Archives, Biography, Pondering, Wheaton

If Christ Never Came

Last week I came across a comment from Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemman that found an uncomfortable echo in my own soul. “We live as if Christ never came. This is the only real sin, the sin of all sins, the bottomless sadness and tragedy of our nominal Christianity” (Great Lent).

Several of my recent blogs have been about preparing a house to sell. I wrestle with the pragmatic need to work with a realtor as though the selling of our house depends on us, even as a quieter, steadier voice says, “Carla, the Lord is orchestrating your move to Florida with meticulous care. Why would He back off now?” So I do what the realtor tells me to do, and pray that Lord will bring the right buyer through whatever channel he chooses at the right time, for the right price.

But even as I pray I fight the ugly drone of the cultural secularism that infects my soul. This distracting hum draws me away from centered peace and into the “sadness and tragedy” of our day. And, of course, fears lie within as much as unbelief lurks without. So here are some meditations on truth that rise from grace outpoured in this moment as I fight against the lie that I live incarnation-less in the midst of my very human struggle with transition:

  • If Christ never came, we would not know how much God rejoices in the stuff of human life: neighbors, close friends, children, celebratory meals, star-studded nights, sunrises, the awakening of spring signaled by the robins hopping around my patio, and the simple (but oh, not random) acts of loving others…and being loved by others.

  • If Christ never came, I would have no confidence that God understood the value human beings place on home–so much so that Jesus’ last teaching comforts his disciples with a vision of the permanent home reserved for them in heaven, even as he assures them that their very lives are a home inhabited by Jesus and his Father as they wait (John 14:2-3,23).

  • If Christ never came, there would not be a man at the right hand of the Father interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25). “Father, see through me to the Watermans. In your perfect timing you decided this was the moment to move them to Orlando. You see how many factors need to be orchestrated that only we can do. Glorify your name in completing this step of the work you began in them so very long ago.”

  • If Christ never came, there would not be penetrating promises and dramatic demonstrations of powerful peace. Storms on lakes and in hearts will instinctively elicit doubts and fears, but, since Jesus is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), he really does give peace the world cannot give (John 14:27).

Christ has come. He understands transitions, and the longing to be through what he cannot avoid, and pressing into the race set before him. And since Jesus has come and lived as one of us, I can live into the peaceful intentionality of one strengthened to follow Him-even when the cross that looms is simply the long lack of control over life from one day to the next.

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