We have been having work done to our home recently. And along the way the lovely fellas doing the work keep asking questions. Position of this, placement of that, is this white or brown. They need to know in order to do their job.
And I have found those questions the oddest bit of all. A number of times they have asked and my mind goes blank. So they describe the surrounding furniture. “Oh you mean …” and we finalise whatever they need to finalise.
I am learning that I don’t see things. I have walked past the same “things” for so many years a lot of the detail has become invisible. And I do not put that down to going mushy of brain. Someone seeing our home for the first time sees things I don’t. Familiarity doesn’t so much breed contempt as selective blindness.
It was a meander of thought brought on by Tuesday’s ChapLynne post: http://chaplynne.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/twenty-seventh-day-of-lent-tuesday-apr-1/
ChapLynne begins with: “God proclaims through his prophet, Isaiah, “I am screaming like a woman giving birth — so great is my frustration with you. You don’t listen.”
And as father of four, I know what causes that scream (the backs of my hands are scarred forever – I carry them to remind my wife that I also suffered. It’s a man thing – ask any father where those scars come from). I sometimes find I also scream inside …
>>> When someone tells me they have been a Christian since suckling at their mother’s breast (usually it is said with pride in the voice … much as I tell people we have lived in the same home for almost two decades … much as I regard an old jumper my wife yearns to cast into the fires of the recycling plant)
>>> When someone tells me they “could never believe” in God or Jesus or all that stuff (with the same pride as above oddly – they don’t need God – never thinking does God need them – and never considering that looking Love in the eye and going “not for me” would be odd in any other context)
>>> When someone tells me they have given up on church as it was damaging their faith (get the pattern … same sort of pride – I did that for God – me – I did that)
You will have your own examples – and before we move forwards … I know there are many examples of exceptions to my words today. Please feel free to stop here if you prefer. Thank you.
All have a common theme. All are “beliefs” held and maintained with affection and history. And no ability to see the detail. All with selective blindness. And before I think I have “got it” – I am no different. I have my own selective faith blindness. You know that grinding noise some do with their teeth? I hear my God doing that sometimes. When the Batman suit remains firmly in the wardrobe.
And that, it seems to me, is The Compelling Reason for community in Christ, for relationship, for growth, for making disciples, for church, for Love, , , , , , for Everything.
Alone? How is it possible to see the whole magnificence of God’s love … Alone? How is it possible to prevent my familiarity, my entrenched comfort zones, my one – and only – way of being a follower … Alone? Alone with my god I am loved … I am free … to be loved alone … a lonely love … a familiar love … becoming just like my moth-eaten jumper. Comfortable and wholly holy!
Last night I was knee-deep in others’ blogs. Others’ opinions. Others’ styles. Others’ eye for the lord. Your different ways of expressing your own love. The different facets of this same diamond you see and reflect. The different questions you ask and cause me to ponder. The “lighting up” inside me of seeing what I see differently.
Each and every person here walks politely into my house and asks: “where does this go … what colour should that be …. maybe that works better over here …”.
Those verses, chapters, books I walk past each day without seeing. The things I do, hold important, have figured out and no longer question. The faith I have which limits the size of my Love and God’s Love – refreshed daily – audited daily – noticed daily. Causing me to look at God and me anew … afresh.
That the “kaleidoscope of colours” we all are together is bright and beautiful. That the Love we promote, share, post – in so many different ways – is “Kingdom Work”. In each other, for each other, and of each other. Rooted in this eternal pool of Love. Rooted in the fertile soil of God. Little mustard seeds all – sprouting and budding and buddying.
I always find “Kingdom Work” an odd phrase. So often it implies “me” rather than “us” (and on a good day might even stretch to “me and god”). So rarely seeming to mean “we must work together”. And why do I almost never hear the question “Can I work with you, please?”
Why is that? Why do we only occasionally ponder whether our lord is connecting us – here in the blogosphere. I know I do quite a lot. And I have seen others ponder it.
Because my words are influenced by you. My eyes are more focused by you. My ears are sharper because of you. My heart is bigger because of you. My God is massiver because of you. And my confidence in being “me” grows daily. God grows. I grow. It’s a win-win.
Kingdom Work …. ?
I sometimes look at these scribblings pouring forth from inside and think “Is this work?” Because these words are fun. They are a pleasure. And reading your words? I see “good” more and more, seeing goodness in others, seeing love in living … that is enriching. Being a Christian? That is also an increasing pleasure. Increasingly filled with fun. Out-flowing from within.
Is that “work”?
And a verse rattles around my head. I am not good with stuff like that – thankfully BibleGateway is very good:
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
Thank you for working. For doing this Kingdom Work. Each and every one of you.