Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
I love so many things about my job here in Germany, and one of them is having students spontaneously come over to bake at my house. Tuesday my kitchen was full, and this group of juniors was asking me all kinds of questions about what I think it means to follow Jesus. It was beautiful. Plus the sugar free blueberry muffins were delicious. Since these were all students who have completed the controversy project in my class, the conversation included why those topics are important to discuss respectfully and how it is often as struggle for Jesus followers to have difficult conversations. I reiterated as I say frequently in class that our attention ought to be on what unites us as Jesus followers rather than what divides us.
Wednesday I reflected with Brandi and Tracy about how important it is for me to have diverse voices in my life to make sure I don't overlook or misrepresent others or mistakenly cut them out from community. As the lone American at my home group gathering on Thursday, I was so grateful for the emphasis on what unites us. I heard my British and Swiss-Canadian friends share perspectives that were new and eye-opening for me. We weren't even talking about politics; we were talking about educational theory. On Friday I hung out with some Texans who have adopted me, and I am so grateful they still love me despite my aversion to American football among other weird Portland quirks.
Through this whole week I've had the chorus of an old hymn recently made famous again by Lauren Daigle. "Turn your eyes upon Jesus / Look full in his wonderful face / and the things of earth will grow strangely dim / in the light of his glory and grace." When Jesus calls Peter out of the boat to walk on the water, he starts to sink the moment he takes his eyes off of Jesus. There is plenty to distract me right now, but I've seen people sink around me when they take their eyes off of Jesus, so this post is my public reminder that I need to keep my attention on God rather than on people. The other song that has been running through my head is Jon Foreman's song featuring Lauren Daigle. One of the verses says, "And here we are between all of our hopes and fears / Chasing down these stolen years / Reaching out for hands unseen / On the borderline, the borderline." The chorus pleads over and over, "Oh, how I long for heaven in a place called earth." My heart aches over the hurt I see in the world today, and I long for heaven in this place called earth. Until I reach heaven, I'll keep my eyes on Jesus and keep moving forward.
Please pray with me that as I keep my eyes on Jesus, he will work the miracle of me walking on water to him outside of the boat - whatever that means. I'd sure like it to mean that I can walk without mobility aids, so let's ask for nerve healing too!
Extra shout out to the kid who heard my concerns this week and sent me this song from the beautifully titled Breathe EP. My prayers still include asking for an avalanche of reconciliation.