Messy Moments

God is found in the mundane, ordinary and messy moments of our lives, present in our fumbling and stumbling, in our joys and sadness. The Jewish scriptures are sometimes called “a theology of the common deed,” meaning that God is concerned about even the most trivial things in human life. The Jewish prophets concerned themselves more with the marketplace and the poor than they did with heaven and the afterlife. A photo I took many years ago in Skid Row just flashed into my mind. It was of a homeless, black man. He was seated on the curb. He had removed his worn-out shoes and was washing his frayed socks…with a can of soda. He looked so alone and lost; yet he was doing something very practical. For me, the ancient lesson was clear: God is down in the gutter with us and we just have to keep going, keep doing our best to get through the day. Moreover, I think God wants us to reach out a hand for help. God, especially the Triune God of Christianity, is all about relationships. The paradox is that no one goes it alone…yet we all go it alone. The mystery is that in our individual aloneness we are one with God and one with each other.


1 Response to “Messy Moments”

  1. 1 Joan Krebs August 14, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Once again, thanks for this. Today it was the last few sentences that struck a chord – the bit about the paradox and mystery. Reason: on Saturday during a conversation with long time friends things got heated re things I put into the mix. One woman thought she’d smooth things out by saying that when life is over Jesus will judge her in her aloneness, as a total individual. Far from being smoothed I erupted, because these are dear, dear friends and I simply could not let it pass. I startled about a third of the women there insisting I don’t expect to be judged “alone.” Their comeback was immediate, one going so far as to pacify me by injecting what she thought as humor: “Well, Joan, I suppose you can form yourself a little circle…” she said as she reached out her hands so as to join an imaginary circle. Of course she was correct, but she didn’t know it; she’s one for whom individualism is primary including spirituality. Because some in this crowd has always seen me as weird but OK, they accepted my vehement bottom line: “I’m going to be judged on my relationships!” but I don’t know if the moment made any change whatsoever.

    Events like this are why I continue trying to spread the “gospel” of the spirituality of solidarity. So many “mature” people are stuck in individualistic types of spirituality and so many of the younger generations are torn between individualism and community due to changing times and a socialization by the “mature”. And so I’ve arrived full circle. Thanks for your reflection. It helped me to realize that I needn’t be so concerned about causing disturbances if it isn’t malicious.

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