There are weeks that are so marvelous that you want to relive them, hold them and keep them ever safe. I hope your summer had one of those weeks. A family reunion, a vacation, a solar eclipse in totality, evenings at the coast watching sunsets, the week when the all-grown-up kids were home, time with the grandchildren – a week that was by any measure, “a keeper.”
That was not my week. It was a week you do not want to relive, but will never forget. It was a week filled with such deep sadness at the passing of a child. It was also a week filled with an incredible outpouring of love. A week filled with laughter at stories remembered and sorrow that they are being told. A week filled with deep abiding questions for God yet founded four-square on faith in the One who knew the child before she was knitted in her mother’s womb; the One who now embraces the child in His unfathomable love. In that I trust. This is our Faith.
CS Lewis wrote about our faith, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” It is in faith that I see the wonders of a life ending as I anoint them, readying them to pass through the doors to new life in heaven. It is in faith that I see all the wonders of a newborn, held in parent’s arms as I baptize them, readying them to pass through the doors of new life in Christ. Life and death; baptism and anointing, yet each a portal to new life. Such mystery. But that is our Faith by which we see. We are a faith of paradox, of mystery, of learning how to see that:
God is One and God is Three.
God surrounds us in creation and at the same time, God transcends it.
The kingdom of God is coming! Hallelujah! …and the kingdom of God is already here.
Jesus is fully God and Jesus is fully human.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and at the same time, the lamb led to slaughter.
He is the Christ, our alpha and omega, our beginning and end.
It is in giving, that we receive.
To live is to die to self.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
The meek shall inherit the earth.
In faith, we see things unseen.
We are called to reign like kings by serving.
Having nothing, we possess all things.
We’re saved by grace through faith, and faith without works is dead.
We bear God’s image, and yet we are deeply flawed.
I am leaving but you will not be alone…. I will give you my spirit and “…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.”
Let’s be honest, a management consulting team would not have selected Peter. He seems a bit shaky to be anyone’s rock. Peter stumbled, fell, and he denied. Peter did not always “get it;” he struggled to understand. And even when he did understand, he hesitated— unsure whether and how to bind or loose. Sometime, he acted without thinking it through and lops off someone’s ear. His service was imperfect, sometimes misdirected. St. Paul had to correct him and get him turned around on binding and loosing around the table of the Eucharist. Peter was an imperfect servant to the servants of God. And yet he was given the keys of heaven – another paradox among so many.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Even the choice of Peter.
By the risen Son, I see a world, a life capable of holding deep joy and staggering pain without denying either. I see a world, not of either-or, but of both-and, all pointing to God who is ever near. Even in a week like this – perhaps especially in a week like this. I see that it is not I who holds paradox, it’s that paradox holds me. I am held, braced and embraced by God. I trust in the embrace and then live in a deep space, yet at the same time a high place. A place where the light and shadows are different. It’s filtered and complex. It requires more from my eyes — more patience, more alertness. A longer gaze. But the view? The view is spectacular and secure.
A week such as this requires more from my eyes – a longer gaze into the mystery of living this faith. A faith by which we are called to see everything else. A faith that sees the precious Body and Blood of Christ where others see simple bread and wine. A faith that we are proud to profess in Christ Jesus our Lord
ideas and words from Debie Thomas at “Journey with Jesus”