Here is a consistency to which I bear witness: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against these things there is no law. I bear witness that we can believe in the “right” things, that have all our doctrinal ducks in a row, but if our lives aren’t icons of the incredible abundant and hospitable extravagance of our God, if we aren’t bearing good fruit, if our roots aren’t going down into the artesian wells of renewal and redemption and restoration, well, then, that is something but it is not grace and it isn’t a tree of life.
Here is a consistency to which I bear witness: the ones who lead well are the ones who lead from among the people of God, the ones who are alongside and not above, the ones who point to Jesus as the north star and the real Shepherd, who lay down power and lift up the voices of others, who tear down the boundary markers, who lay down the nit-picking of who is in and who is out, the ones who live as if we’re all in and we all belong. Delight and friendship and joy create room for the Spirit to play.
Here is a consistency to which I bear witness: the material world matters – the things we make, the breath we draw, the beauty we create, the love we make, the food we eat: kingdom come and so spot the glimpses in seeds and trees, in yeast and pearls, in sandals and smiles, in fishing and gardening, in children and women, in the poor and cast-aside, in birth and death. There isn’t a false demarcation between secular and sacred: everything in your life can glorify God if you intend for it to do so.
Here is a consistency to which I bear witness: transformation from the inside out, transformation which changes us always and continually, sharpening, brightening, bringing out the image-of-God-ness in us, revealing the truth of what God intended all along. Wash the lies away with water, sharpen the image with iron, refine and reveal, there is a true human hiding here. The ways of Jesus are always better for us in our bodies, our minds, our souls: discipleship brings true freedom.
Here is a consistency to which I bear witness: I trust the ones who have suffered, who have walked in the valley of the shadow and still bear the hues of it and yet still walk lightly upon this earth with joy and liveliness. I trust the ones who are kind and the ones who still laugh easily at good things, the ones who aren’t cruel even in secret. I trust the ones who carry a light in the darkness, who recognize the beauty and the sheer wonder of being alive.
Here is a consistency to which I bear witness: Love. Love. Love. I see the Love working its way in and through and around us, you know you’ve found love when that Love brings out the best in us, brings us to fullness and wisdom and joy. I’m foolish enough to believe it: they’ll know us by our love. And we know it when we find it and so it is precious and valuable and ferocious.
Here is a consistency to which I bear witness: Jesus as the exact representation of God, Jesus as the same, yesterday, today and forever and so I am always changing in response to the unchanging Christ, always evolving, always curling into cocoons and being reborn over and over again to a new and distilled beauty, smelling of the wind.
Here is a consistency to which I bear witness: we are always meant for community and love, always meant for wholeness and for shalom. Our true home, our true selves, can be revealed by the light of the Son, by the path of friendship with God. Workers, you are now heirs, live like it.
Here is a consistency to which I bear witness: all other things may fall away – my opinions, my preferences, my habits, my past, my choices then or now, my tidy sureties, my boundary markers, but the Word of God, our Jesus, remains for ever and so I dare to believe it, I dare to say it, I dare to live like it’s true: we are loved! we are loved! we are no longer servants but friends, we are no longer exiles but home builders, we are no longer fighting but farming, we are no longer orphans but family, we are no longer meant for the brickyard but for the Promised Land, we are no longer broken but we are mended and healed and whole, we are no longer wanderers but we are the ones who belong, with just as much a right to Love and to grace and to redemption as every one who draws breath from the breath of God.