A word on relational ruptures

We are in a season of the year that the church has long referred to as Epiphany. One pastor describes it like this:

“The season of epiphany is a reminder to the church of her vocation to face outward, toward the other, to share the Light of Christ.”

— A.J. Sherrill

But the truth is, when we turn outward toward the other, we often find there the remains of an ancient wound that shows up in a whole host of relational cracks and ruptures.

We all want to be seen and known. We all want to be connected in a loving community. Yet despite all our best attempts at relationships, somehow relational ruptures seem to find us. These ruptures are like an ancient echo of a more primal rupture. An echo reverberating forth from a garden long ago. These relational strains and divisions find their way into our lives despite our best parenting and all our best investments in therapy, and we find we cannot fix them on our own. This is why we need the bread and the wine; this is why we need the real presence of Christ Jesus. 

We all want to be seen and known as we are; not as we act. We all want to be seen and known as ourselves; not just as we are on our best days or worst days, but in our entirety. We want a witness to our lives. Author Curt Thompson put it this way “You were born into this world looking for someone who is looking for you.” Yet the soul is shy and we’ve all learned ways of hiding our true selves. We hide ourselves from ourselves, we hide from each other, and we hide from God. We’ve all been hiding since the near beginning of time. 

Within the first few pages of scripture we meet people longing to be known and hiding their true selves in the Garden of Eden. In the story, God created Adam and Eve and placed them in a perfect garden where they lived in a close, connected relationship with God. Fully known, fully loved, no fear of rejection. But when they ate from the tree that God told them not to eat from, they became aware of their nakedness and felt a sense of shame, so they hid from God. We’ve all been experiencing shame and hiding ever since. In his kindness, God called out to them and asked them what had happened, and they confessed their sin. Again in his kindness, God provided them with clothing to cover their nakedness, but their relationship with God and with all of creation had changed forever.

This story is about the fall of humanity, but it is also a story about the importance of being known and accepted by God. It is a picture of how — in spite of all our hiding — nothing can separate us from the great love of God. Nothing. Not our sin, or our shame. Not our best efforts to cover our true selves. God sees you and knows you and loves you. Jesus came to redeem all that is broken and restore all that has been lost.

May this foundation of eternal love ground you, strengthen you, and help you to turn outward towards others in your life today with the same sort of love you have received from heaven.

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