digital art by me, adapted from free art online
I sat in church this past Sunday, at Redeemer. I have so enjoyed this place of worship. A place that is honest, genuine people, trying to figure out The Gospel. They're not just to 'get saved' or to 'save' others but talk about what the good news is when shitty stuff happens. It's not a rare occurrence that they address hard stuff like rape, like past family pain, alcoholism, heartbreak, materialism, modern-day racism, suicide, etc... from the pulpit. If ya go to church much, you know how rare that is. We "Christians" like to pretend that stuff doesn't happen. Because we don't know what to say. Or how to deal with it. We don't know if 'the gospel' can handle that kind of brokenness.
I sat there and listened to this guy talk about Nehemiah and how he entered into the pain of his surroundings. He made his people's problems, his problems. He wasn't avoident. He wasn't individualistic, all "that's their problem". He wasn't full of answers, either. He just couldn't shake them. Couldn't stop thinking about how much it must suck to go through their junk. And God saw that. And liked it. And came into the problems with Nehemiah... after he spent FOREVER asking God, that was. It took a while.
Our preacher dude talked about how this was a human prophet, whose life prophesied of the life of Christ. Not just the words he said about the future that came true, but that his life was a distant echo of The Gospel. Of the good news. That Christ enters into our pain. And maybe it does get 'fixed' sometimes, but more comforting than that, he weeps for us. He made our problems His. That is the good news. That is the Gospel.
Sat with someone a few nights ago with a good glass of wine and some serious heartbreak. And was so reminded of how all I wanted, when my heart was broken, was someone to feel it for me, just a little bit. I hated it when people told me 'what to do'... as if there was something to do. And how they said it would be over soon... it wasn't over soon. It ended, but it wasn't what I would call "soon". And they looked at me with pity. Not compassion. There's a big difference. And let's be honest, we've all been that person before. Felt awkward with someone else's pain and not known what to do. It's a part of life. But what I loved about Sunday is that I was reminded that the most comforting thing that we can do for someone, is to enter into their pain. To do our best to put ourselves there. To let our emotions, our mind, and our experience (or lack there of) go there. And be honest about that.
And why that's so comforting is because that's what Christ does.
It'd been a while since I heard the Gospel talked about like that. And I really believe that its the only way it should be talked about. The Gospel isn't needed just one time in our lives. We don't need to be saved from ourselves only once (don't make that into a theological thing please. it's not meant that way). Jesus enters into our problems still. We still need his saving Truth. Daily. Even after the first time we met Him and we're 'saved'.
Mr. Man likes to sit in front. I hate it. Because the Gospel, spoken about like that, brings me down every time. It makes me weep. Snot drippin' and all. I had to seriously wash my jeans after all the swipe and wipe I had to do.
After I hear Truth spoken like I did Sunday, I feel like I'm a bit better. A bit worse. I feel a bit lighter. and heavier. And definitely A bit more understood. I see how I need to be loved and in turn, how I want to love. And how that's all laid out in The Word. I feel a bit more healed. And a bit more broken. A bit surer of the direction Mr. Man & I are to head in. A bit more like myself.
That's Christ. That's the Gospel. He enters into our (collective and individual) pain so that we experience Him and good, hard life, heading the direction of The Way. Slowly and not so steadily sometimes, but still heading there.
You can find it here.