Thursday, December 4, 2014

Life with a Capital L.

Life with a Capital L: Embracing Your God-Given Humanity

Imagine a person, the kind you bump into every day.
Imagine them either male of female, young or old. It doesn't matter. 
Imagine that they love music, and they get caught up in stories, and they notice the goodness of the world around them. (They feel the pain too, and the tedium and wear and tear.) 
Imagine them as your basic human who wants to live a good life, and knows that this requires more than just being alive. They've got a longing for purpose and peace and permanence. 

What do you and I have to give them?
Can we give them the Person of Christ, who is the Source of the goodness they've tasted, the end of the Road they're on, and the Savior who holds their brokenness tenderly?  
If I said to this imaginary person "The Gospel is your answer," they might immediately say "Oh. You think I should try religion?" What do I say at that point? No? Yes? Maybe?

When we rattle off John 10:10, "IhavecomethattheymayhaveLifeandhaveitinfull," what are we even saying? (Heaven knows we've stamped that on enough coffee mugs and inspirational calendars!)
What is this "Life with a Capital L" that Jesus offers us? 

That's the subject of Matt Heard's book, and that's the phrase he used for a title. 
"Life with a Capital L." 
It's what most of us want. And it's not Achieved as much as it is Received. 

Over the course of this book he ushers us toward Life. 
A Life that begins with grace, and is sustained by grace because grace is what leads us home. 
A Life of freedom- not freedom to self-destruct, but "freedom to enjoy Christ's Life in all of life."
A Life that engages our hearts, finding the significance of our days beyond the "mournful numbers."  
A Life that utilizes all the senses to experience the call of beauty.
A Life that comes to God's Word for illumination, and doesn't use that flashlight as a weapon. 
A Life lived conscious of our place in the Story, redeemed and sanctified for His glory.
A Life of worship, defined succinctly as a living Coram Deo- before the face of God.
A Life of love, and not in any sloppy sense. St. John said it- "Anyone who does not love remains in death." 
A Life that doesn't fear the passage of time- "Numbering my days isn't just realizing there's a finite amount of them. It's grabbing the Life out of them." 
A Life where fragility and fulfillment exist together, and it's hard and good at the same time.
A Life lived in anticipation of seeing His face. 

Something I especially appreciated was the way Matt Heard brings quotes from so many other authors into his own work- from Isak Dinesen to T. S. Eliot to Walt Whitman. He even includes a black and white copy of a painting in the front of this book, a painting that captured in one scene exactly what he's trying to show us through these chapters. "There is life everywhere." 

And I also really enjoyed the way he handled Scripture. He treated it like it made perfect sense, and he crafted a context for the verses he chose so that we could understand their meanings for us today. In other words, if you gave this book to somebody who thought the Bible was weird or irrelevant, the way it's presented here will shock them. Just like Emilie Cailliet, you may find that "This is the Book that understands me." 

So today, with the ideas and stories of "Life with a Capital L" singing in my brain, I'm going to keep reminding myself- "Be Still. Be God's. Be Here." Remember, Reorient, engage with Reality.

Thank you Blogging for Books for my review copy. In exchange, this review is my opinion. 

Matt Heard and his wife, Arlene, live in Colorado Springs and are the privileged parents of three adult sons. A speaker and writer, he was the senior pastor at Woodmen Valley Chapel for twelve years.  Whether standing in front of people with a microphone or in a trout stream with a fly rod, whether sitting around a dinner table with friends or serving a need in his city, he loves exploring and experiencing Life with a capital L

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