27 November 2007

From an email I just wrote (only slightly edited)

We ought to live on a knife's blade at all times, remembering the shock and amazement of God's mercy to us--that such a one as I should be called a child of God, that such a one as I am no longer a slave but a son! Gasp! And yet I would never seek to be stripped-down in order to learn this lesson deeply. Life has enough suffering that we don't need to go looking for it.

My teacher and elder in Harrisburg, Gordon, used to say that the Gospel pierces the heart of every culture. That is true for any one of us at any time. When I feel a little hardhearted toward someone because I just don't get her, the Gospel tells me that I am to love her as I am loved. When I feel a little prideful toward someone because he's a little ditzy and twitlike, the Gospel teaches me that I am not to boast in anything at all but that I know God, because His foolishness is wiser than our wisdom.

So the Gospel is piercing you, my friend. Jesus was/is incarnate...thus the Advent that we celebrate. He became enfleshed, and ministered to people in their fleshes too. Remember the woman that bled for 12 years? The boy who was infested with Legion and spasmed all the time? The daughter of the centurion who died and was raised to life? Jesus ministered to us in flesh, and to deny relationships their fleshliness and to reduce people to less than what they are is wrong. The Gospel has taught you that, and has stripped you down.

BUT NOW the Gospel is also teaching you that Jesus is faithful and just, and will forgive us of all unrighteousness (and cleanse us). It's that same fleshliness that will heal you, my friend, as we who love you minister to you and become (as Dr. K says) pipelines of God's grace to you. It's never a desert when God's people are around, friend--the Gospel says God decides to love you and you are loved--by God and by us, your friends and your family.

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