Coffee, Sabbath, and Grace

I'm sitting here in my living room of the beautiful CRW apartments of Princeton Theological Seminary. It's 18 degrees - cold -outside with a light coat of snow on the ground. I'm about to get ready for the first day of the Spring semester. Soon, I'll have started in on a heavy course-load of theology, ethics, moral philosophy, and church history. My first class today is "War and Christian Conscience" with Dr. John Bowlin.

...But for now, I'm just sitting...

I'm enjoying my coffee and reflecting on the lessons from the Fall semester.  Am I any more certain of where exactly this journey is taking me? Not really. Do I have any better sense about what I might be able to contribute to the world of theology, pastoral ministry, or youth ministry? I can't say I do. But somehow, I feel pretty at peace with this cup of coffee - pretty at home in my skin (a feeling I will relish now, because I know it's fleeting).

While the people of Israel were wandering in the desert, unsure of their destination or if they'd ever get there, God still commanded them to receive the Sabbath, to take a day to set down their work of survival and just be at home in their own skin. God didn't let up on this one - even while the people were stuck out in the desert. I'm not sure I could have told you why this was before, but now I think I get it - at least at some level.

We all need a break from the questions that haunt us. We all need a rest from the momentum of our production - a reminder of what it's really all about. You see, this cup of coffee I'm drinking is a sign of grace. It hasn't answered any of my questions. It hasn't made me any more confident in my ability to survive this journey, and yet, somehow I can still rest, I can still breathe, I am still me ... not the machine-me who's a theological powerhouse or a master of inquiry, not the me I have to work so hard to be - but simply the me that sits in God's grace. That's the me I'm supposed to be, the me I don't have to work to be.

Whatever I do, wherever I go from here... it's got to be out of this... it's got to be a response to grace, not a prerequisite to it.

Promised land? Maybe... But for now I'll enjoy this coffee.