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In which we leave a little room

It’s Holy Week in the Church calendar now.

The world isn’t longing for another easter egg hunt or free chocolate. The longing of our hearts isn’t for a bigger and better stage performance. We’re yearning for Jesus, still, all of us, always.

The Church is (hopefully…) our place and community for the detox from the here-we-are-now-entertain-us frenzies of our culture.

Strip the rhetoric when we strip our altars. Still the bells and our scrabbling hearts, lay down the palm branches next to the gold spray painted easter eggs and sky-writing Scripture verses and slick direct mail brochures. Fill a basin with water, instead of free cotton candy, and wash someone’s feet. Tear apart the simple bread, pour a glass of wine, and remember, I’m learning to resist the urge to pontificate. Set up an outpost for the Kingdom of God, right in the teeth of suffering and death and greed, and  practice it: We were loved right to the end. Even now, we are loved, right to the end.

oh, love each other!

Love as He has loved us. Love is our new identity, our calling card, and our name. It’s how humanity will recognise us, this new birth mark of Love.

Theology belongs to the artist, just as much as to the apologist or activist or entertainer.

And I think we need more theologians with a poet’s heart: a little imagination when we speak of God never hurts.  The best art leaves a bit of silence, room on the edges, for interpretation and response. It is often in the white space of art where I find the Holy Spirit, hovering, stirring, waiting.

It’s Holy Week in the Church calendar now. Leave a little room on the edges, don’t fill it all up, Church, with consumerism and light show performances or with hermeneutical gymnastics and atonement theories: leave a little room for the Love and the breathing, for the remembering and suffering, for the grieving and the longing, and the Holy stirring of an interruption. Joy comes in the morning.

 

 

(The quote I’ve written above is from the Holy Week Readings of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.)

art, church, Easter, faith, lent

33 Responses to In which we leave a little room

  1. Jennifer Clark Tinker March 25, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    Just beautiful, Sarah.

  2. Lisa Bartelt March 25, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    “The best art leaves a bit of silence, room for interpretation.” Yes. I don’t need more people telling me what to do or think. I need space to hear Jesus. I didn’t “give up” anything for Lent this year. And I’m not sure I made more space for Christ, either. But maybe free of the “requirement” I found Him anyway. Thanks for the beautiful words.

  3. Jen Hatmaker March 25, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    It’s as if we sat down together, poured tea, held hands, and wrote our posts at the same time. Love you and love this. Making room over here. Thank you, Jesus. “Set up an outpost for the Kingdom of God, right in the teeth of suffering and death and greed, and practice it…”

    • Sarah Bessey March 25, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

      What else but the Holy Spirit? And the fact that we should probably be sister wives.

  4. AMCBEE March 25, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    “The best art leaves a bit of silence, room on the edges, for interpretation and response. It is often in the white space of art where I find the Holy Spirit, hovering, stirring, waiting.” Oh, how I love this! As a self-proclaimed minimalist and find myself constantly purging my home and life of excess, I SO love this. Because it is often after a good purge of SCHTUFF, that I often hear God speaking to me. In that moment of “ahhh”. Thank you!

  5. michelle March 25, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Thank you.

  6. mothering spirit March 25, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    “the Holy stirring of an interruption” – yes. A friend on Twitter shared your photo of the interruption quote, and I’d just blogged about Gospel-as-interruption this morning. Beautiful ripples of how this idea resonates. And the more white space we leave on the margins for the Spirit to edit at will, the more interruptions we learn to welcome. Thank you.

  7. Stephanie Spencer March 25, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Thank you, Sarah. I just sent this in an email to my staff team at church. It’s so easy to get caught up in the creative planning process and forget what is most important. As we spend this week putting together finishing details, this post was a great reminder.

    • Sarah Bessey March 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      That makes me so glad, Stephanie. Thank you.

  8. TransformingWords March 25, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    ” Set up an outpost for the Kingdom of God, right in the teeth of suffering and death and greed, and practice it: We were loved right to the end. Even now, we are loved, right to the end.”

    This always gets me…because, if I’m honest, I prefer the distance. I’m fine with talking through issues and working through problems, because just as words can bring someone close, they can also create distance. But to be there, in the middle of it all, leaves me speechless. It leaves me no room to do anything but fall on the grace of God and ask Him to help. Which is where He wants us.

    Surely, to die for Christ is easy. It’s living for Him that’s hard.

  9. Tiff_StillSeekingSanity March 25, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Oh my gosh, this is incredible. I have never been to your blog before, but I have chills after this post. Tars are forming and my heart cries a resounding yes!

  10. kelli woodford March 25, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    thank you, friend. a deep amen.

  11. sethhaines March 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    “Theology belongs to the artist, just as much as to the apologist or activist or entertainer.”

    This reminds me of a Thomas Merton quote.

    • Sarah Bessey March 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      Which one??

      • sethhaines March 26, 2013 at 8:03 am #

        “Poetry, music and art have something in common with the contemplative experience. But contemplation is is beyond aesthetic intuition, beyond art, beyond poetry. Indeed, it is also beyond philosophy, beyond speculative theology. It resumes, transcends and fulfills them all, and yet at the same time it seems, in a certain way, to superseded and to deny them all.”

  12. Ed_Cyzewski March 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Yes, a little mystery, a little room to roll words around in our minds, to jot down half-finished ideas.

  13. Fiona March 26, 2013 at 2:30 am #

    Beautiful. Thank you, Sarah.

  14. melissa beaver March 26, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    “And I think we need more theologians with a poet’s heart: a little imagination when we speak of God never hurts. ”

    amen.

  15. Kelly @ Love Well March 26, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    You call to the deep, Sarah Bessey. I love this and I resonate with the truth.

  16. Patricia W Hunter March 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    So well written, Sarah. I wrote about love today, as well, though not with such beauty. I’m going to go back and add a link to you. Thank you.

  17. Grace at {Gabbing with Grace} March 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    love.

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