Christ is compassion
This world is broken and at times that crashes into my life.
In those moments what I need isn't so much an answer as someone who will be there. Christ is not God at a distance, he's God come near to me.
In the pain I'm often numb. It's hard enough to just carry on.
True words are true in these situations but are the things I probably needed to hear and believe before rather than in the middle of the situation.
It is not good to be alone and life's most painful moments are compounded by isolation. I need practical care in the moment - compassion.
He's the one who cares. He weeps with me. He listens. He dwells. He is here. And very often my experience of him is my experience of the Christ-ian who represents him to me by being there.
In time, I may be ready to take a step forward and grow. In this, he who is with me is not silent.
Christ is comfortable
Sometimes in the brokenness of this world I'm longing for something good but I've looked in the wrong place. I want good for my child who is sick and so does Christ though his comfort may not be exactly what I want it to be. Nonetheless all the good desire I have is fulfilled in Christ. In his gospel he speaks '"the comfortable words" (see the Church of England Liturgy) that I truly need though I may not see clearly.
I need Christ-ians to represent Christ to me as the comfort I need, as the one to whom my desires point. One who stands outside of me can help me pursue what is good in Christ rather than in other places. People who can help me to identify my right desire and wrong action, and what those desires are truly made for.
He does not bruise the broken reed.
Christ is confrontational
Comfort alone is insufficent. Sometimes what I want is wrong, it would damage me and/or others, and it conflicts with Christ, setting me against him. In these times he confronts me and calls me to die to myself. The things I'm not prepared to let go are my gods, my idols. We set ourselves up against the LORD and his Christ considering his bonds of kindness to be oppression (Psalm 2) with deathly effects.
I need Christ-ians to represent Christ to me as the confrontation of all that is "not the way its supposed to be" (Neal Plantinga). One who stands outside of me can help me pursue what is good rather than what is bad. People who can help me to identify my wrong desires, recognise this and return to Christ.
Christ is cornerstone
When all is said and done, there is only one upon whom I can build life, there is one to repent to: Christ. And as I walk through life I will either build on him and flourish, or stumble over him to my loss. My daily diet must be to return again to him.
Left to myself: I doubt him. I disbelieve him. I deny him.
And, I need Christ-ians to represent Christ to me as the only good cornerstone. One who stand outside of me can direct me to the life that is found outside of me: he who is all compassion, who is comfort, who confronts, and who is all of these and more.
Image: Creative Commons: aehdeschaine