For Advent this year, I’ve decided to read John Pavlovitiz’s devotional, LOW. These are my musings:
Intersections. So much happens in the space where two things or people meet, right?
When I think about how my life and story has changed simply because of the people I’ve encountered and the relationships that have been born from those encounters, I’m astonished. I’ve crossed paths with many in my 44 years. Some I don’t remember at all and some, I could never forget. By bringing my story to theirs, we were/are able to write something for our lives that would never have existed had we not met. Even the bad relationships…the boyfriend who was verbally and emotionally abusive or the person I met because we shared the same pain and grief…each of these relationships have informed the person I’ve become. And sometimes I’ve found that the story written when I crossed paths with someone at 22 is not the story that would have been written had I crossed paths with that person at 33. I am not the same person. They aren’t the same person. Both of us have been shaped by every other encounter we had before and therefore are different people.
But just like the biblical records of the woman at the well or the leper on the edges of the crowd or the regular schmegular first century fisher dudes drawn to this itinerant rabbi, the greatest encounter of my life has been with Jesus. Please be clear: I’m not talking about church. Church is an entirely different intersection for me. An entirely separate story has been written in my life when it comes to the institutional church. But meeting Jesus? Yep, totally transformative. There were multiple encounters actually. The first at 11 as a tiny light of hope and safety filled the cracks of my broken and traumatized heart. And later at 31 when that still, quiet, whisper in my soul wrapped me up in comfort as I laid on my couch in West Philly feeling like I was going to fall off the edge of my life. No manner of rigorous intellectual unearthing of theological inconsistencies and no manner of despair at how much of a dumpster fire this world has become can shake those meetings from my soul’s memory.
It’s something I continue to chase and probably always will.
I think that as we grow and evolve, if willing, we will meet Jesus anew in each season of our lives. The form the Christ chooses to take is ever changing and our salvation—that thing we are working out on the daily—looks different depending on the work we have or have not done to heal. We conspire with Christ. We co-labor with Jesus. For our betterment, yes, but also for the betterment of our communities. Which Jesus we get to meet deeply depends on who we are in that season. The miracle baby Jesus that brings divinity to earth? Maybe. The purpose-driven tween Jesus teaching in the Temple? Possibly. The steal away into the mountains for rest and restoration Jesus? Sure. The table toppling, righteously angry Jesus? Bet. The meet you on the road of Damascus Jesus? Okay.
I too am wondering which Jesus I will meet as a new decade begins. What will this new intersection look like as I deal with life’s transitions?
Whichever Jesus it is, please come.