“Do you ever get the feeling that there’s something greater happening here, it’s like our hearts are part of a bigger story.” Matthew West, lyrics to Something Greater
I think most of us get bogged down in the day to day stuff of life and fail to see the big picture. It takes discipline to remove myself from the urgent tasks of the daily routine to get to higher ground and take a look around. The air is clear. The breeze whisks away the fog. I can see for miles above the tree line. Suddenly, the arduous climb toward the top fades into memory as I let go of the challenges and embrace the wide open landscape in front of me.
Marriage can be like a major expedition to a mountain summit. It can be too easy to get overwhelmed in the immediate crux because it’s right there in front of me. I will easily forget the big vision when I get stuck and cannot move forward or backward. The urgent demands are bred from necessity. But, I have to remember that my daily crags are part of a bigger story. I need constant reminding of the big picture. Marriage is more like reaching the summit of a single mountain that belongs to a mountain range. Marriage is never a single narrative. It’s directly connected to a long line of previous peaks, plains, hills and valleys. Those are the people, places and experiences of our life. Whom we encounter is just as important as what we encounter along the way.
We’ve been studying the book of Ruth. We discover the type of person she is in the first two chapters as her Godly character is being formed. Chapter three includes a very dramatic sequence of events that reveal the character not only of Ruth but also that of Boaz. Matthew’s gospel reminds us that Boaz’s mother was Rahab the prostitute. (Matthew 1:5) Scripture suggests Boaz was not married. It alludes to the fact that Boaz was a relative—a kinsman redeemer. He was a respected man of worth. He was an older man. Why did he remain single into his maturity? Why did he decide to make the hill climb solo?
Tim Keller writes, “My wife, Kathy, often says that most people, when they are looking for a spouse, are looking for a finished statue when they should be looking for a wonderful block of marble. Not that you can create the kind of person you want—but rather because you see what kind of person Jesus us making.”* We are all ‘in the making.’ Jesus is at work making us holy. Remember, God’s ideal in marriage is about holiness. The chisel and hammer belong to him. The most important work is what Jesus does is within us. We don’t even get to make the marble. He does that too!
As we gather for worship Sunday, we celebrate holy communion. We recall Jesus' arduous hill climb to Golgotha. The achievement on the mountain was preceded by a epic story that included a strategy, implementation and work that stretched across the universe to eventually include me and you. We could call it the grand saga of holiness. That would be too easy because I could leave that story out there like the story of a hill climb and never allow it to penetrate the crevices of my own heart. But, if I allow that grand adventure to seep into my heart, my soul finds refuge. In the broken places, I find Christ. His holiness fills in my vacancy. He makes up for my lack. His grace is sufficient. I remember then, as I gaze across the panorama, that I belong to the great and powerful unfolding drama of God. The person who’s been along the path with me from the beginning was Christ himself, chipping away at the marble creating a masterpiece. It’s good to be at the summit. I can see eternity from here.
“...these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7 NIV