The beauty of paradox...

As this day comes to a close I am caught up - once again - in the beauty of living this paradoxical faith. Deep within my soul I am at peace - filled with a sense of God's grace and presence - and at the same time I am broken hearted over the needless suffering so many must endure - often as the result of those acting in God's name. In fact, with the risk of sounding totally weirded-out, it is as if there are two video clips playing in alternating currents in my heart.

Brian McLaren gets it so right in this first clip; so much of my religious tradition is about maintaining useless, cumbersome and even mean-spirited elements of the status quo: homophobia, fear, hatred and pettiness. As he notes, while over half of creation claims to love and serve the same God - Christianity, Islam and Judaism - we spend most of our time arguing over the details and causing one another harm rather than opening our hearts towards compassion. It is truly heart-breaking.

And - and this is what blows my mind more and more - at the very same time I find myself challenging the narrowness of such religion, I am also overwhelmed by God's incredible generosity and tenderness. Like Luka Bloom, I find myself singing: "I'm happy man in the world."

Tonight's prayers end with these words: May Christ who calls you to take up your cross, give you strength to bear your own and one another's burdens... Christ give us grace to grow in honest humility, embracing the humanity of all of us so that we might enter into the blessing of God - Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer - now always. Amen.


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