Yesterday was my sabbath from the disciplines I have chosen to take on.
Today is my sabbath from my junk-food fast.
Alas-I am without junk food. . . I fear this will make abstaining throughout the coming week that much more challenging. . .
Yesterday was quite the day.
Where can I begin?
I have fallen in love with the phrase from Romans 8:3 and its description of what Jesus has done for us.
Here is the phrase in its entirety:
God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess ofstruggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.
the words which are emboldened are the words with which I have fallen in love.
doesn’t this so perfectly describe us?
I have the wonderful privilege of working as a pastoral intern in a church that is so very alive with Christ! And therein, I find that just as Christ plunged himself into the disordered mess of struggling humanity, so too, this little church is plunged into the disordered mess of struggling humanity.
I am not denying that we are ALL this disordered mess. but I’m pretty sure most we have all seen or been a part of churches which seemed to be free of chaos and mess and struggle. Somewhere along the way of human history, someone came up with this dreadful like that Christians are supposed to be something more than human, and so many of us have participated in the struggle to be more than human… to be creatures that do not feel emotion, do not grieve, do not wrestle with sin, are not tempted, and perfectly understand the will of God even when our world is rocked with unspeakable tragedy. So many of us have participated in the denial of our humanity by pretending to feel only the most positive of emotions… pretending that the Kingdom has already arrived in its fulfilled state.
Or maybe we haven’t pretended to feel that way, but have been in a community that felt that way… felt as if it was taboo to voice anything less… that maybe it was a lack of faith to express fear, anger, misunderstanding, pain, confusion, temptation, or the like.
I could run down this tangent for miles, but it would be just that : a tangent.
perhaps another day.
the thing that I am loving about this church in which I have the honour of working, is that even if it wanted to pretend that there is no disordered mess of struggling humanity-it couldn’t possibly.
we have people openly struggling with addiction, homosexuality, marital issues, pregnant teens struggling through pressure to have abortions, prostitutes, people working through rage and violence, and so much more… and it’s out there impossible to ignore…
When someone shows up high… another pregnant, another with his boyfriend, etc etc… you can’t pretend that we are living in the fulfillment of the Kingdom.
Some of these issues demanded attention on yesterday. I was disappointed to miss the message, but there are times when ministry comes before church.
After a day like that, i was tempted to write another post that began with a sorrowful tone.
I’m not sure how clearly it is conveyed, but I am instead intending to post a post in celebration… As yesterday morning… and early afternoon was spent ministering to some of the more troubling, seemingly hopeless situations, God gave me a promise to share with one of the people struggling through them.
“You may feel that your life is a mess, that the struggle at [location] is too great for this church to be a part of. I know that [name] is afraid that we will see things for what they are and freak out and wash our hands of you. But I can tell you with certainty that this is not what we intend to do. It says in Romans that Christ came and entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to redeem it. What kind of church followers of Christ would we be if we didn’t follow him when he leads us? Yes, we see the struggle.. and it is messy. there’s a lot of brokenness there. and we will stand up against the things that are wrong, but we will still be HERE. we will still love you, and in the end, I hope and pray that [name] will begin to realize and trust that, and see that this is precisely how Christ deals with all of us.
I am really really really glad that God gave the disordered mess of struggling Amanda more than one chance!”
and the person who had previously been in near hysterics exhaled and became suddenly calm.
I doubt it was because i had spoken in any eloquent or magnanimous manner, but rather I believe that in the same moment wherein God reaffirmed to my spirit that he was calling us to support this particular place and these particular people, that he spoke to this person’s heart and reassured them that He is never going to leave.
I love this phrase, and so i am now at risk of over-using it… But I am so grateful to see that we have been plunged into what our society quickly recognizes as the disordered mess of struggling humanity, and I am SO grateful to see a church that deals with this with such honesty, humility, grace, and resilience!
and… yes… it terrifies me at times.
But this terror serves only to propel me even more forcefully into gratitude for the Spirit and His power and the promise of 2 Corinthians 12:9 that in our weakness, Christ’s power is made perfect!