Further Up and Further In

When I replay a song three times on a hike, it’s a good sign that something is grabbing me.  That happened recently with “Kingdom Come” by Hillsong, which my daughter just informed me is an old song (*shrug* oh well, so am I). If you aren’t familiar with it, you can listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70qxTWhltBc

I was grabbed by a phrase in the chorus: “Lord we long for more, long for more.”  It was that longing that caught my ear, because I understand it.

I’ve noticed an interesting paradox as I’ve become serious about worship walks in the last year.  They are incredibly satisfying, so much that I look forward to them the way a kid looks forward to an outing with his Dad.  I schedule them weeks in advance, and I protect them with a fierce jealousy.  The afterglow from an especially good one can bring a smile to my face for days, and then I begin looking forward to the next one.

They are satisfying – but I’m not satisfied.  It’s more than enough, but it’s not enough.  I’m glad for what I experience…but at the same time, I long for more.  It almost feels greedy sometimes, but a healthy kind of greed.  And I think it honors God to want more of what He gives.

C.S. Lewis came to mind as I contemplated all of this on a hike a couple of weeks ago.  In The Last Battle, the final book in his famous series The Chronicles of Narnia, several British children arrive at the Narnian version of heaven.  Aslan the Lion, a figure of Christ, calls on them to “Come further up!  Come further in!”  That phrase becomes a rallying cry as they begin to explore the heavenly version of Narnia.

Lucy, who had the most tender relationship with Aslan, is reunited with her dearest friend, the faun Tumnus.  As she marvels at this new world, he explains it this way: “The further up and further in you go, the bigger everything gets.  The inside is larger than the outside.”

I’m finding that when it comes to worship, and worship walks, and the discipline of Scripture reading, and Sabbath rest, the inside is larger than the outside.  I assume the same could be said of spiritual disciplines that I haven’t yet built into my schedule.  There is more there than we expect.  And I’m glad for that, because I want more.  I want to go further up and further in.  I long for more, a longing that will be satisfied without ever being completely satisfied. I’m OK with that…in fact, I’m glad for that.  I don’t mind longing for more, because I’m confident there will always BE more.

When the children arrive at the garden in the center of heaven, they are greeted by their friend Reepicheep the Mouse (my favorite Narnian) with these words: “Welcome in the name of the Lion.  Come further up and further in.”  It’s an invitation to a healthy kind of greed.

Over the last year, I’ve come to realize that the mouse is speaking to me.  I hope he is speaking to you, too.

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About Sabbath Thoughts

My name is Mike Gaston. I am a former missionary, a Shepherding Pastor at Heights Church in Prescott, AZ, a happy husband, a spoiled father of two daughters, a proud grandfather, and a recently-convinced pursuer of the benefits of intentional, regular, contemplative, Christ-centered rest. This blog will allow me to share thoughts about Sabbath, as well as thoughts about God and the Christian life that come out of my restful Sabbath moments.
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4 Responses to Further Up and Further In

  1. judyjansen says:

    Thank you for this morning’s inspiration, Mike. I, too, love that phrase, come further up, come further in. It’s refreshing to hear from others who echo the call. Especially in the current political climate and waning numbers of dedicated Christians, it’s great to “join you” on your Sabbath walks and hear your thoughts afterward. This is what the relationship with HIM is all about. As one who also loves this type of hiking on the trails in the Northwest, I know it’s hard to express the sweet communion you have with the Lord while taking that walk, like Adam did when God walked with him in the evenings. Unfortunately, I have not committed to that sweet time this summer, and now it’s almost over as our weather begins to turn. However, God still always calls us to come further up and further in, even from inside our houses under the rainy skies. Thanks for inspiring me and all of your readers to continue the journey, ever upward and ever inward. Blessings today and always.

    ~Judy

  2. Len Smith says:

    Great thoughts.

    On the journey,
    Len

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