"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Thursday, May 30, 2013

View from Above

May's trip to Laguna was the third time I have been there. Before this trip, I would have told you with a clear conscience that I knew what Laguna looks like. The first two times, I drove downtown and walked out on the beach. I truly believed I had seen Laguna Beach, California.

This time, Laguna was not an add-on, it was our main destination. I found an old but nicely remodeled hotel about a mile from the city center. Wanting to avoid walking down Highway 1, I got out a map. What I discovered were several hidden coves with public access, and some parks granting views from above. From this perspective, you can see down through clear water to light sand, dark rocks and kelp forests. From the park closest to our hotel, you can see the city of Laguna and all the way down the coast to Dana Point. The eye level beach views are relaxing; the view from above is, well, breathtaking!

Paul refers to perspectives as he addresses the believers in Philippi. He has just laid out for them his value system: there is nothing in this world he loves as much as Jesus Christ, and he had willingly given it all up for the sake of knowing him. He had gone on to say that he has not arrived in his faith, so keeps straining forward for the fullest realization possible of Jesus' calling on his life. Lest the readers think that this is some ultra-spiritual perspective possible only for Paul and the apostles, he clarifies:

"All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained." Philippians 3:15-16

Paul's "view from above" is to be shared by all who have made reasonable progress in the Christian life. He acknowledges that there may be different points of view and, as if referring to an earlier statement that God will complete in them the good things he has started, he affirms that God will show each of them in due course all they need to see. In the meantime, he reminds them to live the life they claim to believe. God reveals more and more to us as we demonstrate faithfulness where we are, with what we know. It is important to note that this perspective, too, allows Paul to love them where they are without dogmatic insistence on immediate agreement.

From above, we find joy in the present and future, in the darks and lights, and in the ups and downs. Each contrasting feature adds to the beauty of the scene God has created. We just can't see it while we stand at sea level. Be faithful where you are and ask God to create a deep yearning in your soul for the view from above. It will take your breath away.

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