Jon mentions his own history of frustration and pain, disagreement and ambivalence (even now) toward The Journey, yet found himself in close and apparently revealing quarters with the church’s leadership team. Jon found them to be “beautiful people,” even though clearly he has been at odds with some of them. And this impressed me.
I wondered if I had ever referred to those who had hurt me as “beautiful people.” I’ve certainly been willing to give others the benefit of a doubt, but also reserved the right to consider them misguided, selfish, clueless, or even wicked. I’m not sure “Beautiful” has ever made it into my list of adjectives. Perhaps they could become beautiful if they would just see things correctly (and I’d be glad to enlighten them on that account).
So this Monday’s meditation is an invitation to us all. Without excusing selfish and sinful behavior for even a moment, I believe we have to acknowledge Jesus himself chose to “staff” churches with . . . people. And people can be a real pain in the--well, you know. In my frustration I’ve frequently turned to Colossians 3: 12-14. Perhaps it will hold some meaning for you, too:
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."Either Jesus miscalculated, or part of our own personal spiritual formation depends upon practicing these words. Admiring these words is not enough: the life of God is found in the act of living them out. But where? Then I think to myself, “where else can I put these words into practice--other than my family and my church?” I never seem to come up with a better answer than either of those two places. Blessings abundant to you, Jon, and to all of us on our journey.