Dear Christians Who Write About Faith,
Please stop this endless parade of heroes and stop telling us we all have to be one. I am tired. Body, soul, and mind. And I don’t want to be a savior anymore. Stop telling me we all have to be the saviors. Don’t give me only the stories that look like do-gooding.
Don’t just tell me the story about that sacrificial single taking care of orphans.
Tell me about the orphans. And how their needs and dependence are part of the ministry, too.
Refrain from telling me again how someone’s organization is Changing The World and show me how the underprivileged are pretty cool, too. (Without condescension; have you noticed that?) If we are so poor in spirit then why are we always talking about the champions in the tale? Why must every tale include Mighty Marvels?
Maybe the appeal corresponds directly with our ability to overcome?
A hero overcomes.
What if we can’t overcome? What if we are the ones
who wait forever beside the healing pools
to be helped; to wade in? What if we have waited all our lives?
What if we are waiting still? But no, we must talk, talk,
talk about the Peter and the Paul, or the faithful martyr.
The naked man with demons? Nobody wants to see that.
Nor do we look fondly upon the Girl Who Was Dead
as one of the Top Ten of good book notables.
She was a mere recipient of a miracle. The Dependent.
Eyes on Jesus here, please. We like pizzazz. Pretty people,
miracles, romantic jobs. Everyone covets romantic jobs
and romantic job stories. I wonder from what our aversion
to mundane life stems? An unacknowledged fear, perhaps.
We did not notice nor could we see, so busy were we
doing The Lord’s Work.
The Lord's Work? Oh dear God what I would give to have a volume of Jesus’ carpenter days. Maybe a journal.
I imagine what it might say:
“Had another full day sanding for the next project. I always get to sand because Joseph says I am so thorough at making smooth the rough places. It gets a little tiresome, but I think of the beauty of all the pieces coming together into one final masterpiece. My Father chose wisely in placing me here. Still, some days I do get a little bit bored. Sometimes it feels like even my callouses hurt. There is not enough magic in my fingers to keep preserve me from this pain. I am looking forward to Sabbath. Someday, I’m going to wander the desert and bask in all that time to myself. Maybe my hands will stop aching.”
Wouldn’t that have been something? A journal of the mundane? Of Jesus doing The Lord's Work?
People, I’m tired of pretty. I’m tired of romantic. I’m tired of jobs and roles and boxes and gates.
I’m tired of all this focus on the great people building the kingdom and what a big beautiful sacrifice it is and how the unseen will one day be seen and acknowledged like all the Important Ones but not until we all reach The Other Side.
Why can’t the Important Ones see the unseen now? Why should the Important Ones only ever keep seeing and speaking about the Other Important Ones? Why the small world?
Why such focus on what we must always be doing? What of those who cannot build but only be and even just the being is a battle? Can you tell me that story? Can I see Jesus in the darkness, please? That’s where the light needs to be.
Can we bear to hear about someone’s daily, unceasing pain without thinking “boy, they sure do complain a lot. If I complained that much I’d get nothing done, either.” And all the while the story being told goes unheard, because we got bored with someone’s "whining" over their battle with illness. If a Christian in a group of Christians isn’t sure they can share one more time the same prayer request they keep bringing to the table, for fear of being a burden, or because it seems pointless to expect a response, we have failed to grasp the gospel message.
It’s not just for the heroes. It’s for the invisible, the feeble, the homeless, the naked, the prisoner, the lonely, and the underprivileged. The children. They deserve to be put in your books, too. Fair representation and equal time. Let's make it okay to be needy. Please?
Who are you writing about today?
“Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,and the rough places a plain.” Isaiah 40:4 (ESV)