A Distant Close (2010)

This has been a very interesting year for me; and an even more peculiar fortnight. I have never known God to be so close to me yet I doubt I could feel him any farther. The weird thing is that I don’t feel out of his will. I was reading my bible last night from John 20:11-18 when Mary met Jesus in the garden. After she embraced him Jesus told her not to touch him because he had not return to his Father, but he gave her instructions to carry out. In the “here and now” section of my bible it said that Jesus was changing his relationship with Mary Magdalene from a physical one to a spiritual one and he was getting the point across to her that she can’t hold on to him any longer. Then it asked how do I view changes in my relationship.

Like most people my first reaction to a change in my christianity is one of indifference. Sometimes I see it as an attack, sometimes as punishment for doing wrong but hardly ever as simply a change. When I look at my life I see how things have changed with me and God. I used to see God as my imaginary friend. He would be next to me and I could whisper in his ear all the jokes, funny rhymes I made up, my concerns and random facts I remembered out of the blue. But now I’ve made it to the real world, where blood and chocolate run thick. My perspective has changed.

I see closeness as more than physical or imaginary proximity. I can’t really explain it yet because I haven’t understood it. Think of it this way. I met God somewhere and he sent me on a journey. He gave me signs and told me that things will not appear as clear in the chasm as they are in the chapel. Then he sent me on my way. This world couldn’t be any more real than it is temporary. Pain couldn’t be more factual. Joy couldn’t be more certain. And I’m not escaping it all or shutting myself in some tightly wound ball of protection. Life couldn’t be any colder. I can look into people’s eyes and see their hurt bubbling like thick soup in a cauldron. Yes, demons do surround some of them and constantly stir up God’s wrath against these people. Yet at the same time a blinding, warm light screams into the deafening silence that I peer into. Not all of us who stare into the abyss will have the abyss stare back into them.

So I’m faced with the question of what will I do. Shall I pretend that I see God’s face when I stare into the darkness of an empty soul where all dreams come true? (And not the good day dreams that come when you’re in the middle of a celebration. I mean THOSE dreams….yeah, those ones.) Or do I understand that God, who said let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts so that we may come into the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ who is the image of God and pray that he breaks us once more so that his light will radiate from these broken vessels?

This is mind blowing and I will not even attempt to explain it any further. It took 21 years and more than 7 books for me to begin to grasp this concept. It is a mystery. Christ in me. I in Christ. I carry in my body the death of Christ so that the life of Christ may be revealed in me. I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.

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