Posts Tagged ‘reality’

There isn’t much better, in my far from humble opinion, to do with your time than go to L’abri. That’s pretty much all I have to say. Really. But if you need some reasons…

It’s a place to go and ask honest questions of life the universe and everything, a place to discover answers and discover that the answers you had might need rethinking. It’s a place to live in community, to work, to wash dishes, to clean and cook, it’s a place to drink copious amounts of tea and play speed scrabble in the breaks, it’s a place to delve into the tape collection like a child in a sweet shop.  It’s a place to talk, to discuss, to listen and be listened to, it’s a place to stop and think, a place to breathe and realise that God is way way way bigger than you give him credit for.  It’s a place to put down the things you carry and see what is worth picking up again, it’s a place to explore the wealth of space between the question and the answer, it’s a place to ponder the nature of reality and discover all our expert ways at hiding from reality. 

I’ve spent the last 3 days there, and although that’s far from enough, it was enough to stop and breathe again, to stop and remember that God is. It was enough to be reminded that reality is to be lived in, not hidden from. Enough to remind me that God is real, that I love pondering the questions of life, and that I am more broken and messed up than I like to admit. 

It’s not an easy place to go to, one of the things I love and hate about the place is that there aren’t many ‘mountain top’ moments, I don’t generally go and have uber experiential mystic moments with God, but in the breathing, eating, washing up, falling asleep listening to tapes moments I discover that God is in this mundane, in the ordinary, and so he is in the ordinary of all of life. This is no place to escape reality but a place that makes living in reality all the more possible. 

So, next time you’re wondering what to do with a weekend, or a week off, book in. 

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One of the things to swirl around my brain at the weekend was the genius nature of actual gospel friendship. That sounds like a very jargonified thing. But, what I mean by that is friendship that is based on the fundamental unvarnished truth about each other. Friendship that allows for each other to mess up in the most unbelieveably stupid and sinful ways and still says, I’m for you, and I believe in the power of God to bring good and redeem even this mess of a situation.

This is friendship that goes beyond our illusions of perfect lives that we like to try and maintain, and even goes beyond our acceptable sins, right down to the core of the stinking mess that we like to hide from everyone, including ourselves. For someone to see this mess, and then to not turn away horrified but to continue to love and hold out the message of hope is what the reality of the gospel brings in our lives. We have a God who called us when we were his enemies, and who knows the real state of our hearts, and yet still lavishes his love on us. Our friendships need to reflect this.

Too often I live to impress and think that if I impress enough people with my growth and improvement I’ll have made it. The truth is that I am still a sinner. I still get it wrong, and I seem to find ever more twisted ways of rejecting my Maker. The way of living that lives to impress only serves to keep me living in illusion, I then must do all I can do maintain that illusion and so my soul shrivels. The kind of friendship that sees the flaws, the pride, the mess within and carries on loving and is committed to real change is so breath takingly freeing. We can then be free to be our messed up selves with no illusions, and free to face the reality of grace committed to us whatever. I count myself honoured to have seen that kind of friendship on display through the Relay programe, in the lives of Andy Shudall, Nigel Pollock, Marcus Honeysett and more. Hearing them talk about times when they’ve rebuked each other, and been rebuked by others and seeing that wasn’t the end of the friendship or their story in life and ministry is brilliantly encouraging.

This kind of friendship involves trust, exposure, reality and awareness that we are works in progress, sadly it’s always more surprising to me than others when I discover my sin, but to have people around who know the truth and still offer grace, mercy and love is the best way to reflect the character of our most loving Father.

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