Saturday, March 31, 2007

love grieves and waits

Life is so relational. This at the base begins in God and what theologians call the perichoretic union of God as in the harmonious dance in love of the Trinity. Then God creates humankind in his very image, so that we are too, at heart, relational beings. We relate to God and to each other.

The problem comes from the Fall and humanity's descent away from the call of God to relationship. Due to sin, all our relationships are affected with a brokenness that makes full communion challenging at times, and for some all the time and maybe ever falling short now of the communion in relationship we're made for to be realized in Christ.

I think of difficulties in families, in churches, among Christians, in workplaces, neighborhoods, all over. We can develop a kind of friendship or fellowship with someone, or a longing to do so and have that broken or unrealized for numerous reasons. Part of the problem can lie in ourselves as much as we want to reach out in love to another. And other parts lie in all kinds of factors: misunderstanding, priorities, disagreements, carcicatures of one another or of ourselves. How many times when I've felt down have I reverted to calling myself a name or describing myself in a way that I would not wisely do in public.

Love grieves and waits. It waits above all for God's intervention. God, who has moved in love through his Son and by the Spirit, we know on that basis will continue to act on the grounds of what he has done and accomplished in Christ. So we wait, knowing he is faithful to change us first and to change another as he sees fit. We wait for restoration and reconciliation.

It doesn't matter whether or not we like someone. Someday we will. Why? Because God made all things good and in Christ he is remaking all things and all who are in Christ. We need to reach out at least in hope and prayer as to what God can do in ourselves and in that other who may or may not be alienated from God. Is he able to make all things new, including the longning for relationship with that other that is in our hearts? Yes, of course.

And I can grieve when I don't seem to care anymore about a broken relationship, that God would renew my hope and faltering steps to both pray and to reach out in love. After all we know in the end that it is God who can take us both in into the joy of the perichoretic dance of love that is at the heart of who he is, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This will ordinarily happen in humble human ways, but isn't that what God is all about? He became human so that we might become one together with him. And it is to begin now, grounded in our relationship to God in Christ.

Let's therefore not give up. Let's reach out in love, and especially in hope and prayer to God. Someday we'll fully be realizing the love and potential that relationship brings, together in our God. But through Christ that can begin now.

What thoughts or experience would you like to share concerning relationships that you struggle with, long to see or enjoy?


Llama Momma said...

"Love grieves and waits." Yes. This resonates with me today. This morning, a strained phone conversation with my dad, who has just married someone who seems to hate me, even though she doesn't know me. And then another conversation this afternoon with my mom, who is in the hospital *again.* After listening for twently minutes about her current treatments, she asked about me. Given her mental illness, just the fact that she asked is a gift. But when I began to talk, to share funny stories about her grandkids, she hung up. It was too much, I suppose.

And so I grieve and wait. I grieve that at 34, I have no parents, even though they're both living. I wait for reconciliation with my dad. I hope for heaven for my Mom, and a chance to really know her, without illness.

And I rejoice in the family God has given to me. A husband and three precious boys. This is my moment, my chance to be a part of a *real* family. No small gift.

Ted Gossard said...

Llama Momma, Thanks so much for sharing that. It's wonderful that God has given you a family to live in love with. I know in my own life God has done great things over time; it seems to have taken a long time but it's now so different.

Hopefully through prayer and the love in your family as well as in you, from God, there can be restoration and reconciliation, communion with your parents. We can't give up, though I'm sure I have along the way.

Your thoughts remind me of what Joseph went through: different, yet similar.

Llama Momma said...

Thank you, Ted.

To grieve and yet have hope; to grieve and not be consumed by it -- these are my goals.

God is good.

Motu said...

I find much strength in solitude. For much of my life, I've shunned close friendships. Yet, as you put it, "Life is so relational." As I've grown and matured, after getting married and having 2 small kids and solitude goes out the window, I'm beginning to see the value of having relationships (funny, I just posted on the importance of friendship before I read this post). Not only in what I can receive from others, but more importantly what I can give to others. And one of the things I can give is the acceptance of other's imperfections, knowing full well that I too am flawed. We might grieve at the imperfections, but love will help us wait. Because in wait we will find grace and mercy at work in others and in ourselves. Perhaps this is the harmonious dance of love we all need to join . Thanks for a great post Ted.

Ted Gossard said...

Monica, Thanks, and thanks for sharing your own experience and thoughts.

I too like solitude though I find that I like company now more than before. I need both.

Accepting one another as Christ accepts us because of his coming and special work for us we're now remembering, is helpful and hopeful. You said it well.

I look forward to reading your post. I happen to have a full day today, so may not be online until much later.