Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Values are so easy when you’re talking about them

I love people

I believe in people

I know that we are all touched all over with the fingerprints of the Creator….

But in the heat of the moment,

when I am met with defiance in the classroom

or unhelpful people in less than ideal systems,

then I find my ideals are imaginings and words, they are wood, hay and stubble in a furnace.

Show me your faith without deeds I read, and I smart from the sting of their truth.

Because actually my deeds, my responses, my demanding…. that’s all the real me on show right there.

When the rubber hits the road and things are hard and fast and noisy that’s when I forget the wonder of my perfect ideals and I come down to the heat of rubber vs tarmac and it’s hot and smelly and painful.

When the centre is only words then it doesn’t hold fast in the storm.

I am broken and breaking. I am failing and failed. I am loved and beloved.

and therein lies the contradiction and wonder of the cross – an imperfect me exchanging garbage for treasure.

I didn’t earn the treasure.

I will never earn the treasure and, even after I have left with the treasure, I find bits of the garbage stuck to the bottom of my shoe, still lingering inside my pockets, still hidden in my heart.

I need the cross because I need a daily exchange. I need a new chance today. I need forgiveness for yesterday. I need grace for tomorrow.

I need Lent everyday because I need a daily infusion of grace, of hope, of forgiveness.

Today my Lent is recognising the junk, acknowledging a need for grace, and a daily gratefulness to Jesus who dealt with it all, who carried its shame, my shame.

Today I know Jesus is sufficient. He is enough for me.

I fall at His wonderful, nail scarred feet and let my tears of failure be an anointing of thanksgiving.

The shock of the Cross

I’ve been failing at Lenting…. it’s like it has slipped past me as I have rushed the other way.

I have felt it, the lack of lent, hovering like some kind of hologram completely unrelated to my here and now.

I have this dream of journeying well and being in every moment face up to behold the son. Instead, I am distracted and distractible, disagreeable and doubting, busy and all business….. and I miss the moment. My eyes flit from one demand to another and my ears tune out the wordless whisper of invitation and hear only the clamour of a million insignificant noises.

I have missed the journey to the cross and so I find myself unprepared for its confrontation.

Instead of holding the grief well and partaking in passover with love and understanding I find myself suddenly caught sleeping in the garden, I am overtaken by an angry mob who’ve come on the attack and I am blindsided.

Jesus was ready for the cross – he set his face to the journey, he gathered in and encouraged his loved ones, he agonised in the garden.

The disciples were ambushed by the whole thing… in a way, they had been invited to a lenten journey – Jesus had hinted and talked and they had missed the boat. When they finally realised they were in the midst and it was too late for finding inner stillness and trust, they were rudderless.

Perhaps that’s why I need the journey of Lent – because the cross is carried in a million ways, everyday.

The cross is carried in quiet discipline that no-one sees.
The cross is carried in the tongue kept still when it wants to lash out.
The cross is carried in the extra un-noticed mile in the workplace.
The cross is carried in the daily surrender of my right to rule.

When I forget to take these million small ‘cross journeys’ then I suddenly find I am crushed and overwhelmed. I found myself undisciplined, answering back, doing only my dues, demanding my rights…. I find I am in fact ┬ásprinting away from the cross not journeying towards it.

Lent is disappearing and the cross looms large on the horizon…. may I find the courage to lay down the demands before me and take up the yoke I am invited to. Friday is coming but there is time to prepare my heart, to fall in step with Jesus once again as he walks determinedly up that hill.

Because I know Easter will come, there will be chocolate and buns, there will be celebration and family but I will have missed so much if I just tune in on Friday and Sunday.

Lent is an opportunity to drink in the fullness of what was achieved for me at Easter and it’s so big, and wonderful, and life giving that 40 days of giving myself over to it is hardly even enough to prepare myself to stand again and marvel at the love that poured out.

If I don’t tune in until Friday I have missed out and I don’t want to miss out on the depths of love and grace and freedom because I only gave it a couple of days across one weekend on my calendar….

how is your Lent?
If you are missing it then perhaps we could pick it up a little late and walk it slowly together?

Miriam xx