CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©
It’s important for a new pastor to get to know all our church members as soon as possible, and older folks are easier to find, so they are usually the ones we get to know first. So I called on an older lady, a bit older than I am now, when I arrived at a new church. She was a recent widow and told me of how helpful her daughter, her only child, had been to her in her newly-widowed period. “But you never know how a child will finally turn out,” she said, shaking her head a bit.
I later learned that the daughter was 53 years old and a professor. But her mother wasn’t sure how she would turn out! [I understand that better now that my children are that age.]
I suspect that God is looking at me in my dotage and saying, “I’m not sure how he will turn out.” Because God does not practice safe love.
Jesus says, “Be perfect, even as your heavenly father is perfect.” [Mt 5:48] God is not perfect as measured against some outside standard of moral or intellectual perfection. God IS the standard by which perfection is measured. Whatever God is, that is perfection. God is perfect because God is always true to the divine identity.
Perfection is a matter of being true to one’s own identity. We are human beings. We are perfect when we are totally true to that identity. When we are imperfect is when we act like animals, or parasites, or posts [“dumb as a post”], or when we act like God, trying to play God for others or the world or ourselves. As Luther said, “Let God be God.”
Parenthood is risky. God has been raising us up for billions of years, and is not sure how we’ll turn out. God could have taken the safe route, not “wasted” those billions of years of nurturing, of bringing us along, but that’s not true to the divine identity. Risk-taking love is true to the nature of the divine identity. And even though it means God doesn’t know how we’ll turn out, God still loves us enough to give that choice to us. That is part of God’s perfection. I’m still working on my perfection, but with the faith that God will stick with me all the way as I try to be true to my real identity as God’s child. God and I are both waiting to see how I’ll finally turn out.
John Robert McFarland
The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.]
I tweet as yooper1721.