Note to the son 3:

He couldn’t look me in the eye. I couldn’t hold this gaze much longer either, the tears were slowly welling and I didn’t want him to see me cry: I didn’t want him to think me weak.

[What is weakness but strength hidden,
what are damned tears and a stern face
if not markers of fear victorious
flags at the feet of mountains
and courage lost…
and courage lost.]

He only ever cried once when I was around. That was a while ago, nearly a decade. Time has made me unsure of the honesty in the droplets he slowly wiped with his handkerchief, folded into a perfect square.

[These ‘spots of time’ like brushstrokes loose their paint the further they stretch,
colour rages against the canvas, the canvas wins – unless the painter dabs once more.
But some streaks are seared, from the furnace to the mind they are etched
and like the wounds they are, remembered they are ever sore.
And scarred ….
And scarred…
And maybe sacred.]

Shame had brought us here. The same that made me quiver when I thought of how I might end up opposite you. Just as he does opposite me. Afraid to become a composite I had lived up to my name – his name. IF we end up here I hope you’d not hide as I did.

And thus we stood in silence. The words like a torrent had flown out and filtered downstream. Wetting the hard stones on their way to the plains. Forgotten until our descent.

[… and like wounds they were, remembered ever sore.
and ever sacred…
never sacred…
always scared like courage lost…
and no more…
no more.]

“Yet to those who believed”… Help my unbelief.

© Denis Adide 2013

38da5-fatherholdingbabieshand

Broken to be shared

 

The sun beat thorough the windscreen keeping me awake while I waited in the parked car for the school bell to ring. I work with Children and had to supervise this particular child’s contact with his brother. On the radio, the last minutes of the Radio play ended followed by the news. Most of what was being reported was innocuous and breezed from ear to ear without registering. This until the story I will focus on for this rant-ish.

Two clergymen were arrested for allegedly assaulting a series of young men. I turned the radio off. Tears rolled down my cheeks.

Context

I had just come back from a weekend away ‘Exploring the call of God’. There had been teaching on ‘calling’ – that deep sense of a specific direction within which to pour our passion. Mine felt like it was to be in the church, working towards healing and reconciliation by building gracious communities.

The tears fell because I knew that dysfunctionality wasn’t something that few suffered. Something only experienced by the impoverished. It is, in fact, something that everyone must deal with. The bible says that ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God’. There are no exemptions made for neither pope nor murderer. We all bear the scars of sin and sinfullness and are all in fact working out our salvation in attempting to lean on the Grace of God through Jesus.

The tears fell because I not only empathised with the young men who were allegedly assaulted, but also felt a deep sense of sorrow for the clergymen. We are all victims of sin. It wasn’t into a glowing beacon of perfection that I was being called to serve, it rather was, and is a collection of Fallible men whose hearts are directed toward good.

Depth

Jesus took the bread, and broke it. If he didn’t break it, it wouldn’t be shared. Here we see the Son of Man, who yielded himself to being broken: the bread of life, exemplifying the heart of God while teaching the solution to the human problem. None of us are whole. The more we attempt to deceive ourselves and others into believing that we are whole, the more we break them. When we do not accept out brokenness and share our pieces, we break others by taking from them. The opposite to service is abuse.

For a Christian, the core is Christ. So unless you break and share, you keep Christ hidden within and stifle light from shining, not only into your life, but into the life of others. It’s like putting a cup over a candle, with no oxygen to burn, the candle dies out. Do not harden your heart, be bold, be strong, be free and vulnerable, let Christ out and watch him pour in.

For the Church as an institution, accountability is key. What price is being paid for the lack of accountability between these two men and their fellows. Being called to serve is being called to break even further. To open your hands, and heart, and mind to those you serve. Knowing our weaknesses, and having them known, helps protect the vulnerable world we work with, but also us from temptations that the world presents. Acting out of fear, folds away the hands of love.

Confess your faults to one another, and pray for each other that you may be healed

James 5:16

I shed tears because I knew that the story would be told every half hour for the next day, portraying the church as an unsafe place and tarnishing the good work of many great friends: fathers, daughters, sons and sisters to whom the call to serve is received. It is for these, equally broken but diligent in love, servants that I wept, praying all the while that their work would not be stifled or undermined.

I wiped my cheeks with a growing determination and a prayer for continued humility within me. For that hope in Love to increase so that when the time did come – if God willed it – I wouldn’t shudder and hide.

Healing

The church is imperfect. It has imperfect people within it. It needs your accountability – so ask questions of it. It needs your input – so ask how you can help. Most of all it needs the same forgiveness it preaches. These three things will ensure it continues well in its work of healing, one person at a time.