15 September 2021

A faith of tensions

As lockdown continues for those in Auckland, and not just for the first time, we grow weary. For some it is a time of enjoyment, rest and relaxation, and for others it is stressful, anxiety-inducing, and chaotic. The story of Scripture – God’s story and our story – tells us that we live in a time between the times. Christ has come and Christ will come again. Living out of our “faith in tensions” can spark an array of emotion in us. As we read the lament of the Psalmists we also join with our own.

Miriam Fisher, Education Lecturer, shares some thoughts and a poem.

I found myself one semester in two theology classes that were both wonderful and challenging. As I wrestled with concepts that felt too big for me I was also on a journey of working with practices of silence, a challenge in my loud and extroverted world. Alongside this I felt both deeply captivated by the Hope of Jesus, the God who came and comes to us, and the brokenness of the world in which I live. This poem arrived from that place and I wrote it, as I tend to do, as prayer and as confession. I hope that it blesses any of you wrestling with those same things, wrestling with the holy work God is doing in you.

Christianity is a faith of tensions
I sit between a wounded dawn
and the full realisation of a risen son
held in the hands of truly God
whose scarred hands have dirt and sand under the fingernails
gardener and dust draw-er
invited into an eternal dance
by three but only one
called to faithfully declare Hope with a capital H
as I sit, and do not run, from the ashes of a world in despair
entering in to lamentation 

I am stretched
these difficult dichotomies
remind me I am called to an enlarging faith
not enlarged, as I might hope, by my own
by gathering accolades and achievements like pennies to assure myself
I am future-secure
not enlarged by approvals
I am enlarged by stooping low
and entering in

sitting in places of ashes
more difficult than I can possibly endure
holding silence like a sacred weapon
against the words that war and wound like scattered bullets
tearful frustrations
over concepts so large I cannot grasp them & so narrow
they are impossible to alight on
weeping for a man who chose to bear my wounds
worshipping a victorious saviour, God glorious

it is tense and taut to enter in
to go beyond a thin veil of hallelujahs
to hear a chorus so full and awe-some - it causes silence
to open these eyes and behold a world so broken – I may never again claim blindness
as a shield

I can feel myself thinning out
upon this stretching rack
the casual indifference
and weak pursuit of truth
forever tainted by the bitter sweet reality
too real for me to hold

I am a reed bruised and breaking
and I cry out in alarm
then reminded

I am being made
always made
by these safe hands
and understanding by degrees

but always and ever
the dreadful
hopeful whisper

there is more

Miriam Fisher