Monday, October 22, 2007

More on reconciliation

I find my self in the midst of reconciliation. Reconciliation is something that happens every day, with students, with friends, with God, but this Period of Reconciliation is entirely different. This is a full-fledged, “I don’t ever want to talk to you again, much less see you, think about you, know about you” kind of brokenness leading to a wide gulf for reconciliation to bridge.

A couple nights ago I was talking to my friend from Cincinnati, the one who was my crying shoulder during the formation of this chasm, and we were wondering what this Period has in store for me. I think this is an important question, what lies ahead, but I think that the question I should be asking, is why did this reconciliation become necessary. If I believe the things that I say I believe on Sundays, or at Bible Studies or when I am praying, then there are things about God that I need some serious review on. Specifically, and I think this is true for Christians in general, I think that my generation has a lot of head knowledge, and not a lot of heart knowledge. We think about God, but we don’t know God. I guess I would say it is the difference between reading travel brochures about a place you have dreamed of going and then actually being there. It is something that has to be experienced.

Anyway, I think God is pretty similar. I tend to get bogged down in thinking about “What would Jesus do?” or “what is God’s will for my life?” or “what should I do next when TFA is over?” I mean, don’t get me wrong, these are good questions to be thinking about, but with me, these questions take over and they block my vision of almost everything else around me. The symphony of the world gets muted to dull whispers behind these questions. And I think the thing that I forget, is that if I am knowing God and living in God and thinking God and breathing God and loving God, then all those other questions will be taken care of.

It’s like the calling of Simon Peter. There he was, doing his thing in his fishing boats, and Jesus shows up on the scene and invades his work space. Peter experiences this amazing, miraculous blessing in his work place, but, Christ is using this for his in-road. He follows this up with “How would you like to be a fisher of men?” Now, Peter could have gotten all hung up on the blessing part. “Wow, I am just starting to make headway in this business. If I kept on, I could be such a huge influence, sending missionaries all over, building temples, helping the poor….I could run my own business and my own charity! It would be so amazing!” he could have thought. But with that thinking, he would have missed the calling that Jesus himself placed before him, to just go.

Coming back to the reconciliation. There is this passage in the Bible that I think sounds really beautiful, but in all honesty doesn’t mean all that much to me. I love reading it, because I think it is kind of comforting or whatever, but when it all gets down to it, I don’t know this to be true. It’s from Romans 8:37-39

“8For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So I think this reconciliation is God’s way of showing me that this is true. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, and the evidence is that this broken and ugly and painful thing in my life is being redeemed at this very moment. It’s like God is saying “Hey, look here. If I can fix this, don’t you think that I can take care of you? That I can fix anything? That I will always be with you?” And I respond by not paying attention or saying “Yea but…” or something. Really though, I think that the pain and awkwardness makes me overlook the redemption for most of the time.

This makes it all the more amazing that anybody follows God though. I mean, if I can come out of my self-centered, selfish, obsessive behavior long enough to notice that God is actually doing this thing and calling me to some beautiful place, then I am becoming more in tune with how God works, and that means that anybody can do it. With God’s help of course.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ramble On

Good Led Zeppelin song.

I've been...uh...reconciling this week. It's as if I suddenly found the loose ends of a sweater that I thought was completely unraveled, only to find that the ends lead to a large hole in an otherwise complete garment. On the one hand, I am very used to my wardrobe without these holy garments (to continue this awkward analogy), but on the other hand, I remember the glory days of their association. I loved them. I still love them. But I am a completely different person, and I wonder if/how they will fit.

I've also been reading Thomas Merton's "No Man is an Island". It has some interesting thoughts on friendship that have challenged me this past week.

"In order to love others with perfect charity I must be true to them, to myself, and to God. The true interests of a person are at once perfectly his own and common to the whole Kingdom of God. That is because these interests are all centered in God's designs for his soul the destiny of each one of us is intended, by the Lord, to enter into the destiny of His entire Kingdom. And the more perfectly we are ourselves the more we are able to contribute to the good of the whole Church of God. For each person is perfected by the virtues of a child of God, and these virtues show themselves differently in everyone, since they come to light in the lives of each one of the saints under a different set of providential circumstances. If we love one another truly, our love will be graced with a clear-sighted prudences which sees and respects the designs of God upon each separate soul. Our love for one another must be rooted in a deep devotion Divine Providence, a devotion that abandons our own limited plans into the hands of God and seeks only to enter int the invisible work that builds His Kingdom. Only a love that senses the designs of Providence can unite itself perfectly to God's providential action upon souls. Faithful submission to God's secret working in the world will fill our love with piety, that is to say with supernatural awe and respect. This respect, this piety, gives our love the character of worship, without which our charity can never be quite complete. For love must not only seek the truth in the lives of those around us; it must find it there. But when we find the truth that shapes our lives we have found more than an idea. We have found a Person. WE have come upon the actions of One Who is still hidden, but Whose work proclaims Him holy and worthy do be adored. And in Him we also find ourselves."