Word of the Day: expatiate \ek-SPAY-shee-ayt\ verb
1 : to move about freely or at will : wander
*2 : to speak or write at length or in detail
Example Sentence: The middle schoolers grew restless as Mr. Donald expatiated on Pluto's classification as a dwarf planet.
It’s easy to get weary when living without a clear goal in sight or when listening to someone who can’t get to the point. In other cultures, it’s quite normal to chat for the better part of an hour before slipping in the actual reason for a visit. In our Western world, we prefer to make a beeline for the heart of the matter.
Sometimes I wonder if God is on an Eastern track with me. His direction is so gentle and subtle at times that I seem to wander about, whether discussing faith with friends or taking a long time to find the path he has laid out for me. In retrospect it is easy to see his guiding hand, but in the meantime, my journey occasionally seems aimless and circuitous.
This month we were part of a church service that resonated with everything I’m passionate about. The congregation is missional and an integral part of an urban community. The musicians worshipped (great band!) and led us into God’s presence. Afterwards, we were greeted by a couple in an alternative lifestyle who have come to faith in Jesus. Recently baptized, they are still figuring out the details of what following Jesus means. I expect their home life to alter significantly, but the openness of the church was heartwarming to them. Meanwhile, they are taking Good News to their friends in an unreached community. While church leadership does not affirm or agree with their life choices, they preach good news of a God who accepts us as we are and brings us under his banner of high standards as we follow him. The church recognizes that all of us are sinners – not one of us is accepted into God’s kingdom because we have reached a state of perfection or holiness.
As I looked around the congregation of young and old, believers and explorers, I felt at home. They, like me and our family, are learning to understand God’s ways. Some have been on the journey of faith a long time. Some of us are just learning to recognize God’s loving-kindness. As we expatiate instead of unswervingly locking into the Christian way of life, we occasionally look like we have lost our way or don’t know how to follow Jesus.
But his patience and kindness brings us close to him and teaches us to focus our attention on his ways. He instructs us, gives us the joy of serving even when veering here and there, and with his unfailing love forgives and teaches us the life that pleases God.
*I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart. I have told all your people about your justice. I have not been afraid to speak out, as you, O LORD, well know. I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of your unfailing love and faithfulness. Psalm 40:8–10
*Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
*Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9