response to lennon

and so this is christmas....and what have you done?

over the last three months i have cried and laughed more than usual. well certainly cried. in fact, when, at the end of term, we did 'praise envelopes' for each other (in our college fellowship groups - you know, those things where you write a post-it with nice things about the person and they get a pile of stuff that warms their cockles...), i was quite relieved that people still wrote 'a smile or laughter is never far away' - phew, because i thought i'd become a right pain in the arse :D

over the last three months 'expectations' have been exploded, reinstated, snarled at and, in the end recalibrated to suit the actual situation, instead of the imagined one. i've learned so much more what it means to be community together, and that 'community of grace' is not just a tag line that sounds nice. when you're shoved together in that intense way that only vicar schools seem to know how to do, 'community of grace' is not some floaty ethereal mystical place - it's the down and dirty, messed up-ness of humanity. and, you know, sometimes, it's not pretty, and sometimes it's painful, but....mostly....it's goooooooooood.

because, i don't want sanitised community, i don't want 'front' and 'saving face' and pretending to be more, or less, than we are. i want depth and heart and authenticity. it will not be perfect, it will probably piss people off (a bit...a lot?), it will definitely be full of mistakes, but it will be divine. oh dear, did i slip into heresy? God doesn't make mistakes does God? well, no, but God does move and shift to accommodate the other, God suffers us, in the best sense of the word, and in suffering all those who want 'in' even if we don't want them 'in', God is definitely going to piss people off.

so, community is divine, right? some people much smarter than me have recovered this concept. but, you know, i wonder if we've imposed our imagined ideas about what a divine community looks like onto our actual communities. someone said to me once that christians tend to poison themselves with syrupy nice-ness.

it's true.

but i like salt.

and so this is christmas, and what have i done?

something divine.

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