If you’re a fan of this blog, you know that we who populate it with … words are not typical Christians. We’re … well, in the main, I would say, Unfundamentalist Christians. We think it’s perfectly okay to be gay; we don’t think that God is a jealous, angry butthead in the sky waiting to punish anyone who crosses him; we don’t think people go to hell for nothing more offensive than not being a Christian. (Most of us also think the whole concept of hell is just a tad extremely suspect.)
But we are Christian. I sure am, anyway. And this is Sunday. And Pastor Bob is (literally) off in the desert being inspired by God to finish his doctoral dissertation on the history of the commonalities of the conception of the oneness of God in Christianity and Islam.
So right now I’m gonna preach just a little. If you’re not Christian, and are offended by the Christian philosophy/belief system, look away! Because this definitely won’t warm your giblets.
Mmmm. Giblets. I’m hungry.
Wait. What are giblets? Maybe I’m not.
Anyway, I’ve lately been thinking about the nature of identity. And that made me think of the source of our identity. And that made me think of the relationship between our identity and God.
And that made me think that the degree to which we are happy in life is the degree to which we have our identity in God.
God knows who we are. We don’t. We can’t for beans figure out who we are. (See? Beans. I’m trying to stop cursing on this blog, so that parents won’t feel weird about sharing it with their youngens. Although, you know.) We are so complex, and reactive, and ever-changing, and have the roots of our identity so deeply intertwined with so many raggedy-ass people (sorry) who affected our lives so early on, that today we can’t tell where own roots end and theirs begin.
And look at the trees we’ve become. Branches growing everywhere. Some bearing fruit. Some rotting at the ends. Some attracting birds. Some attracting snakes. Some with leaves. Some without. Some that have leaves one moment, and the next are bare.
And all around us it’s sometimes sunny. It’s sometimes cold. Sometimes there’s a storm. Then there’s not. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it only acts like it will.
And through it all we just stand there, wondering what’s next. Wondering if anything’s growing out there on our extremities. Enjoying the songs of the birds within us. Getting all weird about the wind tickling our leaves. Wondering if we have termites. Feeling our knots. Hoping for the best. Waiting.
And all along our tree is the work of God. Bark, branches, roots and all. Everything that is our lives is created, designed, and sustained by God.
Which is unbelievable, basically. We just can’t believe it. We largely don’t believe it. The very thought of it makes us get all … judgey.
Because so much of it seems so wrong, is why.
God or not, there are worms in some of our apples! Some of our best branches seem to be withering away.
But you know what? Just for today, let’s not be afraid. For today let’s sink into the truth that virtually everything in our lives is exactly as it is because God is using it all to reveal to us, in his own way and time, the fullness of our true identity in him.
Today let’s celebrate the truth that this is God’s world—and that, forget it though we sometimes do, we’re all just squirrels playing in his vast network of branches.
image via cslacker.com