A Saturday Caesura
We’ve had an uncommonly summery fall so far. Aside from a scattering of frosty mornings, the days have been radiant gold against blue skies. One by one the fields have begun to resemble shorn sheep, buzzed clean by lumbering combines reminiscent of giant razors. The hope of harvest lingers even as the chaff billows and settles on winter-ready fields.
But it has not been all hope for me this week. I’ve struggled with how to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct against a notable ministry leader whose wisdom and insight I have greatly appreciated. There have been many leaders disgraced by such allegations in recent years — too many — but this one in particular upset me quite deeply. I’ve started wondering if there are any church and ministry leaders who are being as faithful and godly as they present themselves. I know the nature of humanity through whom and in whom God has chosen to work, but I can’t help but ask: why? Behind that simple question is a litany of more questions — I’m avoiding the temptation to ask them all here, but I am asking them in my heart.
Another temptation I’m resisting is to become cynical. My heart could yield a rich harvest of cynicism if I gave free reign to the doubt and disillusionment that accompanies being exposed to the stark failures of those who call themselves followers of Christ. The deep irony there, of course, is that I am one of those followers just as prone to failure. Aren’t we all. I don’t say this to justify or minimize the devastating effects of sin on individual lives, on the testimony of Christ and his gospel in the world. Our sin, no matter how public or private, grieves God. Pause in that thought, Charis. Let it sink deep.
It is absolutely astounding that even though God is so grieved by our sin, he continues to offer grace and forgiveness. Again, I don’t say this to minimize or excuse the sin of others or of myself, but I find incredible hope in this. When all the feelings of disgust, disillusionment, judgement, betrayal, doubt, anger, and hurt begin to settle, it is the grace of God that lingers even as the chaff of sin billows across our land, our communities, our homes, our hearts.
Our hope is in you, Lord. And you alone.