On my regular walking path I have noticed a small rusted washer on the pavement for quite some time. A few days ago, I was prompted to pick it up. Although I am one to pick up pennies, I didn’t have any reason for choosing this washer. But I had been listening to Harry Chapin’s music in recent weeks, and his song, “All My Life’s a Circle” has been in my heart. So I felt that maybe God was using this washer to remind me that my life IS a circle- of “sunrises and sundowns,” seasons and years, beginnings and endings, and even deaths and resurrections.
In addition, since last Sunday Pr. Michael’s message has been “circling” in my thoughts and heart. Our Bible passage was from Luke 24, in which we learn how the disciples were lost, disappointed and confused; all of their hopes and dreams for Jesus to redeem the people of Israel seemed to have died with Jesus. Pr. Michael explained, “With Jesus’ death, all hope for redemption was lost and Jesus’ followers were forced to redefine redemption and their role in God’s kingdom.” These words have resonated with me. How often do we endure a death of some kind? And following that death, how often do we need to “redefine redemption and our role in God’s kingdom?”
In our daily living, we will encounter deaths quite often. Not only will we endure deaths of precious loved ones, but we also experience the deaths of our dreams, careers, expectations, health, relationships, youth… With each painful death comes grief and heartache. However, God continually brings us full circle by redeeming and resurrecting new life after each death. With each new life, we find a deeper meaning of redemption and resurrection, and we learn to redefine our roles in God’s kingdom as well.
Pastor Michael later told me, “I believe that redemption and our role in God’s kingdom is a never ending process. However, sometimes we make it a one time event and leave it there. Exciting to think that we serve a God who continually molds and shapes (redeems) us for greater work in the Kingdom!” Yes! The circle always keeps going…
After I had finally plucked that washer from the pavement, I was surprised to find a smaller one the next day- in nearly the same place! The message for me seemed to be that we are always redeemed and resurrected but perhaps not for the reasons we think we are. We have been given new life- but we find it is not the one we anticipated or are accustomed to living. Sometimes our roles are diminished. I was resurrected after my time with cancer, but I wasn’t able to continue the ministry I had relished. I have found new life here in West Virginia, serving others where I can and helping in smaller ministry roles.
My blog was going to end here. But today I found this large “washer” type disc! Once again God surprised me with an additional message. Sometimes our redemption and role in God’s kingdom is more than we could ever dream or imagine! Jesus was resurrected but he wasn’t the same. With his new life he was able to give us his Spirit and equip us to do even greater works than he (John 14:12).
“All My Life’s a Circle…” In all of our seasons and circles of life, God is redeeming and resurrecting us to new life and new roles in God’s kingdom. Every winter circles back to spring because of God’s redeeming love. Every dark night circles back to the light of a fresh, new morning because of God’s restorative grace. Every painful death circles forward to new life because of God’s resurrecting power.
The lesson for me in these rusty washers is this. After every death and resurrection, my newly redeemed and resurrected life may not- no, will not- look the same. But as I redefine my new role in God’s kingdom, may my only wish be that I live and serve in the ways that are most useful to God. May my new life be less about what I do, and more about what God can do through me, no matter the size of my role.
What size washer might I find tomorrow? I imagine it will be the perfect size for me. 🙂