I don’t think I am particularly melancholy. I say to myself I’m too busy for that! 🙂 But it is true that at liminal times – doorways – when we move through something – from outdoors to indoors, from the past to the future, we can be wistful, reflective, and there are parts of 2020 I certainly don’t want to see again! And 2021 is very much an unknown country for me. God, what do you have in store?
Now, there are a lot of good things in this church year! Jesus for one! 🙂 He is with us every day caring, serving, helping, forgiving, guiding, blessing and yes, our experience of him can seem such that we are simply imagining him and his presence. We live by faith after all and even that is challenged when we wonder and have doubts and so we often leave it to Jesus to ‘sort out’. His words hold us! And while the year has been tough and different and isolating and of concern, there have been many good things that have come to us as well – even as our plans are not fulfilled as we’d hoped and hardships are endured. There are people – family and friends and folk from the congregations (and we have definitely become more than a ‘just Brandon’ group) – who are supportive and helpful and encouraging.
And then when I’m being all philosophical and theological a car turns in front of me! Fortunately I was turning the corner slowly and slammed on the brakes but when I stopped, the front of my car was ‘kissing’ the driver’s door of the other car. I just looked at the driver. He didn’t look at me! And then he continued around me and drove off. Yes, it was close. And it’s the unexpected, the unplanned, the sudden which reminds us of the illusion we hold that we are really in control of our lives. And people can become destabilised and feel powerless – especially when life ‘dumps on you’ again and again. It is something to realise that we really only control our behaviour – and even that can get the better of us at times.
So I laughed when I saw the advertisement from a Christian bookstore. ‘Get to know Jesus better with our latest new book!’ The book being advertised wasn’t the Bible! I am sure the bookstore and the book’s author mean well – I know I do when you read this and listen to me – but we simply can’t go past the Christian truth that Jesus is the Word of God, the Word made flesh, and of course it is a mystery – everything about God is! – that the God of the universe speaks to us and binds himself to this revelation in human flesh and human words. We, of course, by nature always want to add to those words because our words reflect us – and are important to us – but our starting point in our faith, spirituality, relationship with God is listening and receiving rather than speaking and doing. Listening to Jesus, following him, is the hallmark of being Christian – no matter the past or the future, no matter our deeds and our dreams – because Jesus is with us every step of the way, no matter what doorways we go through. GS