Window Shopping

Change happens. Sometimes we recognize it, but often it occurs right in front of our faces…we never really notice. Usually not until after it’s done.

I love the time in which we live. All the cool tech gadgets, an upsurge of great movies, stories, and music, and the ability to share and connect with people in ways that defy belief.

In all this cool change, invariably some things get left behind.

Being the artsy-fartsy music type, I lament today the words and phrases that have changed, or completely fallen out of use altogether.

Window shopping.

While a not completely foreign concept, most days I’m shopping on the very device upon which this post is being written. Does anyone remember going to the mall to hang out and just look? We’d go to just hang, and I’d see a half dozen items on display that made me want to buy them…immediately!

I remember Wide World of Music at the Century Plaza mall in Birmingham. It’s where I saw my future first electric guitar, a Les Paul knockoff by Ibanez. It was a great guitar (wish I had it still).

I was maybe 14 years old, and the mall was new. Music and guitars filled my waking moments (and some dreams too! And at 52 not much has changed). I was at the stage of needing a ‘real guitar’ but couldn’t afford a real Les Paul (about $800). Enter me entering the music store…and there it was: an incredible and affordable LP!

It was behind a locked case. It had an ebony finish, gold hardware, and looked like a dream. The lighting and backdrop in the display case were designed to present this budget guitar as The Guitar.

It worked. And it was good!

Flash forward with me again to today. I’ve been a believer a bit longer than a musician (happened right around the same time). The act of learning and playing music requires faith, and faith has an inherent cadence and musicality that decries what a creative God we have and know and follow and love.

But in thinking about faith, I have come to understand that it’s not something I need to have ‘on display.’ My first guitar was presented in such a way as to minimize its perceived shortcomings and make it seem better than it might truly be. I’ve realized that I’m guilty of the same with my faith. God is good, all the time, He is good. We’re King’s Kids and heirs and life is never hard and the sun never sets.

All the things we say about Christ, his love and forgiveness, mercy and grace, his work on the cross and his resurrection from the dead…all true! But it’s what we leave out that makes our faith look sometimes like nothing better than window dressing.

At 52 I’m just now beginning to know and understand Christ in the same way that real relationships work. There is a give and take. It’s real and raw because it’s a lifelong conversation. It’s living with the Living God.

I don’t want to be just an advertisement for Grace…I want to BE Grace for all those that come alongside in this adventure of following Christ.

Following isn’t cheap. There is a cost. But the very real and life changing grace and mercy Jesus gives is free…