Veronica and I just got back from a church retreat this weekend. It was our first one with Citylife, and a great time getting to know some people better, visiting a beautiful place on a gorgeous weekend. Here’s a little on Newport:
– It’s home to many summer mansions used by well-known families like the Vanderbilts, Astors, Kennedys, etc.
– Home to the Int’l Tennis Hall of Fame
– Has a lot of fudge shops
Our speaker this weekend was D.A. Carson. I know he’s pretty well known among the seminary crowd, but I have to admit, I had to wikipedia the gentleman. More on him:
– He’s a prof at Trinity Theological Seminary near Chicago
– He is quoted as saying “a text without a context becomes a pretext for a proof text,” which sounds kind of nerdy but I’ve actually heard this before. It makes sense.
– He’s a really smart but accessible person, and he spent the weekend with us talking about parables in the gospels.
Dr. Carson had a lot of great things to share, but I think what Veronica and I came away with is that we really appreciate the community we have in Citylife, and as we get to know individuals more – friends who have lost loved ones recently, or are going through difficult times right now, or even getting to know our pastor’s background a little better – we’re gaining a greater appreciation for knowing Christ’s love through other people. We’re grateful that we know people who are willing to bear our burdens with us, just listen, assure us that we are all struggling with very similar issues, and that we are still loved, accepted, and welcome.
I shared this during one of our breakout discussion times, but only in verbalizing it did I realize that my perspective on these past 2 years in Boston has been that of borrowed time. I never saw myself here permanently, and that gave me an excuse not to invest deeply in people, my neighborhood or city, and encouraged a sense of “take” before “give.” And our friends being so giving this weekend just reinforced the contrast between the commitments and investment they have decided to make, and my own unwillingness to share. I really don’t know what’s next for Veronica and me – geographically or vocationally – but wherever we end up, I don’t want a repeat of the last 2 years, when we found ourselves pretty discontent because we always had a sense of expectation that we have not “arrived” yet, and that “home” is hard to define but definitely not here, and I should stop putting things in “quotes.”
My prayer today for my family is that we would be perfectly content because we are known, loved and accepted by God, and that circumstance or location would no longer be the basis for our happiness or wellbeing, but that we would be here now.