I do not deserve Christ’s Love: A Good Friday Reflection

18 04 2014

I have come to the heinous conclusion that I do not deserve Christ’s love.

I, like you, want to rush to, “But God loves you so much!” which does not directly confront the honest truth that I am unworthy of a number of things, but most glaringly, Jesus’ death.

My worthiness has nothing to do with it. I have been assigned love, love since before I was born. Love that exceeds love has been prefigured into my life story so that when I come to this point of realizing how “un-”, “not” “a-”, “dis-”, or “de-“ I actually am, that I fall into a truth deeper than my most spiritual former self would be able to fathom. And I continue falling.

I fall into a chasm of grace. I hate falling. It is so uncertain and most certainly ends in injury of some sort. In this, I learn the painful truths about the limits of my body.

But I mostly hate chasms. They are terrifying.

I have recently identified a frightening chasm in my own life. I have learned that a great chasm exists between my wanting to be right and my wanting to be righteous.

Chasms are frightening and loose, intensely all-encompassing.

They swallow whole. They linger in a darkness too thick to see. The vastness of this thing renders it dark. It is so big it is unseeable.

Darkness is not a sign despair – it is a sign of limitlessness. It holds too much potential that it renders it unseen.

This to me, is scary.

Jesus’ love is chasmic.

I mean, think about it: who embraces death, that which causes me to doubt them, to question my confidence in them? God does.

Who embraces death, the very thing that steals the breath out of life? God does.

Who moves towards and lives into death, that which humanity begrudgingly and indignantly moves forward into and hates intensely? God does.

Death is furious, untamable. Unless God takes it into God’s self.

What if the chasm of death is swallowed whole into the chasmic-ness of life?

What if it takes a life and actions and inactions that don’t make sense in order to make sense of the world, to make this life right again?

It leads me to the one thing I began with: I don’t deserve it.

This holy math that Jesus teaches us, I don’t understand it and I certainly don’t deserve to be told “correct!” to a problem set, a set of problems, that I have no idea how to even approach.

How can my answer be “correct!” when I have no answer?

I have Christ. Christ is the only one I can offer up not as a response to these set of problems, but as a plea for mercy.

“Christ” being my answer automatically renders me, “correct!”

But how can this be so? I am not “correct!” At best, I am a “huh?”

So maybe I am living into my ignorance of the chasm in which I am not renting space in, but hold permanent residence within.

I am starting to understand that I do not understand.

I do not make sense. My path does not make sense. How I think about God or think that I even know God does not make sense.

But somehow a Man claiming to be God’s Son changes all my questions into expressions of certainty, even though, or perhaps especially since I am not certain.

I am not certain, but somehow I am.

I am confused, but somehow my existence is supposed to be confusing.

I was never going to do or do right on my own. I simply cannot.

I need God, I need others.

I need chasms, chasms I am deathly afraid of but chasms that redeem me, chasms that confuse me and chasms that certify me.

I do not deserve Christ’s love. But somehow God’s grace, Christ’s life and the Spirit of the Living God spoke together, deliberated and determined that I deserve a chasmic existence.

May we all never stop falling.

Agoraphobic Faith

30 03 2014

Easter has me thinking honestly. I guess the Lord does that type of thing, huh?

Disclaimer: I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, especially with how I am choosing to think about agoraphobia. I have found a redemptive angle to this interesting perspective of closeness and vastness and hope to offer some thoughts here. With that said, these are reflections about the manifestation of faith for me. I do not wish to offend or belittle; I DO hope to inspire honest reflections around faith and its understanding!

I think I am agoraphobic. This is a self-diagnosis, but I believe that it is pretty accurate. I get antsy when my senses, mainly the visual, come in contact with certain manifestations of vastness.

I do not become overwhelmed to the point of the inability to function; I become overstimulated. I tend to see everything. I see clearer. I see things with a sharpness that wasn’t there before because my senses are acutely aware of the imbalance in the scenic picture that I am taking in.

It feels too big, or rather, I feel so small.

The vastness reminds me of my minuteness.

I have found my anxiety of my smallness heightened in response to three occasions of vastness: driving through open land such as pastures, fields or meadows, driving beside mountains, and driving over, through, and beside the ocean.

And through this revelation of openness I have come to this conclusion – I am deathly afraid of God’s vastness.

If God created the land, the seas, the mountains, and I find myself made uncomfortable because the weight of its importance outweighs me. It signals something larger than me. It demonstrates that something can conquer me, swallow me up, render me insignificant, render me small enough to be forgettable.

And this riddles me beyond sanity because my minuteness does not expect the attention of such a vast God.

The vastness of God’s creation overwhelms my ability to understand it. Its bigness overpowers my sensibilities. I cannot calculate my existence in or around those things and spaces. I makes me acutely aware of my space in the story of God’s creation as smaller than a blip on the screen.

I am afraid of vastness, because it reminds of how vast God is, how creative God is, how God’s sensibilities render mine small, lacking wonder, lacking understanding.

What I lack, God is okay with – but this does not make sense. Why would the Lord favor such a little being as myself?

Vastness exposes that my faith is not wed to understanding. They are not considered together – sometimes one proceeds the other, sometimes one stands alone as if not married at all. And then I realize that they are not necessarily wed, but somehow they are together – sometimes.

It shows how human my faith is. It is so elementary and relies heavily on my senses to be. It also relies on how I can explain away the fact that God exceeds my comprehensive abilities. My intellect, my ability to believe are put in their place. I feel small. But my feeling small is not one of feeling insignificant as much as it is about finally realizing that I am nowhere near understanding God’s limitlessness.

If I am in awe of God’s creation, of land and rock and water, what other wonder, that I have not even tapped into, do I hold for the Creator? In my smallness and my not knowing, what more is there to see and know about God?

Thus, my faith is agoraphobic.

And I am happy with. Okay, maybe not happy with it, but I accept it.

I am perfectly fine with it being based on an uneasiness and constant reminder that my “I am” renders inconsequential compared to the Lord’s essence.

Because I cannot understand God, take in all of who God is, I find my faith quite appropriate. What else should my faith be outside of reminding? What else would be belief feel like if it did not include tension that borders fear but lives in the land of reverence?

A mixture of fear and fortune in my not-knowing and only partly knowing God is showing me something. Unfortunately and possibly fortunately, I am sure I only know a small portion of what this something even is.

I am sure that the vastness of Christ’s blood scares me too. I am positive that the vastness of God’s love and the omnipresence of the Spirit contribute to my anxiety.

What am I to make of myself if Christian understandings I am taught to believe incite a deep and subtle fear? A fear of goodness being so big that my humanity all of a sudden becomes bigger than I want it or ever need it to be.

My sense of me is heightened when confronted with the largeness of God’s creation and I am not sure that I am completely comfortable with this. My creaturehood is put on full display; God’s greatness reminds me that I only have the ability to be displayed because of the Lord.

I look forward to and at the same time dread what will be on display about me and my humanity come Easter Sunday. I can only pray, pray that my smallness does not try to occupy more space than it literally can. I pray that the vastness of Jesus’ words, ministry, and blood overwhelm me. They already do; I simply pray that they will continue to outside of liturgical seasons and moments on the church calendar.

I pray my faith does not cure itself of its agoraphobia; my humanity depends on it.

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