What difference does it make that God understands and loves us deeply?
The eyewitness to these things has presented an accurate report. He saw it himself and is telling the truth so that you, also, will believe.
John, the Apostle, 19:35 The Message
Last Friday evening, a cross+generational group of leaders, ages 15-62, gathered in retreat to further plan the next Senior High Youth Gathering. Given paper and pen, each was invited to draw a timeline of one's life, marking the highs, lows, twists and turns and noting one's relationship to God in that journey. Sharing was optional, but every person chose to tell their story. The 15-minutes planned for devotions turned into more than an hour. Everyone listened intently, fully engaged, as words unfolded. No probing. No questions. Just turning toward one another, bearing witness to the joy, anger, emptiness, unsureness and yes, the surprises, sometimes hilarious, because God had not let go of anyone.
What difference does it make that God understands and loves us deeply? What difference does Christ's death and resurrection make for us in the midst of our daily questions and struggles? Regardless of our age or stage, how do we name anything good or Godly in the mess of our lives or the world's? Dr. David Lose, in this week's Working Preacher shares, "These are big questions, and they stand at the very heart of the Christian faith. Though significant, however, most Christians rarely take the time-or have developed the confidence-to contemplate and answer them."
The one memory of every Good Friday in my childhood and every Holy Week of my adult life is the instruction to leave the Good Friday worship in silence. Of course this practice is meant to encourage personal reflection and reverence for the dramatic details of Jesus life and death, the story that forms the foundation for our life as Christians. Yet with the urgent call today to articulate our Christian faith, I wonder if we have been leaving in silence and living in silence. Let us like the Apostle John give witness, at home and away from home, to Jesus' rescue of us and the whole world.
Dear Jesus, Give us appreciation for your love and sacrifice for us and the confidence to tell, to not keep your great rescue of us a secret. Amen.
"Without a story to tell, there is no faith; without a language to tell our story, Christianity remains mute, and the church's missional imagination atrophies. . . God loves us too much to lose us, a story that comes to us through the messy particularity of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the God-story that the church confesses, and that families and faith communities must articulate . . ."
Kenda Dean in Almost Christian
The day The Sun Stops Shining from The Jesus Storybook Bible
--Linda Staats, Assistant to the Bishop for Youth and Household Ministry