Wednesday, October 11, 2017
God take Two
The above close up of the famous two fingers - one of G-d and one of Adam (or earth being) for me points out a profound truth about the One whose love makes us whole and holy. G-d finger is on the right. Notice the strain and the stretch...the yearning and fully extended. Then notice the human finger on the left. Lackadaisical and limp...almost uninterested in actually touching the divine. I also love that there is a crack in the ceiling right there. This image preaches a profound truth to me. G-d reaches out. G-d in the prodigal son parable runs to the wayward son, embracing him before he can fully offer his rehearsed speak. G-d in the prodigal son goes out and listens to the older one vent his frustration, the unprocessed pain of life. G-d longs to be in relationship.
There is always a yet. Relationship is always a two way street. There are prayerful hopes and dreams G-d offers us to embody as a way to travel the pathway of life. In Micah G-d says, "Seek justice, show loving-kindness, and walk humbly." In a world where we constantly over-complicate everything...this is as simple as a sugar cookie recipe. Notice it says, "seek"...not achieve. That is hard for my Type-A, achiever, measurable goals personality. Seeking means that I haven't found and it means that justice is not all up to me. Seeking means that I strive but may never fully grasp. Seeking involves constant involvement. In a time when compassion fatigue is real, to continue to seek is challenging.
Showing loving-kindness isn't any easier. There are lots of folks today I find it hard to show loving kindness toward. But I don't get to select. Jesus made it clear that we are to love even our enemies. That is not exact the way to build membership in a society that loves to sort out into "us" and "them"; "republican" and "democrat"..."with us" or "against us." Loving kindness, Hebrew word 'hesed', is one of those words that can change everything if you let it.
Finally, walk humbly. If the first two don't challenge you...this one will. In a world that loves to prop up and shine a spotlight on the ego...humility is not seen as anything we would want to aspire toward. As Richard Rohr says, we have a downward mobility spirituality. The point is not to achieve, the point is to be. We will learn more by doing it wrong, then right.
We don't always teach or talk about this in the church. It is easier to bring the world into the sanctuary and talk about membership and finances and whether we liked the hymns and sermons. We critique the church because...quite frankly as a very human institution...there is much that isn't right. Like Adam in the painting, we hold a limp finger rather than leap into the embrace of a grace and love that will always catch us. Always. Not with the promise of pony rides and chocolate rivers. Not with Annie singing, "The sun will come out tomorrow." But catch us nevertheless. It will still sting when we fall. But there is grace even in moments of pain and struggle. Not a grace anyone can name for us.
So, today, find a way to reach out that finger toward the One who is reaching for you.
And may you find more than a trace of G-d's grace and love in this holy, broken moment.