Who really holds the whole world in their hands?
On October 1, 2021, I [Charlie] will begin my thirty-sixth trip around the sun. This past trip may have been the most eventful yet. I remember visiting the St. Louis Zoo and eating at Salt N Smoke for by birthday back in 2020, but that day feels like an eternity ago. My favorite birthday memory, though, was asking our kids what they thought we should name the new church. Warren said, “Pickles Church,” while Violet suggested, “Church of the Glory.” After Pearl offered, “Pink Church,” it was Ella who touched our hearts with the thoughtful name, “Oops Church – because everyone makes mistakes.” True, Ella, still true.
I’m sure I’ve made many mistakes over this past year. There are thousands of things we don’t yet know, and probably thousands more we’ve gotten wrong. We’re still thinking about the name of this church – maybe Oops will win the day because all of us resonate with making mistakes.
But the truth of the gospel says we aren’t identified by our mistakes. As Bryan Stevenson says, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done,” and Psalm 103.12 says our sins are utterly removed from our identity in Christ.
There’s great peace in my soul as I take another trip around the sun. If God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 2.22-23), then I’ve received at least 365 graces since St. Louis. Peter told the churches in the first century that the prophets were “carried along” by the Holy Spirit and that they spoke while in motion.
On a daily basis, I feel like I’m burning no less than one million calories. Each day is full, and I’m grateful for the people, places and purposes of my life. But I too easily forget that, each day, God is orbiting me through the solar system, one fresh mercy at a time. We are literally carried along by forces and mysteries we cannot comprehend (Job 38.19-21). Thirty-five years is a lot of mercies, but not enough to fathom the fullness of God.
The flourishing of the Church universal does not depend on the thousands of calories we burn each day. The flourishing of our souls and cities does depend on our willingness to embrace our daily graces. I’m hoping for another full trip around the sun between now and October 1, 2022. And I’m believing Round Thirty-Six will be one of the most enjoyable and fruitful.
I know Who holds the whole world in their hands, and I’ll keep moving while He carries me along.