For the Bride: Too Difficult for Whom?

I have to admit there are days when the candle for preserving unity in the Church burns low in my soul.  Some appear to have already concluded that schism is the only way forward.  Others seem to yearn for continuing unity but cannot agree about what it should look like.  It would be easy to go silent, turn passive, hunker down, and wait to see what happens.  Something surely will.

But I cannot do it–for one simple reason–the Spirit of God keeps repeating these words in my soul, “I am the Lord, the God of all living things!  Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)

These words do not make me feel any better.  They do not make our problems seem less challenging. They do not produce a plan that is any better than someone else’s.  But these words from the prophet do one very important thing: they give me HOPE.

All I can say–and I cannot stop saying it–is that what is too difficult for us is not too hard for God.  Surprise is a word that often describes God’s ability to do things we are not expecting–to do things for us that we cannot do for ourselves.  It happened in Jerusalem’s upper room; it can happen in our ecclesial meeting rooms.  It happened at the tomb; it can happen where we feel dead.

This is not passivity or resignation in disguise.  It is more akin to what Henri Nouwen called “active waiting.”  It means keeping vigil, continuing to offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices, and staying at the round table engaging in Christian conferencing.

It means showing up even when we have almost no desire to do so, because we believe God is already present.  It means not allowing critics to tell me who I am, but rather going each day to the feet of Jesus and letting him remind me that I am God’s beloved. 

And all of this in the belief that if enough of us endure and persevere, we will be in an upper room somewhere when the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and the descent of tongues of fire shows us all that the Church is of God, and will be preserved to the end of time.  It means believing that a stone can still be rolled away allowing the Risen Christ to give new life to his Bride.

Too difficult for me?  For any of us?  You bet!!  But not too hard for God.  There are no gurus, only God alone.  And God is not finished with us yet!

(If you do not have my book ‘For the Sake of the Bride’ on which these weekly writings are based, here is the Amazon link for it:

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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