Which is easier to say?


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Seconds from Disaster.

I used to watch it every week.  How did this tragedy happen … ?  And within an hour it was obvious to everyone.  A countdown of minutiae.  Everyday repetitive details of “auto-pilot living and working”.  Which is how we all live mostly.  Like driving.  Like so much work.  Like so many relationships.

I used to be a perfectionist.  Or a control freak as some have said.  In parts of my life and work that is a helpful trait.  In others not.  We all like to be in control.  None of us like to be controlled.  Which is a weird conundrum – how does that really “work”?

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Christmas Story Day 10: Luke 5:17-26 – The control freaks from head office and Joe Public.  Head Office? “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  Joe Public? “We have seen remarkable things today.”

In the UK those who care for the elderly – the infirm – the aged … these human beings  are cared for by able human beings usually paid a minimum-wage.  The cost of care is massive.  Getting old / losing your faculties is “inappropriate” in a world where faculties functioning to a high level is the only expected standard. The expected level of control.

“Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”

The whole context of this passage is one without control of physical faculties.  I am guessing the man’s mental faculties were intact.  So I can imagine how it was to not be able to move – yet still be in every “second from disaster”!   I imagine that “fellow” was in every scary second of an eternity when “time stood still” (we have all experienced).

But he doesn’t get a speaking part in this story so we will never know.  Nor do his friends so we can’t pick their brains.  Nor does the homeowner whose roof now has a great big hole to fix.

Care workers have very little voice today. Nor do the folk they care for. We only hear when something goes wrong.  But that is true of almost everything … Good News doesn’t sell unless it is a “human interest story” (which news organisation drool over).

But the problem with “human interest stories” is the humans – whose reality has to be edited to fit the required storyline and that day’s running order.  Just like this passage of verses today.

Believers treat it as Good News.  But good news doesn’t sell.  And the biblical “human interest stories” are as packaged and storylined as any “reality programme” or news bulletin today.  Something disbelievers are quick to point out.

I used to be a control freak and now I am not.  And life is so much gentler because of it (for me and those around me).  I used to be controlled by the bible (and fought that teaching as most do).  And now I am not – but nor do I try to control the bible either.

Which is easier to say: “I will love you,” or “I am love’”

Because – just like being “lowered” (without any physical control at all) – “placed” in front of someone (without any certain guarantees) – hearing a proud homeowner yelling “WTF????” – not able to leave the limelight under your own steam – not having control over very much at all other than “I believe” …

These verses are imagery – a mirror – of my living every day.

The reality is that I have no control over so much of my living – other than my own response.  My reality and truth is that I have always lived much like a cork bobbing in the ebb and flow of a current I can’t even see – something I used to fight.  We are taught to fight.  To grow up and take control be responsible.

I finally have.

Now I embrace the current I can’t see.

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Which is why I am love – unconditional love – seems the best response.  Seems to me the only response to bible “storylines” using imagery (that I have no need to control as either “fact or fiction”).   Which makes for a bible that is gentle and uncontrolling – and which makes this annual Christmas Story relevant to my living  today.

Unless I need to have control above all else …

Including love – obviously.

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