Imagine a good friend says: “I have a surprise for you!” I think those words create an explosion of simultaneous activity in our heads. First, the news turns on a special little motor in our brain reserved for just such occasions. It sends out a jolt of adrenaline, the extra energizing boost catapulting us on our journey of dreaming up possibilities of what the surprise could be. Then it stretches the boundaries of our day-to-day thinking out toward the horizon, well beyond the humdrum, soaring above the main and the plain. On the heels of that, another sensor lights up and we receive a shot of C8H11NO2 – commonly known as dopamine, the happy hormone, activated whenever we experience something pleasurable. In the beginning there are so many fun ‘thought balloons’ being sent up, it’s hard to concentrate. After a considerable time, there’s a balancing, a calming, where the wildest, most implausible ideas are shot down (probably no free trip to Aruba, no new Lamborghini waiting in the yard, no seven-figure deposit into our bank account – you know, the usual things one would conjure up). But the joy remains taut in the waiting, alert to any forthcoming clues, any details that could get teased out through pleading, bribing, arm-twisting, or other slightly unscrupulous means. The remainder of the time until ‘the reveal’ is lived in an aura of mystery, intrigue, nervous excitement, and further forays into the delicious land of maybes (not to be confused, of course, with the more delightful land of the Mabeys).
Many of us have (perhaps) been introduced to this journey to the heart of the Father having heard no mention of the surprise, the imminent mystery, the atmosphere buzzing with eternity’s anticipation and its perpetual discovery. What results from this truncated presentation of Salvation is a ‘Monday Morning Blues’ Christianity, a ‘Heaven is a Perpetual Worship Service’ terror, a ‘fake it till you make it’ legalism, a “Praise the Lord, Sistern and Brothren” cover-up for untouched despair and depression. The tragedy is that this kind of thinking has no muscle, no resilience, no grit, no chutzpah (and we need us some holy chutzpah, y’all!), no real awareness of the turbo engine presence of the Holy Spirit parked within us, just waiting for the nod from us to get this race started. (would the Holy Spirit drive a Lamborghini??)
For us, though, it’s so richly satisfying to know Salvation as a love invitation to genuine, intimate, never-ending relationship. So good to know Jesus is with us every step of the way. So invigorating to lean into the surprise, the mystery, the gifts, the reveals! So beyond our wildest dreams to be doing this together! And we’ll keep the engines revving tomorrow at 10 AM, 3 PM, 4PM. PD