Thursday, April 14, 2011

Panic, Perfection and the Word of God.

Good afternoon God,
Did you ever wonder if you would survive long enough to die?
I ask, because it's about this time in the run up to the festival of Easter that I often think I'm not going to make it - so many home communions to do, so many services to write, so many people to visit, so many things to buy/organize/make/plan in order to make sure that THE day (actually - let's be honest here - the hour) manages somehow to communicate something of the wonder, mystery, joy and power of what you did 2000 years ago.

At this moment in time, I could take heart from the idea that you might have gotten a little 'fretful', that you might have worried (even if only for a moment) about missing something. It would help me to feel that there were split seconds when you had small doubts, were you sure you had said all you wanted to say - all that was necessary to enable us to piece it all together again later?
Were you confident that you were 'ready'?

Were you human enough to want everything to be perfect - and human enough to panic that it might not be?

Planning great moments which celebrate both life and death demands breathtaking courage and audacity doesn't it. The celebration of Holy Week and Easter has to be genuinely emotive enough to liberate tears and smiles, yet rational enough to sustain more than just the heart in the days and weeks that follow. It has to be simple enough to understand, yet complex enough to carry truth, mystery and awe.. and all this without artifice!

It's at times like this that I really understand, value and appreciate Scripture.

When I don't have the words, I find you do - when I've run out of contemporary stories and illustrations, you supply me with your Word and ask me just to let it be read -
You teach me, year on year, to trust that it has your power to move, liberate and mystify.
It is, after all, by your grace, not by my exposition that people will be saved.

So.. before the real panic begins, before the stewards and the organists, the readers and the flower arrangers all start.. before the ink is dry on the orders of service for Maundy Thursday with its 7 different readings, and for Good Friday with its complete reading of the passion story - let me say thank you for your Word.

It tells YOUR story better than I ever could.. and spares me the embarrassment of trying to improve on perfection.

Bless you God

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