A very good place to start...
It’s hard for me to hear those words without the lilting voice of Julie Andrews popping into my head. It’s The Sound of Music, and she’s teaching the Von Trapp children to sing.
I’ve got a little one of my own now, and while he might not be singing yet, he certainly is learning. He’s rolling and wiggling, and he just started doing this super cute turtle-chomp thing with his mouth. And I think, just maybe, he’s entering the imitation phase of infancy, where he actually copies facial expressions.
But as the months roll on, he’ll begin to copy more than that. I’m realizing now, as every father eventually does, that the things I value are now contagious. He will now watch, and listen, and imitate, and rebel, and then listen again. He will mature into manhood in my shadow.
I don't want my son to be exactly like me. He is his own person. But there is a kind of spiritual inheritance that I hope he will grasp over time, and I hope I can live a life that shows him how to live in harmony with a bigger story than himself.
Because when I think about the most foundational truths of my faith, I always find myself back at the very beginning. Not of my story. But of the Story. Like this…
I believe in an Artist.
Not a world-starter six-days-and-done creator, but a relational, creative, communing Wonder-Maker who is continually making all things new because of who He is in His essence. That's why it's so vital to me that God is three-in-one. Father, Spirit, Son. Ever-loving, ever-unified. Because...
I believe in a God of Belonging.
He invites us into His perfect unity. God is love, and everyone who loves is born of God (I John 4). Apart from His Spirit, our lives devolve into dissonance. The harmony of heaven becomes an ill-remembered tune that tugs at our hearts. But when we see genuine community, we know, because love is what we were made for. And that's why...
I believe in the Cross.
Because that is love. Because servanthood and self-sacrifice formed the tension-and-release of a cosmic symphony. It was God's Adagio for Strings, suspension after suspension until the Song finally returns home.
The Cross matters because God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
Strip away all the brokenness, the fractured lines of un-belonging, and you will find the Original Design, the Imago Dei, the very face and image of the Divine. In Christ, God was and is reconciling the world to himself. He is reshaping our dissonances into one beautiful harmony.
And he invites us to join him as agents of restoration.
That's why I think of faith as a song.
It gets grittier in the living of it, but I've found it's as important to find words that speak to my heart as much as my head. And those are some of my words: Artist, Belonging, Cross.
They're my spiritual ABC's.
They keep me grounded in that bigger story. They are the notes that form the bigger song of the cosmos.
And just like those Von Trapp children, when we know the notes to sing, we can sing most anything.
I want my son to sing the Song of Restoration.
I want us all to learn it together.
So now you know my ABC's. Next time, won't you sing with me?