This morning, I led a conversation on the fights that form us as Christians– red versus blue carpet, choir versus praise team, contemporary music versus hymns, offering plate versus Apple pay, suits versus skinny jeans and a t- shirt, 8 a.m. versus 11 a.m. service. You know, deeply transformative wars for righteousness. And these fights seemingly go on forever, handed down to each generation because we will surrender NEVER!
But, I think these fights begin within, that they are not fighting words we hear but something more difficult to discern. Consequently, I invited the group to pray and then to silently read a section of Walter Wangerin’s “In Mirrors,” where he focuses on what shows up of ourselves in the faces of others and especially in the face of Christ. Afterwards, I invited them to journal about what they were fighting for, fighting about, who they were really fighting with and then to surrender. I closed this part of our time together with words that I hope will help us discern the fight within and help us let down our defenses:
All that I am striving for, climbing up the ladder and back up the ladder again after getting kicked, shoved, tripped and tricked to go back down the ladder, all that I think I want to have and know I need, all that I should have done and could have done, all that I wanted to be and never was,
All that I am fighting for, all that I have and want to keep, all that I am afraid to lose, all that I fear is slipping through my fingers,
All that I think I am, all that I want to be, all that I am expected to become and do and say, all of me that gets in the way of God’s will,
I give up.
All that I have a grip on and need to get a grip on, that I hold tightly while it strangely squeezes the life out of me, all that I am afraid to give up, won’t give up on, won’t give an inch on, won’t budge, won’t move,
I let go.
Today, I let down my defenses. I choose faith and to surrender, to give up, to let go of the fight. And before I am tempted to reach for it again, take the fight out of me. This is my prayer. Amen.