I like watching “The Amazing Race”. I’m not sure why. I suppose it’s a guilty pleasure kind of show. I know that there is nothing real about racing around the world with camera crews and having cross-cultural experiences that are staged and sanitized. Kind of like knowing that a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae isn’t great ice cream and isn’t expensive hot fudge.But staged or not, being scared of bungee-jumping is a real fear and those sundaes taste good.
Because, perhaps, I watch the show and eat the sundae with Nancy. It’s the “with” that makes the time matter.
I talked about reconciliation this weekend. It’s the idea that there can be a relationship between God and people because of the birth, life, death, resurrection and return to heaven of Jesus. That whole sentence, sometimes summarized with the phrase “the gospel” is the subject of lots of books. On December 1, the Church marks the beginning of that process with the first Sunday of Advent, looking forward to the Birth of Jesus.
But on this Sunday evening before Advent, I’m sitting here writing while Nancy is watching “The Amazing Race.” I’m giving up time with her for time with you. Why? Because of the amazin’ grace that acknowledges that building relationships takes giving up something. It means giving up my agenda for our agenda, giving up my interests for our interests. But by giving up a fierce insistence on my way, I often get something far more important: an us.
At our best moments, we don’t focus on the giving up. We don’t focus on the cost. We don’t focus on the process. We focus on the we.
So in the reconciliation between us and God, God’s focus isn’t on the death of Christ, the focus is on the relationship made possible.
Over the weekend my new book went live in Kindle format. A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People Who (want to be) Doing Great Works will also be available in print and on the Nook. I’ll let you know when all the formats are available.