holy discontent , being full and maths lessons for cyclists

i often feel a little conflicted at my responses to what i see as structural sexism in the church, society, the world. i've talked a little before about the need for grace and what that might mean, what it might look like in our world, where there is so much poverty of grace yet so much injustice - who should be the recipients of grace?

and so i've been listening with great interest to some of the sermons that have been coming out of mars hill lately (really if you have an ipod, use it), because it's been so much about this in many ways - particularly the jeff manion sermon on being people of light, just exquisite.

one of them, think it's the jeff manion one but can't exactly remember which and if you have to listen to them all it won't do you any harm :), talks about being full. that when we are sitting in the wealth of love that God showers upon us, we cannot help but give to others out of our fullness rather than out of our poverty.

but i have a niggle and my niggle is about the need for discontent in the face of injustice - sure paul tells us to be content in all circumstances (and let me know when you've all got that one down), but i don't think that he means we just sit on our arses and let injustice flow like a never failing stream. so when i answer someone out of my wealth, out of the great grace that God pours out on me, i have to do that knowing that i'm not satisfied, i'm not full, i'm not content with the way things are, i still want to build the kingdom and see people liberated who are not and to walk with those who are sad and suffering and to offer them jesus and to be part of the stuff that God is doing with his church, to be part of the culture change which will see fullness of being for both humans. one day we will be full, one day we will know the fullness of God's grace....but not yet.

which leads me to my next thought. i fell off my bike yesterday. i hurt myself. i mentioned before that this was a possibility and that i was really quite fine about this possibility. it was one of those falls which doesn't quite happen in slow motion, but there's a definite realisation that dawns that you are actually going to fall over and then a hope that you might recover the situation and then, no, you have actually hit the ground. the ground was muddy, i took a corner too fast going downhill, and it was pretty inevitable actually. as my beloved tells me 'you misjudged the acuteness of the angle of the corner'. good.

but as i was cycling myself home, after realigning the handlebars with the front wheel, i found myself going through an interesting train of thought. firstly, i was a bit more careful and i thought 'i won't do that again because it bloody hurt', then i thought, 'well actually perhaps if i was a better cyclist, i could take that corner, at that angle, when it's been raining, because it was quite fun'. you can see the idea. then i began to remember that i'd joked about ending up in the river along this particular towpath, and suddenly it didn't seem so far fetched after all.

these are after all two of the responses to getting hurt - total avoidance of the activity that hurt us vs learning from it and being willing to end up on your arse again (or in my case my shoulder)

i want to be full. filled up to the brim with all the goodness that God wants to give me, all the blessings that God has for me because he's whispered to me in the depths of my soul 'i will be your God and you will be my...person'. but there's something holy about my discontent too. something that is about the fact that God actually says 'you will be my...people'. i can't let go of the hope that one day we will be healed and that there's something about this being a collective wound bearing.

i cannot choose to be healed by myself, as if that is the end of the story, if my brother or sister is broken. i can't declare that i am full and fall asleep like full bellies make you do, when you are empty. it is different to say that because i am full, i will choose to offer grace to others whilst we travel together to the true fullness of God's kingdom, or to choose to wait for each other, or perhaps to say that i'm just a little bit broken here so could you wait for me, or think about being gracious in your responses to me.

and so sometimes i'm going to misjudge the acuteness of the angle, i'm going to go too fast, or you're going to go too slow. perhaps the terrain is a bit muckier than usual, or i'm just plain not paying attention.

but i still want to take the chance that one day i'm gonna make that corner.

with you.

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