The Work of the People

APR 12, 2016 - Visual Epistles

Loved Back to Life

NOTE: From the series Guided by Grace, Love & Light found HERE.

// Watch Film //

We don’t get things right all the time. If filing down our “jagged edges” to make ourselves smooth and presentable doesn’t make an eternal difference, why do we do it? Bolz-Weber believes that “God grabs hold of those jagged edges of [our] humanity and just continually keeps saving [us] from [our]self.”

I have been out of any “normal” church community for years, and now am a part- time attender to a recovery community in a small Texas town. It suits me just fine. Through the 12 Steps I have learned about being a codependent, and what extremes I can go to when I forget that I am accepted and want to feel accepted. I get to come as I am, as myself—unhindered, unyoked to anyone’s judgment or expectation.

I enslaved myself at my old church in many ways. I take full responsibility for the way I believed I had to be in order to be included. I strived. I worked. I put all my own and my family’s needs aside. I was full-on addicted to people pleasing, and it turns out a church is a great place for a pleaser to hide out. They become “good and faithful servants.” It became a pretty big problem. From time to time I run into old community members from that time, and I admit, a few hives break out. I am just still healing and learning to be fully me...that I am enough.

In my life and in my community, I have experienced God “pull me back up and love me back to life.” I know I am a work in progress. That I will occasionally pick up a shovel and start digging an eternal resting place for myself...but I have also known God to take and break my strong-willed, striving drive to expose the most brilliant life-giving light. In this way, I know that even what I would consider my “mistakes” are on God’s path. They are there to learn from and grow towards the Source of life. For this reason, I am thankful.

// Going Deeper //

“Having God alive in us doesn't mean we get things right all the time, it means that when we get things wrong, that is not the thing that defines us. That is not the final word.” Reflect on your current life. Are you digging a grave? Do you have an idea why?

What does that reveal about your natural tendencies? Do you believe God fully accepts your nature, and has grafted you to the Source?

“Through Jesus we touch the eternal...There is some promise that that eternal love that bore us, that God created the universe out of that love, that love is present when we are born and it is present in this life and those moments and it is present in that last breath when we are again brought back to Source, brought back to God.” We get to come as we are...we get to raise our hands up out of the graves we’ve dug and reach for an always there saving grace! Give God the shovel. Write a short prayer to God asking for his hand in a situation you are facing. Let God love you back to life.

// Further Contemplation //

Feel free to use the film as part of a lectio divina practice, pulling a word or phrase from the film as a focal point for meditation or prayer. Or if you’d like, you can choose one of the following:

“Love me to life.” “Mercy wash over me.” “God, pull me up.” “Love is present.”

// Benediction //

Your love is evident
from birth to death, breath-in, and breath-out.

I make mistakes...
I injure, and I have been injured.
Even when I think I am choosing your way, often, its just an alternate route to getting mine.

I know one thing...
I have succeeded in loving myself to death— but thankfully...death is not the end.

God, Love me back to life!

Thank you for the blessing of your outreached hand, for the grace Eternal. 

- Written by Kelly Ann Hall 

About Altɐr

We believe there is an alternative narrative to the prevalent narrative of scarcity and fear. We believe God is moving and is behind an alternative narrative of abundance and freedom, a narrative in which fear gets defeated and love wins.

We believe God’s narrative requires we altǝr our perspective, that we step, in faith, into God’s upside down reality. In God’s reality we listen for, live and speak God’s upside down voice of faith, hope and love, not striving for ourselves but serving our neighbor. For all these reasons, this is Altǝr.

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