Tension - Dwelling Spaces

Sunday, 18 March 2018


At the CNC morning service today we were thinking about tension in our faith lives. The Christian faith is full of things we hold in tension: Is Jesus fully human or fully divine? Well...YES! Is the kingdom of God now or not yet? Umm...YES again!  Is God an intimate friend or unapproachably holy? YES!   These and many other things seem like paradoxes, like both can't be true, but they are both true and trying to hold them together can cause us tension.  However, they are also things that we are not necessarily meant to resolve, because they are part of the mystery of God. As created beings we can only know our Creator through revelation, and as we sit in tension, wrestling with questions this should draw us deeper into a relationship with God.

During the service we read Luke 19.29-41.  It is the story of Jesus' triumphal entry to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, and although it is a week too soon (!) I wanted to reflect on the story this week.  In these verses we see Jesus proclaimed as king, the one who is coming in the name of the Lord.  The crowds of pilgrims thronging the road waving palm branches seem to finally have realised who Jesus is.  And yet in the midst of the joy and celebration we see Jesus looking over the city laid out beneath him and weeping.  Jesus knows that the people will either turn against him, or be too scared, or unable, to stand with him.  Celebration and profound loss are held together.  It is right that the people should acknowledge Jesus as King, but they are blind, as we often are, to the sort of king Jesus is. When I was in Tanzania, I was with a pastor whose first born babies, twins, had been born the night before.  He said simply to me: "one died and one lived".  We somehow held that loss and joy together before God, trusting that God was present and knew the answers to all our questions.

Sometimes our different perspective leads to a different response to situations.  At the moment at CNC we are in a time of 'stripped back' worship, with no band and plenty of silence with opportunity for people to lead songs or prayers.  This is not a comfortable place for everyone, some are loving it, some are finding it more of a challenge, but together we are holding that tension and seeing where we can see God at work in our midst.

So, some things to ponder this week:
  • As you read Luke 19.29-41, how do you feel about Jesus?  Do you want to welcome him as king?  Do you feel a sense of loss because you can't recognise him as king?
  • Where are the head and heart tensions for you with your faith at the moment? Take time if you can to ask God to show you more of who God is through the tension. 

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