Gung-ho for God

So here’s the thing with God and Jesus and all of it:

You have to be all in.

You have to be all for it, all into it, and you have to be sort of an all-or-nothing on this.

This sounds strange and like something you cannot relate to, I know.  It’s peculiar, like those people on busy, bustling downtown street corners, yelling at you to repent of your sinful, movie-going ways; it sounds like this is a message coming from one of those funky-looking vans, complete with a megaphone attached to the roof, it sounds like I mean hell and fire and brimstone and the second coming.

This isn’t that.

What I’m saying is this-you’ve got to be all gung-ho about this, and lay all those cards on the table, not hold any close to your chest or up your sleeves, no matter how badly you may want to.

I’ve been studying 1 Corinthians 13 lately, and it’s good and it reflects this all-in, lay-your-cards on-the-table thought.  You know these verses, and probably by heart: it’s “those verses” that everyone usually has someone read at their wedding-“Love is patient, love is kind…”.  It’s those verses, the ones we all valiantly aspire to be on our wedding day, those verses we hope to God we all have present in our marriages and in the treatment of our spouses.  It’s those verses, the ones we also think are slightly unrealistic; those verses I personally wonder sometimes if they are even attainable, especially on the days I am mean, grouchy and tired, the days that I am anything but patient, kind and long-suffering.

So, these verses, to sum it up quickly and way too easily: love is key.  And if you have that, you have everything.  And if you don’t, you have nothing.

If you ain’t got love, you’ve got nothing.  Nothing.

You could be the most faithful person ever, the holiest of holies, have all the verses in the Bible memorized and ready to convert anyone at any time.  But if you don’t have love, none of this matters.   Even if your heart is in the right place, that you mean to help someone but don’t have love, are you truly following Christ’s example?  Or are you merely a statistician, trying to meet a quota of making sure people understand God’s love, without actually loving them first?

I would say the latter.  Not of course, because I don’t like you (I like you a lot actually, especially if you are reading and sharing this blog, hint-hint), but if you’re just spewing off things about the Bible, Christianity, how people should be or what they should do, it’s not really about the love-the love of people, the love for people, or the love of God.

I’m not saying you’re not awesome, you are; simply because of the fact that you were made by a Creator that loves you and that alone makes you worthy.

But, if you think that your role as a Christian is just trying to point the people in the right direction without loving them first, you are truly missing the point.

And might I add-you’re also missing out on a vast amount of love, life, laughter, tears and the very fullness, richness and beautifully imperfect experience of life along the way.


Good Grief

So, lots of grief lately.  Ironic, touching, strange, a whole slew of emotions-especially all of the grief that  my friends and I have experienced right up to the hours before Easter Sunday.

And Easter Sunday: my friend who had complications and was just barely alive: winked, smiled, wiggled her toes.  Miraculous.  Both in big and small ways.

And she was a fighter, fiercely independent before-we didn’t think she would take anything lying down, but who were we to judge what God had planned for her? Regardless, we begged and pleaded with God; we bargained with Him as if that were to change His mind.

Which, I’m not sure if it did or didn’t, those are mysterious things that I may never know about or ever begin to understand.

However, what I do know is this: Grief and love and loss-all unlock a new level of caring and loving each time we pass through them.  Each time we get our heart-broken, we can elect to be more defensive, more protective of our hearts or we can become more vulnerable.  Same with grief and loss and hurt-it can paralyze us or we can use it to propel us forward, to new levels of depth and appreciation for life.

And, BTW-The softest, sweetest people I know are those who could have been hardened, mean, bitter. They so very much have the right to be bitter because of what life had handed to them.  But they choose not to.

And this is a silly, crazy little comparison-but it’s not unlike video games-you never know there is another level (of compassion, patience, love, etc.) to unlock until you get there.

And then what you find when you get there: the realization that it was there all along.

Recovery Room

Here’s a thought: life is one big recovery room.

I see this as a truth, as aren’t we all recovering from life to some degree?

Some of us are recovering from internal bleeding and bruising of the heart.

Some of us are recovering from the constant and continual paper cuts of life’s little problems.

And some of us have been so hurt by others, so abused by life that we are almost injured beyond recognition.

Yet here we are; all stuck together in this giant recovery room we call life.

We are not separated by degree of injury, type of injury, or health care plans;

We are not separated by how we deal with anger, loneliness or lack of love;

We are all stuck with one another, whether we love it or loathe it.

And yet, knowing this, we still stare at each other down as if we were on a lifeboat together.

We are constantly assessing whether or not that other person is good enough, healed enough or strong enough to be worthy of a seat on the lifeboat.

We scrutinize each other.  We judge.

But, we seldom realize that, along with God, we are all that we’ve got.

And ironically, that we are all we need.

If only we remembered this.

Another humbling thought.

Here’s another humbling thought: I make mistakes.

No biggie to you, I’m sure, but yesterday I wrote a post that made sense in my head, but said something entirely different.

What a difference a comma can make.

Anyways, so that has since been corrected, but still-it makes me very aware of two things:

-Probably wouldn’t hurt to proofread my writing three times before posting, and probably shouldn’t post so early in the morning,

and two:

-I seem to make more blatant, brash, harmful mistakes when I seek to satiate my ego instead of God.

Now, if I could only learn this.  For good, this time.


Humbling thought

I’ve never met or seen an atheist who loves people, hate people like the Christians who proclaim they love God.

So often we are Christians get so caught up in who does or does not believe, who God does and does not love (hint: God loves everyone), that we go overboard and totally forget the message: Love.  Compassion.  Kindness.

It isn’t about the hate, the judgements or what categories people fit into.  It’s about that unconditional love.

If only we could remember this.

Deepest Graces

What is deep, fragile grace?

It’s watching the person who you know has little money, give a generous amount of that money, smiling, to a stranger.

A homeless, needy stranger.

It’s watching the nurse, exhausted from her late shift, start the quiet meditation of knitting during her train ride home.

Only to find at the at the next stop, someone who is loud, curious, and desperately needing to be listened to, to be heard…the nurse puts down her knitting and just listens, probably for the 100th time that day.

Deep, fragile grace is the watching, the knowing, the listening, and the giving of grace.

Deep fragile grace is trying to be a daily portrait of God’s grace in a world that is so fractured by our brokeness.

Grace is all around us; all we need do is look.

Grace is within all of us; all we need do is act.

May you always have more than enough grace to give-