The Kingdom of God

Thanks for listening to me complain yesterday. I appreciated your ears, and your care and compassion. Sweet Camden Lass reminded me that Kings College does a lovely Festival of Lesson's and Carols, well they should, having originated it. At any rate, a quick search on iTunes, and I shall be listening to Once in Royal Davids City and the words of John and Isaiah - iTunes carries the 2004 Festival.

I will be honest, this is not my first choice. I'm forcing myself to remember about making choices and choosing attitude and re-joining the world of the living. I'm forcing myself to remember that just because life isn't how I imagined it, how I wanted it, doesn't mean it can't be good. As I downloaded the service, I thought about my words yesterday:
I have accepted that grief is a thing that takes just a bit from us each day,asking us, reminding us, forcing us to surrender a bit more of our hearts each time it comes to call.
I was accused a few months ago, of not showing grace to someone. No, that's not quite right. I was not accused. Someone told me I didn't show grace, and they were entirely correct - I didn't. And those words have stayed with me. They have bothered me. In quiet moments, I have taken them out and held them up and looked at them.

My first thought was to look at this person, and think "Grace? You have the audacity to speak about grace? Well, let me tell you about grace." And truthfully, if we got the same amount of grace that we showed others, this person would be into negative grace. It is particularly galling to have your sins pointed out to you by one of the coldest and most thoughtless people you know.

And then I thought about humility. You see, I have learned a lot about humility in the last 12 months. In fact, the last 12 months have been, in one way or another, all about humility. Humility has been Gabe's lessons to his mum - I am learning a lesson about cost and pain and grace.

I learned something shortly after Gabriel died. We are all broken. All of us. We all carry about pain and sorrow and tragedy in our lives. In every life, something is less than perfect. It just so happened, on the 10th of December, 2007, Mr. Spit and I became visibly broken. Beyond all semblance of holding it together, broken. Beyond trying to fake it until we made it, broken. Just plain, completely and utterly broken.

But, in actual fact, Mr. Spit and I are no more broken than many others. No more broken, no more deserving of grace than all of us are. No more broken and no more in need of grace than all of us.

As I search for meaning, struggle to understand why my baby died, and why I have to keep giving up dreams, I have been thinking about the words in Luke 12:48. Essentially, they say that when someone has been given much, much will be required of them in return. I do not often, or easily, think of Gabriel's death as giving me something.

The loss, I will dryly admit, seems to suggest that much more has been taken away.

And yet, out of my own pain and sorrow and tragedy, I have learned how the pain and sorrow and tragedy of others feels. My eyes are opened to the Kingdom of God that is within us. To the need for mercy and grace. Much has been given to me, even though I didn't not want it. Indeed, this gift, it rests uneasily within me still. The Kingdom is still touch and go with me. You will note that I was far from it yesterday, even as I was searching for it. I am, though, aware of the Kingdom of God, and my need of it.

I read Mark 12 this morning, thinking about the Kingdom of God. In the verse, a teacher challenges Jesus, asking him what the most important commandment was. Jesus gives us 2: to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and souls and minds, and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

The teacher asking the original question goes on to note that this love was more important to God than all the sacrifices in the world. Indeed, Jesus tells this teacher and us, that when we hang on those rules, we are not far from the Kingdom of God.

In the Kingdom of God, I am learning there is both the strength and the serenity to go and buy the Festival of Lessons and Carols on iTunes, and listen on my couch. I am learning that grace matters more than I could ever say. Thank you all for showing so much of it to me.