Big Gestures

I believe in a God of big gestures. Giving blind sight. Making the lame walk. Pushing political boundaries to make a statement about love and inclusion. Raising the dead. And I believe that is both a beautiful and a necessary thing. Because we as human beings need grand things to catch our attention. God knows this about us because we were specifically created this way; God loves us still; and God provides even in our own shortcomings or distractions or whatever you’d like to call it.

This season of my life has been a process of me growing in confidence to make big gestures. In my experience, these gestures are helpful both for me to gain courage and for those around me to feel the love I have for them. These gestures look like taking time to write a letter to someone who has impacted my life. It looks like staying up later than planned because a friend needs to process. It looks like sharing my story and my feelings with people even when I don’t know how it will be received. It looks like leaving campus for the sole purpose of buying flowers for someone special. And yet I’ve been surprised that these gestures don’t feel like work or stress or a burden in any way because I believe in the importance and the value in the sentiment they are trying to communicate.

It is important for me to name that my inspiration for writing today came from a gesture from the young child of a dear friend. She was so excited to be at her first ever concert, a seminary gospel choir concert to close out the semester. Never have I seen so much energy and so much abandon in praise of our God. She danced and clapped until she was so tired she couldn’t keep her eyes open. As I also felt the music and clapped my hands, I tried to remember the last time I gave that much to God. I started to stretch examples in my life to try to find anything that might match this little girl’s praise. I told myself, “I left everything I know to come to seminary and learn to serve God.” Or “I’ve been going to first hour and church every Sunday, despite my complicated schedule.” Or “I didn’t tear down that person’s theology when I easily could have (and could have to protect my own heart).” But I stopped myself. I shouldn’t be searching for excuses or vague examples. I should pursue more substantial gestures as the least I can do for the God who gives me breath in the morning, who protects and fills my heart through all of my endeavors, and who extends me love and grace each and every day.

My prayer is that my gestures only get bigger. That I wouldn’t be afraid to step out or step up. That I wouldn’t hold back my love or care for anyone, regardless of who they are or how they treat me. And that through everything, my gestures would bring more of the light of God into the world.

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