As the year gradually winds up to its regular steady pace after the lush restful days of the Christmas season, I think its a good time for reflection before leaping in. I’ve been visiting long term dreams and goals, and looking for the things that are life-giving, inspiring and very much at the forefront of my mind. I just think it is so important to keep the big picture in focus…mainly because I’m a big picture person, so I’d say something like that, wouldn’t I? I recognise that if I can’t see the big picture, you’re as well to sit me behind brick walls because at least that would physically enact the inner sensation of being swamped in whatever minutiae is presenting itself. Within vision of the bigger picture, the present takes clearer form and thus gives me opportunity to rest in it.
Plenty on the horizon on the work front, family front, personal and devotional front, and on my part-time academic mini-career as I press onwards to complete the course work for my MA in Mission before tackling my dissertation from the summer onwards.
There are a few things becoming important to me again. It is not that they have disappeared, they are just finding new focus. The main thing is the Jesus story. I, personally, have no trouble with the historicity of the accounts, give or take the carefulness with which one must approach literature like the New Testament gospels. I believe they are true whether they happened or whether they didn’t – truth isn’t simply contained in physicality, it goes beyond that, although I’m happy that in Jesus of Nazareth, truth is revealed in a very full way.
I affirm that because I don’t want anyone to be under any misguided notion about where I come from with regards to perspective in any sphere of life with which I engage. His life, his influence, his teaching and his words are my main inspiration for all I do. I keep wondering why I feel I have to say that…perhaps I don’t, but now, more than ever before, I guess, I find myself in places where it can’t be automatically be assumed that people share the same outlook…that’s the joy and challenge of seeking to life a faith life without walls and false boundaries of sacred-secular divides. I’m finding all sorts of amazing and beautiful humanity all over the place!
In such liminal spaces, in between places, where things aren’t predictable or fully known, you can discover with greater clarity what is key and what is just commentary. It is in the questions that we live and ponder, not just in the answers to the questions. I guess I’m in the humbling position where people often come to me with questions, seeking direction, wisdom or other such things. My first response is always a sense of inadequacy, before moving on to trust in those instincts that there is One who holds all things together and, even though the vision gets mired and unclear, he wills no ill for us. He is entirely good, but invites us into holy risks and exploits. We mustn’t fear the questions, the reflections, the uncertainties, the disappointments or the yet-unrealised-hopes.
It will come together when we least expect it and looking back we will see His hand upon it all. We need to live life forwards, step forward hopefully, and just maybe, we’ll have the grace given to us to understand it as we look back at it.