Remembering Reality while Riding Round the Rolling Raleigh-Durham Roads
Written by Stephen Cole
Gently gripping firm but comfortable handlebars while gliding down a rolling hill. Autumn --70 degree-- wind dancing refreshingly around me. The sun whispering strongly through the trees and speckling the ground before me with dazzling patterns.
And the trees.
The trees so very alive and animated! The fiery colors of the leaves brought Durham to life, and the satisfying sound of the fire leaves crackling beneath my bike tires sensationalized my ears as I rode to the nearby grocery to pick up some last-minute items for the new week.
What an incredible 45 minutes---lost in a Narnia-like landscape that I now call my home.
I haven’t experienced Fall quite like this for over 9 years (the last time I rode bikes and lived in North Carolina). It’s so easy it is to forget the beauty of this season and the glorious glimpses of God that exist beneath the rise and fall of the sun every day. In the annual change of leaves, in the trails right outside the apartment door, in the cool fall air reviving my lungs with each breath, in the small adventures to the nearby grocery, and in the smile of my wife after bringing home the spice that dinner was missing.
The reality of His presence and glory is all around---but I forget.
It is something I am good at. Forgetting the goodness of God. Forgetting His faithfulness. His beauty. His glory. But he doesn’t forget; though he knows that I do. And it is a human condition. Sin makes sure of it. But God has set up so much in creation, in community, and in the Church to not let Sin or Satan have the last word.
I may forget to notice and experience creation, such as the changing of the trees, yet the change of seasons happens every year, and highlights the beauty of the Lord. It is a consistent reminder of His power to make beauty and goodness even in death, so that new resurrected life may come again in the Spring. Creation helps us remember.
Just months after moving to this new place, God led my wife and I to find Waypoint Church and so quickly participate in a local community that loves in Christ. We have now joined a community group and each week are graciously reminded of the reality of Christ in our lives and are consistently encouraged to seek, worship, and remember the nearness and love of Christ week in and week out.
Just last community group gathering we talked briefly about how becoming a Christian may not fix every struggle, stop every sin, change every suffering, or make us always remember Christ and his love—like flipping a switch—but, it does automatically adopt you into the family of God that will remind you to remember the reality of Christ. Just as our community group helps us remember each week. As a Christian, it is not about perfectly remembering all the ways to be a good Christian on our own, but rather, it is more-so about living in the family of God that prioritizes Christ-centered habits, sacraments, liturgies and rhythms that serve as grace filled reminders of the reality of our glorious Christ as King.
This kind of community was founded by God through the ages as the Church. The local Church exists to remind those who are lost of The Way, the Truth and the Life. And this is done in everyday practical ways such as worship, teaching, and preaching.
The sermon series on Revelation that Waypoint has been journeying through is chockfull of these reminders of the reality of Christ. I was hugely impacted hearing Pastor Danny, just a few weeks ago, rightly reminding the Church of the reality of Christ enthroned on high. The vision(s) that the apostle John recorded exist to let us not forget the reality of the Child who has triumphed, of the Lamb who was slain so the Dragon in his death throes cannot win, and of the reality to come when this same Christ returns for His people.
And that is just Revelation, the last book of many, full of reminders of reality. Christ wants us to remember. He even instituted the sacraments of the Church to remember His death and salvation found in Him alone. He commanded us to keep the Lord’s supper so we would routinely wake up to the reality of grace and remember what is true; that we are His and He is King.
I don’t know what your week will look like. I don’t know when the last time was that you were reminded of the grace and love of Christ, the reality of His Kingdom, or the glory and beauty of our Reigning King. But I hope you are reminded today.
If you feel stuck in a whirlwind of forgetting, like I often am, and/or your reality seems flooded or fogged by sin, suffering, or sadness. I encourage you to look around you at the rhythms and beauty of creation, to seek to dwell in caring community—pray for it, pursue it, ask for it---,and to submit and participate in the local Church that exists to reveal and remember the reality of Christ.