My friend Neil sent me these wonderful words and kindly agreed for me to be able to post them here...
It's a question of altitude...
"Why is it that I set out to be as Christ-like as I can but at some tipping point, not one particular thing but one of any number of things, such as impatience whilst driving, envy over money or material possessions, lustful thoughts, whatever…. I find myself on the imperceptible but inevitable gravitational pull away from Christ towards the sludge of everyday living.
It’s like when you fly and you get above the clouds, it always amazes me that up there, there is always a beautiful day, golden sunshine and clear blue skies.
Maybe because I fly quite a bit, that’s how I’ve come to see my Christian life. Striving for the altitudes of a better way of life, where the view is better andthe horizon seems reachable; but at the same time believing the scientific notion of “what goes up must come down” I realise that I can’t stay up there indefinitely. So sooner or later I start to descend, my perspective becomes more macro, time seems shorter and regular life takes over as I land.
Some day’s that alternative way of life becomes totally obscured, by a blanket of misperceptions and earthly interference; and I forget about the sun and the blue, I just get stuck in the grey and the overcast. I want to stay up “there” but all my worldly reasoning tells me that this isn’t possible.
But then again God isn’t bound by our small and limited views, so just may be there is hope after all."
Neil's words reminded me of one of my favourite verses in the bible:
"God lives forever and is holy.
He is high and lifted up.
He says, "I live in a high and holy place,
but I also live with people who are sad and humble.
I give new life to those who are humble
and to those whose hearts are broken."
The idea behind that verse that the Father is not a distant God, that he inhabits the highest place because he also has indwells in the lowest of the low places as well.
That Jesus knows the splendour of the Godhead and also what it is to be born human, into a backwater country, to be hated, a refugee and then a rebel, hunted and haunted, despised and forsaken, bloody and broken - he too has been lifted up, in abandoment and in triumph.
The spirit indwells us and teaches us to fly, to rediscover our humanity and the endless horizons of a world of love, justice, peace and plenty... but that same spirit comforts us when we crash and our crushed.
Is it a question of altitude or attitude or both? That our christian faith is about living and walking in the high places and the low places, through the suffering and the glory - and the bit in between the ordinary rising or falling. Or is that just flying?
What do you think/feel as you read Neil's words..?