Cracks in everything

Today was one of those interesting days – it will be best to draw a veil over the scene in our living room around 9am, but suffice it to say that it required packing two small boys into the back of our car, so that they could get some downtime/sleep in order to restore calm.

While this did mean sacrificing some work time in order to go for a drive, I didn’t mind too much.  I needed downtime and head space too.  So I politely declined the offer of listening to Zog, or some other exciting tale and left the CD my lovely sister Kath produced for us this Christmas playing in the car.  I drove up Cleeve Hill, to the  highest spot in the  Cotswolds, up into the rain and cloud, but was greeted by sunshine as I went down the hill towards Winchcombe.

The rest of the drive was lovely, sometimes wet,  always surrounded by clouds hugging hill tops, and frequently greeted by sunshine through the rain.  Youngest boy fell asleep and oldest almost did.  One song on the CD has caught my attention in recent days as I’ve listened to the CD.  I can’t recall who it is by, and it’s really just the refrain that has grabbed me.  The line is this:

“Forget your perfect offering
There are cracks in everything
It’s how the light gets in.”

I may not have quoted it exactly.  I may well be wrenching it out of context – but these words are the ones sinking in to me deeply.

Forget your perfect offering.  It gets me because I want to be right. I want to get it right, to do it right, to be a father who does it right. A husband who does it right. A student who gets it right.

But I don’t.  I get it wrong. I answer impatiently.  I put things in the wrong order. I miss the obvious cues.  I forget something.  But I want to be right. I want to get it.  I want to be right when it comes to God. I want to be 100% devoted. I want to have avoided sin.

But I don’t.  And I can’t. And it wears me out.  I’ve been watching West Wing while rocking baby to sleep these last few weeks.  LAst night was the episode where Santos, the presidential candidate addresses a packed church after the shooting of a young coloured man.  His refrain “we’re tired” as he highlights the brokeness.  From another of his speeches comes the line “we are all broken people”.  We are. I am.

And so “Forget your perfect offering” is getting into me.  Forget your perfect offering.  Forget it. My life is not, and will not be a perfect offering. It is full of cracks. Perfection is never acheived this side of eternity. On this earth we always fall short.

There is only one perfect offering.  Only one who actually lived out how he should.  His perfect offering covers me.  God does not require perfection.  I’m reading Genesis at the moment, and I’m in the middle of Abraham’s life.  Abraham yo yo’s between promise and failure from chapter to chapter: God’s promise, Abraham lies about Sarah as his sister, Abraham does well with Lot, God’s promise, Abraham sleeps with slave girl and allows wife to cast her out, God’s promise, Abraham interceeds with God, Abraham lies about Sarah as his sister…  Abraham gets it  wrong.  He doubts God.  And yet he also trusts.  Not perfectly.  But he does.

There are cracks in everything – that’s how the light gets in.  I know in family life that  some of the best moments are when we put things right when stuff has gone wrong.  In that vulnerability comes new trust, new communication, new awareness.  The same is true with God as we bring our brokeness and failure and sin to him.  He can make all things new.

He doesn’t want our perfect offerings. He doesn’t want our clinging to being right. He wants us. As we are. The chorus has it right: “Jesus take me as I am, I can come no other way”.  And he does take us, he does change us. He does make us more like Jesus. But it doesn’t happen by us trying to get it right. It happens by us knowing our failure. Desiring to be made whole, but knowing how far we fall short.  But coming.  We just need to come.

Here is Charlotte Elliott’s great hymn “Just as I am” which seems like a good place to finish. This post is not perfect. But I’ll stop now.   West Wing episode is about to finish, and hopefully baby will transfer to cot – and hopefully boys will sleep.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, of that free love
The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,
Here for a season, then above,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

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