice of condemnation in you and instead promises much more. Christ, his loving gaze ever upon us, is our everything. My prayer for you, Bloom, is that you would fall in love with Jesus again today. More so than yesterday, and tomorrow more than today. Follow him, no matter what it cost you or what he asks you to give. It will be worth it, I promise.

-Melissa