>Well, we arrived safely home from a speaking trip last week in CO. It was a wonderfully refreshing time being in the mountains, seeing Sarah and Calvin ride a horse, and getting some fly-fishing in. My speaking went better than I had hoped in the sense that I was really struggling with presenting the story of the disciples in the Gospel of Mark without compromising the fact that Jesus is the main character! The premise of my talks was that the Gospel of Mark demonstrates the journey of the disciples as they struggled and fought to believe who Jesus is. Their development through the gospel follows the pattern of most mythological heroes. I narrowed it down to four parts: Call, Trials/Mentor, Failure, Return. It was a personally enriching exercise for me exegetically, and I can only pray that it bears fruit.
On another note, the most significant moment was on the way home. I lost my wedding ring!!! I don’t know if I left it in my cabin or on the lake, but all I know is that it’s gone. The funny thing was that I wasn’t as upset as I expected I would be after losing an expensive ring. Actually, the entire episode made me really reflect on what it means to be married to Sarah. Although I’ve said it in many a wedding ceremony that I’ve officiated, I really had the opportunity to think about what the ring means and more importantly, what the marriage means. I am covenanted to my wife with or without a ring, but the ring shows the world WHOSE I am.
This thought made me examine myself – to look at the ways in which I am committed to Sarah and ways in which I am not. The ring means nothing if I don’t give myself to her 100%. I repented as I thought about the ways in which I took for granted that the ring would keep my marriage strong and vibrant. Losing it exposed the ways in which I had grown lazy about my relationship with her. In many ways, I could apply this same lesson to my walk with Christ. It is way to easy to use a symbol like my vocation, my baptism, my pedigree, education, family, etc. as an anchor for discipleship. No, Jesus wants all of ME, not just my tokens and symbols. There’s so many extrapolating questions from this, but the fact remains simple – just as my relationship with my wife is a covenant of loving her as Christ loved the church, so my relationship with Christ is a covenant of loving him as his bride in waiting. Funny how one forgetful moment can lead to such introspective repentance!