we are all cracked …

crackvase_litex3I have now been blogging for 10 years. I’ve checked and I started (again) on May 12 2004 after a few failed attempts … but SHP seems to have kept going … sometimes regularly, sometimes not, but always kept going with something.

I started this as a reflective exercise … and in the main that is what SHP still is for me … a tool for reflection and to invite reflection / comment from others. Engaging with other people and hearing of others experiences around ‘stuff’ that matters to me is and continues to be an energising and often challenging experience.  An unexpected and incredibly positive sideline is that the presence of this blog has enabled me to find new friends, some of whom I have met, and some who are encouraging and thought provoking from a distance … some even on different sides of oceans!

One such friend who I nearly met while in Yorkshire on holiday is Graham, a Methodist minister, who blogs over at Digging a Lot. His posts regularly inspire me … and today his words cause me to simply acknowledge with a slightly tearful nod of agreement. Before saying more, as Graham says, first you need to listen to this song … or at least the opening couple of minutes if Leonard Cohen is not your style ..

I seem to hang out, get on, and prefer to be with those who know they are cracked and broken. I am totally at home in one place I visit simply because the people there know they are broken. They don’t hide it, they don’t pretend but simply acknowledge it as being part of who they are. Interestingly many of these people would say that having me listening helps them personally …. but being with these broken cracked people has caused me to admit increasingly that I, too, am cracked and broken. In this particular setting, and with certain particular people that I hang out with there, this also has not been hidden and has been totally accepted. I believe honesty is kind of necessary for community to grow …

It is as if we journey together with our cracks in a brokenness that we understand, acknowledge, accept … but also hope that as we travel and encounter God in a new way .. that some form of healing or restoration will occur. BUT … and this is a BIG but … I am not sure I want my cracks to disappear completely, nor am I sure I wish to be totally restored … and maybe I don’t even believe total restoration can happen this side of eternity …because if I don’t have cracks and breaks … how do people see God shining through … and how can I ‘let the light in’? If I am restored and fixed how can I possibly relate meaningfully to broken people in a fucked up world?

To make a difference in a broken world …. I wonder …. do you first need to be broken … not broken and restored … but simply broken … aware of that brokenness … embracing it as part of life … and believing it will change … but probably not fully until Christ returns … 

A few years ago I loved this poster from Christian Aid. ‘I believe in Life before Death’ is still a mantra I hold close to in my understanding of Christianity. I don’t think ‘being broken’ means we are not living. Actually … I wonder if admitting to brokenness … and so embracing our vulnerability actually means we are then able to live a fuller life (John 10:10 and all that jazz!)

The thing about brokenness, I guess, is the healthy gritty reality that accompanies it … so thank you Graham for inspiring me today …. and I shamelessly end with your words …

often I have been in tears
overwhelmed
by the light
coming from people who say
‘I am not much
nothing special’

in my  limited experience … it is those who really are
the special, valuable, precious ones

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5 thoughts on “we are all cracked …

  1. Hi Rob,
    Found myself writing some lyrics recently. Here’s the song I ended up with. It’s called ‘Jars of Clay’. Sang it recently at church. Seems to fit with your musings …

    Jars of clay is what we are
    Fragile, cracked and broken
    Imperfect vessels of Your love
    Imperfection with treasures within

    Chorus
    Let my boast be of my weaknesses
    So that your power may rest on me
    Let my delight be in my struggles
    So that your power may rest on me
    Your grace is sufficient for me
    Your grace is sufficient for me

    Jars of clay is what we are
    Damaged, vulnerable and needy
    Weakness called to witness
    Earthen vessels in which you shine

    Jars of clay is what we are
    How we need to accept that truth
    To relinquish the crowns we cling to
    So Your love and power may be clearly seen

    Bridge
    In my weakness Your glory is revealed
    A blank canvass that displays Your strength
    Let my weakness reveal your glory
    As you turn it to strength, reveal your splendour

    Jim

  2. I am indeed very cracked….but not broken as I have your..not so Holy.. but equally as loving Brother caring for me{)

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