I have sat on many beaches. I prefer the golden sandy beaches – the fine sand – the soft sand. Others prefer shingle beaches – pebble beaches – an absence of soft fine sand. But for me … a sunny day … family … fun … sea … soft fine sand … That is a powerful combination!
Have you ever looked at a grain of sand? Just one single grain? Really looked. Up close and personal?
Sometimes that is tricky – sometimes sand is so dust-like it is hard work to isolate just one grain. And yet … that very smallness, the tinyness, the “singleness” of that (dust-like) grain has great power all on its own …
A long history to become that perfectly small – that dust-like – that “present” in “that moment” on “that sunny day” … Just how many years, decades, centuries, millennia? And where has it been, what was it before? Because that is the mystery – the “oneness” of the world of which I am just one more small part …
And I have a “God Stuff” question …
Just what can that one grain of sand bring me, offer me, worship me, praise me, love me, give me … what “anything” can that grain give me – other than it is already – that would make any kind of sense at all?
Jesus left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honour, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then he went about among the villages teaching. Mark 6:1-6
I was fixated on thinking I have something to offer. I believed I must have something of value to give our Father. I struggled in my journey … How do I give enough, how do I do enough, how do I praise properly, pray properly, worship in the right way, find fellowship of significant value … ? Just how do I become worthy enough, just how do I become who God wishes me to be … ?
That was a busy stressful life! And so often resulted in …
“And they took offence at him.”
Sitting here right now I imagine that one grain of sand – that whole beach – “taking offence” at me. How nuts would that be? Imagine if all those grains of fine dust believed they were unable to “be enough” because they are just grains of sand. Would that make any sense at all?
Because I think we do that so often. I know that I used to …
Because I never was “that grain of sand”. Not really. “I” was so much more – “I” am so much more!
But that means I must offer, must give, must do, must be worthy! So I took offence at the unfairness of it all! I took offence at God for all these demands “He” placed on “my” shoulders! All because “I” was now saved … ?
(Because once I was saved I wanted to be a good Christian – I think it is what we all want. And I embraced all the teaching! I taught myself to do things, to prove things, to convince others, to work hard, to sacrifice, to carry a cross, and to believe that I am persecuted)
I was not content to be a grain of sand, and in my discontent I became a “mini-me-God”!!!
(All so that I would become worthy of God’s attention and love!)
And I took offence!
I took offence at God, I took offence at other “Christians”, I took offence at “theology”, and I took offence at “the Church”. My offence knew no bounds! I would slap a label on anything and everyone and take offence at the hypocrisy of it all!
Other than those who refused to “be saved” and come to church – for some reason – never with “them” …
I know that “I” became a very unloving “mini-me-God”. Because those perfect days on the beach … ?
I see people beach combing. I often beach comb a little. Looking for that perfect something – a shell, a piece of wood, something meaningful. And I walk slowly. Picking bits up here. Looking and feeling. Discarding and picking up another. Discarding and picking up another. Keeping that particular bit – just one special bit out of so many.
I used to see God as “a beachcomber” – checking us out – discarding us unless we were shiny enough – perfect enough. Discarding me – unless I stood out from the rest.
(Unless I was better than you)
At that time it was the ONLY way I saw God. And I took offence!
And now I wonder …
Was I seeing God, or seeing myself? Was I worshipping God, or worshipping myself? Did I love God, or myself? And just how did I imagine that was love … ? That this was “relationship” – as good as it gets … ? And just how did I “allow” anything very much at all (other than me) … ?
Now I am learning that free-will does not require very much at all. Nor does unconditional love. I am learning that God needs nothing of me. My simply “being” is enough.
I like being a grain of sand – “a nothing”! It is so liberating! It lets God run me through His fingers. It lets me be me.
And where is the burden in that?