My friend Jim always says it’s through the cracks that the light shines the brightest.
You know, it’s through the cracked and imperfect, even falling-apart places of our lives where we are finally vulnerable enough to see the light of Christ tenaciously working its way straight through the parts that are broken to make the most beautiful kaleidoscope of God’s imprint right there in the middle of the chaos . . . ?
Recently our community has been dealing with some sad news, the kind of news that makes you wish for miraculous powers and exclaim in frustration that there’s no manual for walking through these sorts of things. It’s one of those times when the pretty façade of churchy life is cracked on the edge of the kitchen table of real life and the fissures sneak their way down the sides . . . when smiling faces and nicely dressed people and happy singing is not what it’s all about anymore.
The fact of the matter is: it’s hard to see people you love in grief; it’s hard to know what to do; it’s hard to feel so vulnerable yourself, as a matter of fact.
And, it’s oh-so-beautiful, can I tell you? Streaming in through the cracks of everything we thought we had to be for each other is the breathtakingly beautiful pattern of shared pain, offered presence, and God . . . always, God.
Calvary’s associate pastor’s wife is sick, really sick. And, upon hearing this devastating news I could never have imagined what kind of light that has begun to shine around here. It’s the best kind . . . the very kind, in fact, that you hope for all the time in God’s family: meals and telephone calls, visits and childcare respite; legal advice and professional networking; folks who eschew hospitals at all costs paying awkward visits anyway . . . tear-filled emails wishing the news was better and children creating the most beautiful, happy art to tack up on the hospital walls . . . adult children climbing into bed and people stroking hair and families of hospital suitemates pulling up chairs, just to hear the music rising from room 536: “Lord, you have come to the seashore, neither searching for the rich nor the wise, desiring only that I should follow. O, Lord, with your eyes set upon me, gently smiling, you have spoken my name; all I longed for I have found by the water, at your side, I will seek other shores.”
It’s all just like my friend Jim said. Through the cracks of grief and despair and resignation shine . . . love, peace, support, community . . . shine: Jesus himself.
It’s in these holy moments, I think for sure, that the church is really and fully the church. When people gather around bedsides and summon remote musical talents and cook and call and love and love and love. Finally . . . Gospel living breaks through our protective shells and shines such a light . . . such a light that makes all of us suddenly and amazingly realize: we are Gospel people, called to face the challenges of life with the courage of the Christ we claim to follow.
It seems, in this community right now, that this is happening all over the place. Love everywhere, and in it’s wake . . . the light, shining down in varying values, shedding shadows and illumination all over our lives as individuals Jesus followers and as a community trying the best we can to live the Gospel . . . shining down through the cracks.
Thank you, Jesus, for light that shines . . . even through the cracks.
Especially through the cracks.