It can be confusing being a Christian – there are those bits of the Bible that don’t make sense
the tales of destruction
there are the calls to holiness, to a standard so far beyond our own
the verses about angels and head coverings…
and then over all of that and woven through it all there is this incredible, un-understandable, weird, radical, grace and freedom.
And instead of Jesus seeking out the elite, he finds the ones society is most judgemental of. He hangs out with the party animals, the prostitutes, the law breakers and the ones who can’t ever quite manage to control their tongues and their impulses (I’m looking at you Peter).
The guy who writes most of the new testament has a background of Christian genocide (that’s a message of hope we need right now, isn’t it?).
It’s like the kingdom of the only one found worthy is a bunch of losers, ragamuffins and people who are a little off the edge.
Elijah comes down off Mount Carmel having defeated hundreds of the prophets of Baal in a whose-going-to-turn-up-with-power competition. Next minute he’s sitting under a tree crying and wishing he was dead.
Thomas is mouthing off how he can’t believe Jesus is actually a living being until he’s touched the scars.
Saul/Paul is flying the flag to eradicate Christians
and all of them are met by God. To each the encounter is a place of encouragement, of loving transformation, of giving them what they need to get back on the right track.
With all of us we are welcomed just as we are but we are not left where we are. We are called to engage our heads, our hearts, our strength, our creativity – all of ourselves to grow into our potential. We engage, God makes it happen – it’s a partnership of entirely unequal proportions.
At the same time we get into muddles, we misunderstand, we offend, we doubt, we weep when we should rejoice, we rejoice when others are weeping….. we get it wrong. I get it wrong.
and I look from my place under the tree crying and I find the arms of grace that say, ‘I’m not looking for winners I will plant a seed of victory in the shell of a loser. A seed as tiny as a mustard seed that will grow like wild weeds. Because I am the Master of transformation.’
There is a seed that can take a don’t wannabe warrior hiding in a wheat barn and turn him into a victorious leader. The Bible has a long history of losers whose lives and mistakes have been turned into a tune of grace that the loudest of shouters cannot drown out.
Question is are you too busy trying to prove you are a winner or are you ready for God to meet you where you are most convinced all your chances of proving yourself worthy are lost?