I’m at that point in my thesis where I am no longer interested in answering the “how is it going?” question. Neither do I wish to engage in discussions on “what happens next?” I would much rather take a pause – an extended pause… Perhaps even an indefinite pause. So that I can fix my affections to more important things like debates on social media about feminism, post-colonialism, anti-capitalism and any other –ism that ultimately will not radically alter my life, or the lives of others around me. That’s stupid. So I won’t do that… at least I won’t quit my degree to just do that…
But pausing is a good thing.
As sit I in the discomfort of Good Friday and wait for Easter, I have been encouraged. I’ve been encouraged to desist from staring intently at my navel and to question my self-righteous soap-boxing which is more often than not, narcissistic. I’m drawn to look to the complex beauty of Cross.
Last weekend, I attended an amazing hui (a conference similar to a pow-wow) with so many like-mindeds. I was in heaven. We listened, shared, wrestled, and even cried as we asked the question “what God actually want from us?” As well as the collective dialogue, we heard two intense messages from the key-note speaker – a barefoot man with dreadlocks. Ok, so he’s Justin Duckworth, the Bishop of Wellington. But that’s beside the point.
There were many things in his messages that resonated with me. However, one point that he kept going back to was the transformational power of redemptive suffering. This tied in well with a sermon I heard the next day. My vicar emphasised that Jesus horrific, violent death was the divine way, as opposed to in spite of His divinity. This was a light-bulb moment for me in two main ways. First, that Jesus death was not only an act to “save me from my sins” – the personal private, not-in-the-public-sphere sins; incredibly important as that is. Rather it is also the way in which Christ-followers should model our lives as we seek to show the world a new way. The better way. The way that brings the Kingdom to bear on the here and now.
Secondly, it was the call to shun the temptation to live a life that is self-serving, showy and lauding power over others. Instead it’s the call to live a life where we don’t play the victim and seek with reckless abandon, that which is unseen today, but will be tomorrow. The type of life that is willing to be repeatedly caught on the back-roads and along the margins, because that is where the true transformational power will be exhibited in our lives and in the life of others.
It’s scary. And difficult. But so was the Cross.
“He must increase, but I must decrease” – John 3:30
Have a blessed Easter everyone!