Brokenness is everywhere. That simple sentence is one of the most accurate statements I can think of right now. While I continue to live a life full of blessing and comfort, I am astounded by the amount of brokenness that I encounter. The brokenness in the American system of government, in churches, families, marriages, relationships, and in the core of my heart.
It's been more than one year since I last posted on this blog. Remarkable, really, how time can move so fast. It's crazy looking back upon this year. A summer filled with hope and anxiety, joys and pains, hellos, goodbyes and see-ya-laters. An autumn of celebration and grief, pride and shame, delight and despair, coziness and complacent discomfort. Followed by a freezing winter of restlessness, illness, hard work, achievement and new passions. In all of the paradox, the Lord remains, a strong foundation, my safe place, my faithful God.
It's easy to see God's faithfulness in hindsight. And it's telling of our brokenness to look back and see how easy it is for us to forget. We are told "you can be whatever you want to be" so we tend to think we are in control. Especially, we who are fortunate to live in cultures where wages can provide luxury. But still, anytime, in any culture, how could we ever think that we are in control!? We live in a world of horrible natural disasters, terrible diseases.
This is where sin comes into play. We are people of free will. We are people with the desire to figure stuff out on our own. We want to learn the hard way. We want to captain our own ships. We want to be able to say, "I pulled myself up by the bootstraps," "I built my business," "I deserve this IPA," or, as Drake would say, we “started from the bottom, and now we here."
The reality is that we are tiny! We're nothing in the grand scheme of things. What can a grain of sand do to change the currents of the ocean? We are but dust and clay. Who are we to think we can do anything on our own? How could anything so temporary have value? This is where Yahweh flips things upside down. Even though we are small, God values us immensely.
When we falter, when we sin, when our brokenness gets the best of us, He does not snuff us out. He does not wipe us off the earth. He is gracious and throws our sin as far away from us as is infinitely possible. Not only that,
He is the creator of all and the giver of all good gifts. He gives us nourishment. He sustains ecosystems and even provides us with good pleasures (like wine). But the greatest gift that he sent us is His presence, His grace.
He sent Jesus down to enter into the world of our brokenness. He did not come as a king or a conqueror. He came not with creator-power, but as an infant, a tiny little baby. Talk about a humble beginning, especially in first century Bethlehem. He entered a broken world, at a broken time, to knit us together in unity by the cords of the spirit of grace that He has given us. He has bent down and graced us with His presence. The presence of joy, the presence of nourishment. He has apportioned for each of us a slice of infinite all-consuming never-ending life. What does that mean? If infinity is apportioned is each piece still not infinite? God graces us with His spirit. God pays it forward. He gives us grace with love. He does it without precedence. He gives out of love and calls us to do the same, but serving and encouraging each other with the gifts He's given us.
Remarkable, isn't it? God's love drives out all fear. Christ came down into our brokenness and took the punishment that our sin demanded. This is perfect love. Now we must remain in Him, for He has paid it forward in us, gifting us with His grace, Spirit and with the assurance of salvation.
This way, we must remain branches attached to the vine. We must acknowledge that without the nourishment of the vine we are fruitless. We are dust. Withered branches so stubborn to try and suck sustenance out of drought-dried watersheds.
But as these individual branches, we have the gift of God's ever-flowing goodness. He sustains us as branches all connected to him. He gives us life and makes us bear fruit. He grafts us into the vine and gives us community and life with the other "branches". Life giving and sharing community. (Hey! this is like "church" er something :P ). What good things!
What glory, that we can reveal God in our broken and busted bodies. In bodies, just like dust and clay, conglomerations of atoms that, though magnificent, are oh-so tiny and temporary. We are not just jars of clay, we are cracked jars of clay, under pressure, but not destroyed that hold the treasure that is the love of God. Which He gave to us in His good grace. It is good then that we share God’s love. Share this great treasure!
We are not in control. In our brokenness we've created broken systems: stagnant government, systematic racism, a rigid education system, the perpetuation of generational poverty, high divorce rates, objectification of women, and the glorification of consumerism for the temporary pleasures of temporary bodies. Without the goodness of God's grace we are just withering grasses. We are nothing. Like I said before, what can a grain of sand do to the currents of the ocean. How can one grain of rice end global hunger. Let's abide in God. Be nourished by his vine and love one another with the love He gave us so we may be fruitful and see the body of Christ grow in this world. So we can see the One who is in control work through us, broken vessels, to piece back together everything we've shattered.
Pour your love through our broken and dirty bodies. Lord, fill us and spill us. Let your love seep through the cracks in our clay, through the smiles on our faces, through the words that we speak, through the way we use our gifts, and through the very pores of our skin. Let us be ever-flowing portals of your ever-flowing love. Let us always be connected, always filled by the infinite flow of your love, and always channeling it outward to the broken world that needs it so badly.
Thank you Holy Lord,