So how do we become free? We’re aware of the longing to enter that vast, spacious expanse of Love where impossible is the norm and hope anchors the soul. But we get stuck here in what we already know…which doesn’t lead to anything vast.
Consider these two thoughts: As image bearers we are the object of God’s joy as a creating and redeeming God.
We are meant to regard the beautiful, and to learn a kind of improvised delight in the simple as well as the deepest matters. We learn to praise God, that everything may be received as a gift; we learn to eat and drink together in Christ, that all our meals may be holy and that we learn to be bread for others. Such a lightness of being knows how to take things seriously, but not so seriously as though we ourselves were finally in charge of the world, much less the whole creation.*
What a relief. To be able to rest in the complete rescue of God not just for myself, but my world, is to throw off the fears of “what if, if only, I can’t, and I should.” Such boldness borders on audacity and feels like we’ve stepped into irresponsibility. But we haven’t. Because we didn’t walk away from the hard or the tedious or impossible…we entrusted them to God…and then lived, deeply assured of His capacity, willingness and delight to care for us and our world.
Which takes us into the second thought: That care…that Love at the core of our Christian reality pulses with this promise, “Nothing can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus” (see Romans 8:38-39). With that as our bottom line, we’re not just free, but delighted to move towards one another. We want to link arms and hands to serve the world until Christ returns, and what is known in shadow now becomes illuminated in full Light. This is the Easter freedom which Jürgen Moltmann describes as “not permitting us to escape from the world or to forget about it” but that “both the laughter of Easter and the sorrow of the cross are alive in liberated human beings.”**
When we bring a sense of an ever-expanding appreciation for God’s never-ending gifts to each other, an intrinsic delight (not of our own making) begins to open God-spaces inside us. This is the kind of transformation for which we yearn…the capacity to be soberly serious, yet eagerly light as we engage our hearts, families, communities and the world. In other words, to live hilarious lives…gladly confident, rooted in impossible redemption, immersed in wonder, freed from preoccupation with self and reaching for the world.
Why do we settle for so little when all this is waiting for us?
ACTION: For what are you reaching today? Security…Relief…Meaning…Understanding? What kind of change does your heart yearn for? Perhaps you could pick one or two sentences or thoughts that stand out from the above and pray them to God. Pray (returning to that thought as you go about your business) until you sense that whatever work God wants to do with it is finished. Then thank Him for the work He is doing in you and rest.
*Don E. Saliers, Liturgy as Holy Play, “Weavings,” vol. ix number 6, p. 42.
**Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Play, p. 32.