It’s been a funny old week. A week where I’ve been reminded again of the frailty of human relationships. We are so easily hurt and misunderstood, it is far too easy for the distance between people to grow and grow. An old Rich Mullins song comes to mind. “We are not as strong as we think we are. We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, forged in the fires of human passion, choking on the fumes of selfish rage, and with these, our hells and our heavens, a few inches apart, we must be awfully small and not as strong as we think we are.” We are frail. We get things wrong, I get things wrong, I am arrogant and selfish. I’m also delightful and lovely. But yeah, arrogant and selfish as well. Far too much of the time.
It’s been a week where I’ve been reminded that really the only hope of relating well for any of us is to stand with the cross between us all. We desperately need the one who came into the darkness, who took on our selfish hearts and was determined to enable us to live well with him and each other. I need to relate to all I meet through that cross, knowing that I am a fallible weak human who is capable of hurting others and being so hurt myself. The cross frees me to stand as I am, a glorious ruin. The cross says I am so so valuable that I am worth dying for. The cross says I am so broken that I need someone to die in my place. The cross says the sin and shame in this world needs to be cleared away and the cross provides the way. I am free to own my hurt of others and ask for forgiveness from them and God and know that God will forgive, and I can trust him to help the other person forgive me. I can forgive others their hurt of me because I have been forgiven. It all comes back to the cross.
Which brings me to another random reflection. I’ve been pondering what my faith looks like in this land of parenting. In this no time to engage with God like I used to world. I’ve been wondering what my non negotiables are in a world where all my friends think different things about God, how we relate to him (whether or not he is a ‘he’), what he tells us to do or not do.
I think it boils down to Jesus. His birth, death and resurrection. I would love someone to tell me what to think about every other issue Christians like to discuss/fight about/create different tribes around. I really would. Talking to my excellent brother last night I realised I miss knowing what he thinks about everything (and the way his thinking has changed over time) as I pretty much used to just go along with everything he thought. His brain is very big you see. Mine is not so but I sense I need to grow up and get on with enjoying the stuff I am sure about and letting God take care of the rest.
So yes, where were we? Ah yes. Jesus. The baby born in the most ridiculous humble beginnings, the fragile God of the universe in small silly human flesh, crying, babbling and gurgling. Jesus the human, carpenter, son. Jesus the teacher, healer, calmer of storms. Jesus the disturber, surpriser questioner, friend of terrorists. Jesus the lover, the social boundary breaker, the one who hung out with women and gave dignity back. Jesus the man betrayed, subject to injustice of the highest order, Jesus the crucified taking on the darkness. Tearing the curtain between us and God. Taking the cup of wrath no-one else could drink. Jesus the dead man. Three days cold. Jesus the walker in the garden. Risen. Other. Different. Jesus the one who invited his friends to come and eat breakfast. The real risen from the dead man. Jesus gone back to his Father. Jesus whose Spirit still dwells with his people. Jesus the calmer of storms in our hearts. Jesus the calling to a new life. Jesus my perfect life. Jesus the one who will return. Jesus our hope. Jesus the LORD.
Jesus our Immanuel. God with us.
I love him. I can’t get away from him. I need him. I am his. I don’t know what to do with the uncomfortable things he says, the questions he asks and the life he calls us to but I know he holds my hand as I try and work things out. I don’t know what I think about lots of things at the moment, life does not allow time to process and reflect and ponder. But this I know, that he loves me, that the above stuff changes everything and that I love him. I long to enjoy that reality this Christmas (bringing it back to advent baby…) and as this blog post circles in to land somewhere in the world of Advent I want to cling to the wonder of Jesus in this time of preschoolers and toddlers and long nights and exhausting days. I long that his life, death and resurrection would transform how I live and love and am loved. I long to not hurt people and when I do stand free in saying sorry, in forgiveness and in grace.
Your correspondent, remembering some of the stuff she is certain about in the land of grey, nuance and confusion. Also aware that you may not share these certainties. Or you express them in different language. That’s ok. We can still be friends. Phew.