Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Beyond the Static

"Memories...You're talking about memories".
Deckard - Blade Runner.

For most of us, Christianity was 'learned' as a religion of 'the book' - the things we do, say, and know were often determined by referring to scripture in a 'manufacturers handbook' fashion, but there's a problem with that. Most of us may have guides for all kinds of things in our homes, but real life often has a way of surprising us or circumventing 'the norm' to leave us somewhere totally unexpected (and believe me, I'm writing this on a day when I know this to be so very true).

The people that left Egypt and also those who met in the Upper Room (before and after the resurrection) were not able, in the manner we do, to 'go by the book' - they didn't really have one! What was imperative to their faith was the God who was nurturing them in the womb of fellowship which of necessity would be defined by a living faith in the richness of His care - scripture has always been meant to be an aid to that core reality. As they celebrated passover and then later, the Lord's Supper, it was God 'inhabiting' their communion because of His love that was the vital, reconciling event, and this also marks us, defines us, because it is His love, made evident amongst us, that makes us His - that is the true purpose behind creation and redemption.

It is all too easy to revert to 'procedural' mode when it comes to living the Christian life - prayer, study, church attendance, belief and practice - but God is calling us to something much more profound and, therefore, dangerous. The world we inhabit leaves us with numerous questions, but the reason this world has value is because the one in whom we live and breathe and have our being is also the 'lamb, slain before the foundation of the world' - it is that wonder, that astonishing truth, which lies behind all of our trials, joys and reflections, and truly defines what is of value, especially in our growth and inter-action with life and each other.

What truly matters, amidst all that goes on here, is that we truly see His work - His reconciling of the world to Himself through Jesus Christ. It is that 'holding' of all things, in heaven and on earth, in Christ's own person, that takes our thoughts here into a realm of true value and eternal weight.