In Matthew 23 and 24 Jesus makes it clear that God hates hypocrisy. He dislikes pretence, the wearing of masks, acting as if we were someone else, someone ‘better’. God prefers us warts and all. He likes it when we practise what we preach, when our actions match our words, when we set aside our claims to perfection or indeed the labels we place upon ourselves. He approves when we humble ourselves and when we avoid idolising priests and teachers.
There is something refreshingly attractive about someone who is so secure in who they are that they can laugh at their limitations and smile at their shortcomings.
Because Jesus lived a fully human life, God, in Christ, has gone ahead of us, he’s lived life, he knows it’s ups and downs. He’s been there, he’s done it, he’s got the tee shirt. There’s nothing we experience that he hasn’t gone through. Ok, you may argue that Jesus never knew what it was like to suffer a miscarriage.
His going ahead is surely something that we can take from the Joshua account of Joshua, whose names means ‘he saves’, the same as Jesus, leading God’s people from captivity, and the wilderness into the Promised Land.
God, in Christ, leads his people,
from the limitation of who we think we are to the freedom of who we truly are
from the emptiness of existence to the fullness of life in Christ, and
from the loneliness of isolation to the family relationships of sisters and brothers
So how can we sign up for this way of living? The answer must surely be to focus on Christ and on his kingdom of grace, to view all things through the lens of Christ. But how do we achieve this? It’s surely something to do with awareness, to live with the awareness that God so desires to be with his people so intimately that he makes present his life to us, in all things and in all places. Christ is none other than the living, breathing presence of God, running through our lives like threads of colour becoming more and more visible and even,
in the midst of our pain as well as our joy
in the midst of our despair as well as our hope
in the midst of our dark times as well as our light
in the midst of our self hatred as well as our self love
in the midst of our hatred of others as well as our love of them
in the midst of our doubt as well as our faith
Its not that God tolerates the pain, despair, darkness, hatred and doubt, its that he draws people into joy, hope, light, love and faith.
We’ve been stretching silk today and seeing something beautiful emerge from that exercise. It speaks to us of the beauty that God can bring from adversity and about the wonder that he brings as the different colours are added together, bringing different people and experiences together to collate a kingdom of wonder and awe. Paul writes to the Christians in Thessalonica about how “this word (of God) continues to work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Like a thread, God is weaving his wonder and peace and glory through our lives.
Living Word of God,
Expand our thinking,
Transform our life together.
God, in Christ,
Make us so secure in who we are;
Loved, warts and all.
Spirit of God,
Weave your colour through us;
Let Christ be seen.