So I was pondering lately several things.
Thing one: Sleep is one of those blessings that hurts when you don’t get it. I went to church after far less sleep than was pleasant on Saturday night and fell asleep. In church. I go to a small church. There are about 30 people there. I was nodding off during the sermon. It was embarrassing. Then I went to church again in Burlington at a place called Tierra Nueva. It was pretty sick and they had a bilingual service and make a real effort to work in the community in Skagit Valley with migrant workers. The thing was…I fell asleep again! Frick. Then I also failed to go to bed early enough.
Monday was a giant mess. I went to class, then I went to the library to work on homework. I was tired still, hungry, doing way too much homework, and just generally pissed off. The night got better, but part of that included me going to bed early.
Tuesday I woke up at 6:30 and went to bed at 3:30AM. I got home from a busy day and small group and realized that I didn’t have my keys. As such someone I know was awoken to let me in. I felt quite the chump. In spite of all this, things are going quite well really. Let me tell you why.
I had this lovely moment in the library yesterday. I spent 6 hours in the library doing homework for my gospels class. I was actually enjoying the time I spent that I will never get back in the “whimsy-killing” (thanks to Lindsey Goff) location that is the library. I was looking at parallel gospels and looking up words like “law” in bible dictionaries and in spite of my own extreme dislike for tedious attention to detail sorts of assignments, I loved it. I still disliked it at the same time. That was just one of those weird things. The word of God is sweet like honey, but at times tedious like paperwork in the midst of its sweetness. Who knew?
The other thing that has been great has been the people I have spent time with. I am beginning to realize (and I usually do all my realizing after things), that I have some great friends. I have people in my life who will gladly get up at 3:30AM to let me in to the house and are chipper about it, I have friends who will have dinner with me randomly, I have friends who give me advice about relationships and life in general, I have friends who are okay with me being open with how I feel about how things have been going, I have friends who I stay up with until 3:30AM and like it (them and the time with them, not the staying up late). I can’t be whiny with people like this around. Really though I am blessed by God with great friends. Really. I mean you.
The last great thing has been this moment I had regarding grace. Most people seem to figure out simple, yet profound truths in a moment. I, however; am the one who needs to figure out that in baseball you are supposed to swing AT THE BALL, not just swing in general. I’m serious. I say this because what I might be writing could be something about which you could say “oh yeah, I know that.” and you might be one of those people who give me the “don’t you know that yet?” look. Well, no. I don’t. So here:
There’s a verse in the bible, I think it is galatians, where Paul says “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.” I thought about that. This is grace. Grace sets us free. Jesus sets us free to be free. That might seem redundant, but look at the way we live. We (as in Christians) are free from sin, we are free from it to live into the reality that God has for us. The ability is there for us to live as though we didn’t have to sin, because we don’t anymore. It’s not somekind of “I will crush you if you don’t live like this!” sort of freedom, we are free to pursue real freedom. That is obedience to God. I guess that might seem simple to you, but how do you live? Do you live like you are free? I don’t think I do most of the time.
However, when we think about jail and being freed from it we ought to think about the fact that the prison system builds a mentality in people. It builds this idea that you are in jail, you’re stuck there, and you’d better not expect anything to change. However, when people get into real life from jail everything is different. They are free to live into real society. Yet, it’s a process. You don’t forget however many years of jail all at once because you’re free, you have to work through the mentality and be socialized to be a part of real out-of-jail people again. That reminds me of Jesus and our situation. We are in this place where sin holds us no longer, death’s power is rendered stupid, and the glory of a relationship with the Living God is our reality…but we (me too!) don’t live that way. It’s as though we are free from jail, dressed in a suit and tie, standing in a park, and rubbing our hands as if they were still in handcuffs while looking around accusingly at the trees and sun as if they were really concrete walls and guards.
We’re free. That’s one of the wonderful things about grace, about the love of God for us. We’re free to participate in the thing that we were born to participate in without guilt regarding our failures. We are free to have an imperfect relationship with God that strives towards perfection. We’re out of jail. The next thing is live into becoming fully human.