Ashley Alexander, part of our Mosaic Edinburgh community is this week’s guest blogger. Have a read, I am captivated and inspired by the implications of what she has to say for our spirituality and community
Nothing can be truly known about you unless it is shared. Sure, someone can stalk your Facebook, read your blog or even talk to others about you, but they do not nor cannot really, truly, intimately know you. If they want to truly know you, to know the depths of you they are, you must be willing to share with them.
There is a scene in the movie “Good Will Hunting” that portrays this exceptionally. Sean (played by Robin Williams) is a psychiatrist, who reluctantly takes the case of Will (played by Matt Damon), a troubled young adult with a broken past. A few days before the encounter your are about to see in the park, Will finds a painting of Sean’s in his office and assumes he knows everything about him just by looking at it. Listen closely to what Sean is telling Will.
EMBED: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM-gZintWDc (Please note: There is a bit of foul language in the piece, sorry)
Did you catch it? Did you understand what Sean was telling Will? Sean says at the end of the scene, “I cannot learn anything from you that I cannot learn from a book, unless you want to talk about you, who you are.” The beauty of this is that Sean had Will’s file. He knew everything that had happened in his life, but he believed that he could not truly know or understand Will without having heard it from Will, himself. Nothing can be truly known about you unless it is shared. It was more about intimacy than information.
In this clip, I hear more than a psychiatrist talking to his patient, more than a man speaking to a boy. In this clip I hear God talking to his people. I cannot learn anything from you, nothing that I do not already know, unless you want to talk, unless you want to share, unless you want to commune with me. I long to know the depths of you. You fascinate me. I love you dearly. I am in. Let’s go!
God is calling us, each of us, to take part in communion with him. But what does that mean? For me whenever I hear communion, I think of the actual act of communion, the eating of the bread and drinking of the wine. Along with that come silent reflection and the feelings of guilt and failure. I knew there had to be more to communion than eating, drinking and these feelings. So…being a nerd, I looked it up. According to the Oxford Dictionary, communion is “the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings.”
Wow… just stop for a moment and think about that…
Sharing or exchanging
Thoughts and feelings
In all of my years of being a Christian, I had missed out on something huge. While this was a revelation to me, it is also a struggle. For the most part, I am a private person. I do not show emotions easily. I am reserved when it comes to sharing my deepest thoughts and feelings. So sharing intimate thoughts and feelings does not come natural to me, especially with someone I cannot physically see.
So… although I am writing this, I have not figured it out yet.
It may seem paradoxical, but I know God desires to hear from me, although he knows me inside and out. He desires for me to share intimate thoughts and feelings, despite the fact that he knows them before they are on my tongue. I fascinate him. He is crazy in love with me. And he is in for the journey, not matter how long and bumpy of a ride it may be.
I am holding these words as my promise…
I cannot learn anything from you, nothing that I do not already know, unless you want to talk, unless you want to share, unless you want to commune with me. I long to know the depths of you. You fascinate me. I love you dearly. I am in. Let’s go!
So beautifully written Ashley and so much for us to consider as a community. I think for me and I suspect for most others it is not too hard to begin this part of our journey in our communion with Our Father but I think within a community like ours the glitch comes when we have to share in this communion with each other. This is one of the hardest things for me and I suspect for others because I instinctively wonder if I am truly to be who I am will I still be loved or even liked. Now I don’t walk into a room thinking this, but over the years I have seen my behaviour over the long term reflecting this.
I think we are off to a good start because I am seeing pockets of transparency among us but I think we need to grow even more in sharing who we really are with one another, warts and all. Genuine, authentic, relationship can only exist where there is transparency and with transparency comes vulnerability. Are we willing to be vulnerable to each other or do we always have to ‘keep it together’. We need to realise that we do not have the answers but only in Him are we complete and so nothing can be accredited to how good a leader or pastor or friend WE ARE but rather how awesome his transformation in us and therefore love that flows through us is.
Like Ashley I too have not mastered this art but hope that with all of you I can go on this journey of being in true community, risking all and holding nothing back. I see the completion of the affects of this kind of community within the Trinity. None is greater than the other and each plays a very significant role. We need to begin to value each other and the gifts we each bring because it is in that we will find true community. This is very easily written but even whilst writing this I realise how Utopian it is to achieve. To effectively do this we require such unconditional love for one another with all our quirks and like I said, warts and all. Can we love the unlovable the way He does?? This is my own challenge today, how about you?