The very first act of God was an apartheid of self — a separation as the rumblings of creation started and an idea, once within God, was suddenly outside of God.
At its deepest core, the Bible is a story of separation — the chasm between God and self, God and us, us and us. It is a story of the pain of this segregation, and how it plays out in our social constructs from the beginning of time, creating oppressors and the oppressed, both of whom are in agony.
But the Bible is also a story of regathering. It is the screenplay of the most redemptive of movies, an emotional score — a reclamation opus. It is God opening her arms and gathering us to her, in our brokenness, with our dirty knees and scuffed elbows, our broken brains, our torn up souls. It is Momma God giving us the much needed band aid — needed not so much for the cut as it is to just satisfy the need to know that She is there. It is Father God emerging from his throne to pull us into his neck in his huge, protective bear hug.
We were pulled out of God in our creation story — like a seed ripped from the core of an apple, we were happy there in the safety of Inside God. We were there, and we were together. But God had a genesis idea, and the Creator wanted us to sprout.
Sprouting is hard work.
It’s hard because from this core of ourselves, this God-created, inner most core, all this stuff grows up and out and into the physical world, where it becomes subject to the physical world. Inside, our God-created core remains the same — purposed the same, loved the same. But our physical manifestation, our sprouting, creates a shell-like barrier to our God and to each other. Our spiritual segregation. God’s apartheid.
Because we can no longer sense the God-core in each other, suddenly it becomes acceptable to lob bombs at each other. Verbal bombs. Emotional bombs. Physical bombs. Momma bombs.
And we even sense a separation of our truest selves. We sense that there are parts of ourselves that are as of yet unknown to us, and we are growing into it, sprouting up, claiming our self as our own. This gets easier as you get older, and harder. Easier, because you begin to lay down the pretense you’ve kept up for everyone else. Harder, because you begin to mourn all the time you wasted with the pretense.
Maturation is the slow journey back to that core self, that finding self and God and hopefully, each other. When Jesus — beautiful, beautiful Jesus — says that the truth will set us free, I picture a geyser blowing its top, the seed bursting forth from its confines, the butterfly finally emerging to spread her wings. I sense the self finally becoming, and it is always beautiful.
Lately, I have become less patient with pretense, less patient with wasted time. There is only so much time, and there is only so much me. I must make the best use of both of them. I have spent far too much time worrying about what others think. I have spent far too much time with my voice silenced, afraid to look stupid or to be judged.
But God seems to be sprouting a new branch in me. It’s a branch that reaches deep into the core where Momma God resides. It’s a branch that’s ready to reach high to the heavens where God reigns. It’s designed to open wide to the world with arms stretched side to side in welcome. It’s about grace first and foremost to myself, for once. The wide open space of grace to step fully into the being of me. It feels scary, like stepping out onto a transparent bridge over a cavernous hole. It feels dangerous, because my voice will not rest well on some ears. It feels exciting, as if I have discovered a secret gem that only I get to share with the world.
I am slowly peeling back the layers of the world. And maybe that’s what life is all about — this peeling back the physical realms to get back to that core self where communion is free and easy. Maybe the purpose of life is to finally notice the skin we’re in, starting with that skin that Jesus came in. Maybe we’re supposed to start looking at skin, and see through it, so we can get to the core inside — inside ourselves, and each other. Maybe we’re supposed to work really hard to look for the God seed in everyone, and that should be our main job.
Maybe the more skin we shed, the less bombs we’ll throw.