I interrupt my regularly scheduled blog silence to send you over to A Deeper Church on this fine New Year’s Eve. I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday. Enjoy your New Year, eat your black eyed peas, and I’ll see you later on this week…
I’ve been reading the same novel for way too many months. Kristin Lavransdatter is a sweeping epic of a novel: one woman’s life in 14th century Norway, from girlhood to death. Ultimately it’s the story of how the main character’s one tragic decision as a sixteen-year-old leads to a life of broken relationships (with her parents, her husband, her future children) and to great loss.
It’s also the story of how it doesn’t seem possible that the main character could ever have chosen otherwise. Her passion was too strong. Could she ever have made a better choice? And if she had, could she really have been happier?
I’m finally nearing the end of the 1168 pages. And I’m overwhelmed by its lack of redemption (at least at this point). Where is the mercy? Kristin Lavransdatter has been striving her whole life to undo the decision she made as a young woman. But she can’t. Her life has too many layers. When our sin braids itself into the lives of our children, the futures of our marriages, the history we share with our parents, the judgment of our community, we cannot rescue ourselves and we certainly can’t rescue those who have been shaped by our failed choices.
In order for redemption to be real, it has to be cosmic. It has to happen both inside and outside ourselves. And true personal redemption is always communal as well. It has to weave itself through my spirit and also through the spirits of those I’ve hurt.
And if we believe in Jesus, we believe that somehow that great cosmic redemption happens (is happening still…) on the cross. What in the world does that mean?
We all need story to teach us about grace…