Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Just about the time it becomes too difficult to stand, we kneel. To go lower, is where I gain clarity. As a child sees things. Like how tall my 5' 4" Mom looked at the sink washing dishes. Like how my first grade classroom loomed large in high ceilings. Or watching an ant go its way as I lay on a hot sidewalk re-routing him with a stick. In this God ordained development of stages, we start small. I think it is because of the world in our childish view of HUGE that we are in awe. In this impish state, it's where we learn and listen. If we continue in reverence and healthy fear of God, we stay low. We linger underneath, standing on our tip toes, wanting to see. It is in this position that a cross is placed. It chooses us. We may haggle and wrestle against it, but under its weight, we can't escape. Deep within its grain, we reckon that we want nothing less. In drinking the cup and carrying our cross, we recognize that there is no better place than His will.
Jesus came unassuming. Unpretentious. Totally upside down of what we're used to as human beings living in uncivilized society.
Nothing he did was conventional. All in good order and all things well, but unlikely...not the usual.
Instead of royal robes and jeweled crown, his skin sloughs in scratchy linen. His face meets with human clay, poked in dusty thorns, stooping to wash all those dirty feet.
He communed with the least and hailed the simple faith of a poor widow, a reviled adultress, a demon possesed juvie.
I came to the altar backwards. I looked for happiness and found boredom. I searched for meaning, and found void. I begged for approval and opened my hands to rejection. Where on earth is the truth to be found? I wondered at the age of 18. Forget happiness. I think if I could find the Truth, whatever that is, I can make it. I might even make something of my life. I'd hoped that truth exists.
It still takes all this time for me to work out why on earth I'm still here. I haven't fulfilled God's calling, yet. Mid-race, I thirst. I run, then I rest. Lay it down and evaluate. What is it that you require of me, Lord? To do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly after God. It is in the after God, that I struggle. I'm not that holy. If I were, my life would be lived. The breath in my lungs would leave. My heart would stop beating. I'd have finished well.
I'm not finished.
One has. One fulfilled a unique destiny. At a young age. Before children, before marriage, before the death of his parents. It seems cruel. We want him here.
Somehow I think that his life is accomplishing much as only his spirit lives on in us, not clothed in human flesh, but in our memories, our discussions, picnics, yard sales, study sessions, the nails he hammered to help repair a deck for a needy family, his willingness to hang out with an Autistic young man who interacts little. His example is fuel for our own journeys. We go on better, because of him.
But it is so hard. Letting go. A life cut short. It is upside down. We are broken and weeping. We miss for Sarah and Meredith, their brother. Unorthodox.
Jesus was anything but orthodox. "Oh, but he is orthodox." If we look at orthodoxy as strict adherence to Christian principles, yes. As far as orthodoxy is defined as commonplace or ordinary, Christ is nothing of the kind. Only recently, for me orthodoxy is esteemed because I've learned that God's upside down way of doing things is actually right side up. His ways not our ways. His thoughts, not our thoughts.
I think that our new saint, Matt, would like this quote from G.K. Chesterton:
“But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun.; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic monotony that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never gotten tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
It is in these thoughts of Matt that I retreat, into my prayer closet...
Curling inside a pearling oyster shell.