How It Came to This

You look around - pictures strewn on the floor, hairline cracks spider menacingly from the corners of glass set in frames. The protective barrier between printed memories and aspirating reality is not nearly as strong as you might imagine. The feeling in the house is strain - pure, stressful, hanging like old food in the air and requesting that you pay attention. I'm here. I'm staying. Put on a candle, spray something, light a match and I'm not going away.

He wasn't always this way.

..stomping and slamming.

I wasn't always this way.

...screaming and wagering.

How did it come to this?

In such a vivid example, it's simple to get lost in the grandeur - the drama. However, we have these moments in a garden-variety sense every day.

We have something, rather than something else, but at one point we had that something else and then we ask -

How did it come to this?

We're devoid of friendships because we all grew apart, we had that one thing happen, things changed, she got married, he got divorced, on and on. How did it come to this? 

We hear phrases fly from our mouths that years before we would have decried as the lowest point a human being could achieve and now they are the very cry of our heart. How did it come to this?

We find our beliefs, much like the pictures above, scattered across the floor and what used to be solid ground is now shifting or has completely fallen away. And if it happens to be a new solid piece of earth, it's unfamiliar and seems too different for our soft soles to touch. How did it come to this?

In a culture that prizes law over wisdom - yes, even the Christian culture - we are constantly looking for what we can and cannot do because it makes things easier. It makes it easier to figure out who is with us and who is against us. It makes it easier to rate our day on a scale of 1 to 5 (well, the anger today was in the 2 range, so I'm going to turn off the divine wrath radar for today) and it makes it easier to read sacred texts that challenge our assumptions because then we can simply find the legality and push ourselves to believe it.

Then, in a stunning reversal, life happens. The law stops short, here and there, leaving cliff-like gaps between belief and action that take the very breath - the very pneuma out of our lungs.

Law says what you can or can't do. Wisdom says what you should or shouldn't do. We get stuck in the first and the wheels begin to come off. How did it come to this? 

Law doesn't keep our relationships together.

Law doesn't save our marriage.

Law doesn't help us know what to do when we feel different when we feel for God.

How did it come to this?

It came because we lost our curiosity.

We became so intent on gaining all the answers Jesus could muster that we missed the questions that He so generously shared.

We set our minds on obedience, so much so that we missed the blatant space to play that comes when we are at work in the Kingdom that is breaking through - breaking down - breaking out of constraints and limitations.

We stopped asking. We stopped dreaming. We stopped loving without being forced. We stopped thinking that the Kingdom was still full of possibilities, and instead filled it ourselves with propositions.

How did it come to this?

Slowly, and in many ways with our full approval. Lord Have Mercy, Christ Have Mercy on us. We want the fantasy of a perfect law, but we need the reality of a hearty holy wisdom. Help us to know the difference.