Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Broken then Shared

My confirmation group were talking about this topic last night. Lots of things have to be broken before they are shared, in this context the brokenness we discussed was Jesus on the cross.

This got me thinking of all the other sharing which comes through brokenness.

The people you only really knew when they were so broken and vulnerable they were able to share with you some of their true self.

I sat for some time this morning thanking God for the privilege of sharing in the brokenness of Jesus repeatedly through the brokenness of my neighbour.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Tuesday in Holy Week

"Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour." John 12

This morning's reading and meditation brought me face to face with the great challenge of Christian life. Particularly as this phrase comes within a passage in which Jesus once again alludes to his death.

If I want to serve Him I must follow Him and that involves walking the way of the cross. It involves sacrifice and pain and selflessness. Tough stuff.

Brother Roger of Taize wrote:
"Prepare yourself as well, cost what it may, for that struggle within yourself to remain faithful to Christ until death. This continuity of an entire lifetime will create in you an inner unity which will see you through everything...Far from lighting short-lived blazes, give your life to the end, and day after day it will turn into a creation with God."


Monday, 2 April 2012

Monday in Holy Week

Pure Unbounded Love:

John 12:1-11

"Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus."

Mary anoints Jesus with costly oil, once again an act of devotion different and more understanding than her sister's service.

Jesus’ response to the false piety of Judas doesn't excuse us from caring for the poor, rather it is positive toward Him.

The poor will always need us and we will always need to respond to them, but those people would not always have had Jesus with them. It appears that Mary by way of her closeness to Jesus, was all too aware of this and this act of devotion was a preparation for things to come, for death and burial.

I can easily get my priorities confused and serve God or the poor based on a warped sense of duty, my own guilt, fear of the consequences or pride in my own accomplishments. Whilst doing so I fail to understand that in Jesus, God brings grace the unmerited gift of forgiveness and new life.

When I accept this and recognise and live in Christ, allowing the gospel to transform my life then doing things like helping the poor, making decisions which are routed in Christ, and loving my neighbour, becomes instinctive.

This life is costly, like Mary, I prepare for Jesus' agony and death and to walk with him to the cross, and yet more costly to myself personally I pledge to give my life to the service of God.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Out of your depth?

Today brought a first for Bobby the Dachshund cross - he went swimming.

Well, when I say he went swimming what I mean is he chased Monty and his ball out of his depth, panicked and thrashed about for a bit and then discovered his Labrador genes, webbed paws and waterproof coat meant he was quite good at it, and he glided back to dry land.

It made me think of the Passion narrative I heard read beautifully in church this morning, which once again reduced me to tears. The disciples found themselves out of their depth at many times during Jesus' ministry but so apparent in the Garden of Gethsemane. They slept whilst Jesus agonised in prayer. They stood watching as his betrayer approached and they dispersed into the night terrified, alone and completely out of their depths.

I feel like this a lot, whilst parenting, whilst witnessing to Christ, and just whilst living as a weak and sinful human. During Holy Week, I wish I didn't cry out with the crowds who urged Pilate to crucify Him, I wish I hadn't run away scared and furiously denied Him, I wish I hadn't wept at the foot of the cross, but I do and I did.

In order, for me to have Christ's hope, I have to play a part in His death. Without his death Easter is null and void of meaning as resurrection is impossible. In this too I feel out of my depth, but I am not alone. Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ I reach some depths and doggy paddle my way out of them.

This Holy Week I will be constantly reminded that I am only as effective as my last encounter with the risen Christ. However I can't rest on the last encounter, and must yearn to meet Him daily.

In the words of a hymn we sang today:

And yet I want to love Thee, Lord;
Oh, light the flame within my heart,
And I will love Thee more and more,
Until I see Thee as Thou art.