July 1, 2019

Happy Canada Day! It’s on my mind today. Not because I’m a bona fide Canadian, but because Brent & Tucker are there enjoying the wafting aroma of grilled beef on the BBQ and I am hungry.

The summer has started. We find ourselves with our 2.0 family (youngest four). Deb and I have been noticing just how uninterested we are in toddler-preteen conversations. We just can’t fake our interest any more. We have important, deep, adult things to tend to! We don’t have time to help you set up your pretend stuffed animal store in the kitchen, or listen to how funny some YouTube personality is. Yet, here we are. Surrounded by nonsensical conversations and situations that could have been avoided had we thought more critically about pro-creation.

We’ve been studying the nature of relationships, rooted in the Triune nature of God (read my last blog if you haven’t). It’s fascinating to consider that our very relational nature as ‘persons’ reflect something of God’s nature. Our children love to be around us. Not that Deb and I have anything near a perfect relationship, it is clingingly attractive to these monkeys. The other day Deb said to me, “I have my own trinity.” I didn’t understand her at first, which is quite normal being the slower male, but then realized she was alluding to the three children literally hanging off her neck at the same time.

Kids love to be around relational love. We love to be in the presence of God. Same thing?

During a walk yesterday I found my imagination wandering toward the unending interdependence found in nature. From the trees to the earth, the climate systems, animal kingdom, our own bodies makeup. Our human experience often seems isolated, independent, and yet nothing could be further from the truth. We are surrounded by dynamic relationships, from the air we are breathing, to the food we consume, people we interact with. We are necessarily interdependent. The world is just designed this way. We can attempt to create a sense of independence, get busy, build our own lives, but it’s an effort of denial.

If the Creator is interdependent in Himself, and we are made in Creator’s image, then we can embrace our interdependence as good.

As our children are being formed, developing and learning that no, you can’t go downtown and rent your stuffed animals for cash, we witness their unabashed dependence. They aren’t afraid to recognize their need for love & acceptance. Of course they want to be around us and hang from our necks, they were designed for fellowship and harmonious union with others. In our broken world, full of broken dependencies, we think we are protecting ourselves by sheltering from others. We often move to extremes in our dynamic dependencies, from complete isolation, to an enmeshed unhealthy co-dependence,. Particularly in the west, independence is prized, needing others a sign of weakness. Yet, intentionally living into imperfect community with others seems to be exactly what God intends us to do.

God’s design for me is to experience Him in His existing, perfect fellowship. He’s opened Himself up, knowing that I will then forever be changed and able offer this same community to a hurting and broken world.

I sit down to write about our world, projects, family updates.. and I end up wandering in my own devotional world. I don’t know who reads this, but I trust someone is encouraged to dive deeper into the mystery of God, and also remain open for meaningful relationships with others. I’m less interested in projects for their own sake. Jesus mission on earth was not to spin up mission trips and productions, or just ‘do’ evangelism as if it’s a scripted task we all need to learn. He was on mission to expand fellowship, the Father, Son, Spirit reality that existed before the stars were flung into space. The health of our ministry, as a family and community in Ukraine & Belarus, must emit from the health of our communion with God. The world will come and climb on our shoulders, sit at our feet like our own kids when we express the aroma of God’s nature of relational love. The projects, ministries, structures and models are all secondary. In fact, they are often completely unnecessary in my opinion. Love doesn’t need a time and location – it’s an event that can break out at any moment we choose. If we are in communion with God, led by His Spirit, whatever we put our hands to will witness to the resurrection and reality of Jesus.

Time to grill something, with some amazing people.

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