I have been pondering life and ministry over the last few days, I try to make reflection a part of my usual practice, and hope that I seek to be continually learning, possibly most effectively from my mistakes. I also seek to learn through hurts and wounds those that are self-inflicted, and also those that have, from my perspective at least, been inflicted by others.
While talking to a friend the other day she voiced her concerns over committment to the church because she feels that she can never be 100% certain of her belief. We spoke of the ongoing struggle of faith, and of how at times it feels like we are taking one step forward and two or three back. I think this is probably our human condition, and it is probably all a part of our continued battle with our ego/ shadow-side. Accepting that we are loved is maybe one of the greatest struggles, because it demands that we drop our defenses, even accepting that those we are defending ourselves against are also loved….
We are works in progress, in life and in faith, and our lives, are full of both good and not so good elements, and I am pondering that in the light of moving on from one place of ministry to another. Over recent weeks I have had to grapple with some hard things and if I am honest I feel a little bruised and battered, it would be easy for me to shrink into my shell, or disappear into my castle and pull up the drawbridge.
Instead I am choosing honest reflection, I am choosing not to call everything bad and hurtful just because I am feeling a bit bruised, instead I am gong to celebrate the small things, the lovely hug from the administrator at the Registry Office when I dropped off my paperwork. The warm reception I received from friends when I popped into Central’s Coffee Lounge on Tuesday, and the excitement of those who are being brought into Membership this week.
A wise friend asked me recently where I would find redemption through a particularly difficult incident, and through prayer I came to see that there will always be weeds among the wheat. Jesus parable says that “an enemy did this” so knowing our enemy is essential. Our enemy is the one who would have us tear up the whole field of good crop because of weeds, and may well be our own negative self-talk or knee-jerk reactions to difficult situations. When my ego is bruised I want to lash out, to absorb the pain is much harder to do and ultimately more healing. To allow the weeds and the wheat to grow together is hard, especially when I see weeds where another sees wheat-filled potential! The likelihood is that there will be far more wheat than weeds in the end, and what currently feels insurmountable and irredeemable is neither of those things.
My reflecting has led me to a place then where I choose to celebrate the good, not to pretend that there has been no bad, nor to deny that right now I carry a certain amount of pain but rather to allow that to exist only through the mirror hope, and to allow myself to be held in the arms of love, for I rest on the strength of the one who has absorbed my pain through his work on the cross, what I need to do now is receive his grace.