Does this image of the sun setting over a tropical beach affect you the way it does me? Whenever my thoughts turn to thinking of a needed break from the dreariness of winter, I envision a sandy beach, waves gently lapping at the shore, palm trees waving, and balmy sunny weather.
As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, the beach is my “happy place.” There’s just something so wonderful about catching an airplane in Seattle in the rain and cold, and walking out the cabin door a few hours later to feel the warm sunshine on my face, knowing the beach will be in view soon. My husband and I returned from a beach vacation just a few weeks ago…truly a time of R and R after a season of dealing with cancer.
“R and R” is a term that my parents used when I was growing up whenever they spoke of taking a vacation. I never thought to look up its’ origin until lately. I discovered it was a military term coined years ago, an abbreviated way of saying Rest and Recuperation. Since mom and dad both served in WWII, this all made sense. Aren’t those words great descriptors of what we hope for in a vacation? Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy travel that discovering new places, new sights, new foods, and adventure. Yet, when I want to truly experience rest and recuperation, it’s pretty hard to beat a warm, sunny beach.
Reading the gospel stories of Jesus, I’m thankful that He too felt the need to get away once in while. I love the words of Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” After coming through a season of cancer for my husband last year, a week at a beach-side resort provided a wonderful respite.
I’ve long had a fascination with words that begin with the prefix “re”. The Latin origin means “again” or “again and again”. Although this could sound like negative thing, most of the words I think of that begin with this prefix are a positive thing…even a life giving. Here are a few:
I know, I know that there are probably just as many “re” words that have a negative connotation, words like “regret” or “regress” or “repetitive”, yet I like to focus on the positive ones. And if pressed, I would have to say my all time favorite “re” word is redeem. According to Merriam-Webster, the word redeem means:
to buy back
to get or win back
to free from what distresses or harms, such as
to free from captivity by payment of ransom
to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental
to release from blame or debt: to clear the record
to free from the consequences of sin
to change for the better
to atone for
Isn’t that a powerful word? Isn’t that what Jesus has done for us? He has bought us back from a life of sin, leading to destructive habits and consequences. He wins us back by pursuing us. He frees us from what distresses and harms, from captivity. He helps us overcome many trials in life. He releases us from blame and cleared our record before God the Father. He frees us from the consequences of sin. He changes us for the better. He repairs and restores. He atoned for our sins once and for all on the cross. He is our Redeemer!
Then I looked at Merriam-Webster’s definition of Redeemer.” Redeemer: a person who redeems, especially JESUS”. Synonyms: deliverer, rescuer, saver, savior. I was actually amazed to see their definition in print! With Easter approaching in just a few weeks, I love thinking about what Jesus, our Redeemer, did for us in his crucifixion and resurrection. And just recently, a dear one that I have long prayed for has returned to a relationship with Christ, after years of wandering.
In the 1970’s, I was a big fan of Keith Green, a singer, pianist, and songwriter. So thankful that I even got to see him live in concert a couple of times! I loved many of his songs and the simple message of his love for Jesus Christ. One that our church still sings to this day is “There is a Redeemer”. Take a few minutes to listen?
I hope that you take some time in this season of Lent to reflect on the love of our great Redeemer and sing his praise!
Do you have a favorite “re” word? Would love to hear it! And for those of you on Spring Break from school, enjoy! Warmly, Gracia
P.S. This is how I started my mornings at the beach…No better way to begin the day!