How do you respond when things do not go as you wanted? How do you respond to your own faults, shortcoming, failings? Can we admit that we start out with standards and hopes, expectations and promises, but we don’t always live up to them? I remember when I was a Youth Director in my twenties, full of patience for kids and critical of parents that were testy and impatient. I envisioned myself as a calm, encouraging, and rational parent. I am not the parent I thought I would be back then; I realize that my point of view back then was a rather artificial one, and that I am more prone to become weary with the daily reminders one has to provide one’s children for every basic routine aspect of daily life, let alone the dramas, emergencies, and grand long term plans we have for our kids and don’t always know how to actualize. I am not that impressed with my performance, to be honest.
Shattered expectations can have a crushing weight sometimes. How do you come to terms with them, and find a redemptive path forward? Can we admit and hold up our frailty and faultiness while also facing our broken world with hope and love? In many ways I think our society/country is struggling with this. We have a hard time recognizing our checkered history; we get appeals to just honor the flag without speaking of our ugly blemishes. But a path forward in hope and love must acknowledge who we are in our frailty and faultiness. As a society, even on good days, we foster injustice, we treat people unequally, and we do not value all life with the same vigor.
I think of Aleppo, Syria. While I recognize my shortcomings as a parent and as a member of a community, I still have the means to provide. But what of those for whom the brokenness all around them threatens their very lives and families? Can we grieve with them, pray for them, and maybe even stand in solidarity with them - whether these be Muslims in the rubble of Aleppo, or African-Americans on the streets of America?
The history of the church has its own checkered performance. Our families. Our lives. Blemishes and blunders abound. But we come to Christ with this brokenness. Our passages in October will be exploring these themes – coming to Christ with acknowledgment of our frailty and faultiness, and through it being re-born and re-made to live with hope and love in a broken world; to be people who live out of gratitude.
Do we see our brokenness? Are we secure enough to acknowledge it? Can we love ourselves and one another in spite of it, and love each other through it? Can we embrace the God who loves us and forgives us, and who remakes us along the journey?