With all that's going on with everyone looking for work, finding the best deals, hearing the latest blame game on the news and keeping up with the latest entertainment releases, it can be easy to totally miss the bigger questions in life that are actually the important ones. What kind of politics do we want? What would make things better? Or, bigger than that, what am I living for?
This is one reason I like poetry which, in a few phrases, can provoke and suggest big things for us to ponder on. Here's a poem I wrote today:
A watch in my pocket-
A tension or two-
Elaborate curving traffic queue
A stifle and a shout-
Lions running free-
Huge encouragement to turn about
Too far to travel-
High ends and aims-
Categorizing nameless days
What's in it for me-
Affection seizes up all my duty
Washing hangs up-
Curtains tear apart-
The feeling of being plunged in light.
This is a poem basically about getting things wrong in the Christian life, and is at least partly inspired by some ideas I've been hearing about about what it really means to be united to Jesus. But I didn't want it to sound too religion-y either. It reflects more on our frustrations and sense of ambition in religion, which really show we are (most likely) failing to start at the most central part of Christianity - seeing Jesus in his glorious goodness, his power and his saving grace, and having our hearts changed in love towards Him.
Incredibly, believers and followers of Jesus are given a totally new status in Jesus, one we don't earn, or try to conjure up from our own effort. We are forgiven, made right with God, as a gift of God's loving kindness. We only must receive this gift, to be able to stand secure and right before Him, in Him, with Him. How great is this! As one speaker puts it - "Getting this gives massive happy boldness to the believer. And it removes the terror and the religiosity of a false gospel".
As Martin Luther put it:
"When the devil throws our sins up at us and says we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: I admit that I deserve death and hell – what of it? Does that mean I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means! For I know one who has suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf – his name is Jesus Christ the Son of God. Where he is I shall be also."
Both quotes came from the first of these helpful talks from the always-passionate UCCF worker Mike Reeves.