That’s the word that fell of my mother’s lips as we talked on a Sunday afternoon.
Yellow and orange filled our house as the fall sun chose brightness. I sat and she stood behind the counter. Her hands were moving fast in and out of the warm counter water and my mind was running just as fast.
Raw. That’s how my mother in her wisdom and in the yellow air of our Michigan home described today’s culture. I have to agree.
There is so much exposed.
And I’m not sure the church knows what to do with it all.
I think, somehow, the church is surprised by the rawness.
As if that first garden scene wasn’t raw or Peter’s denial wasn’t raw, or Judas’ betrayal wasn’t raw, or the “It is Finished” wasn’t raw. As if walking on water wasn’t raw.
As if touching blind eyes and broken limbs and sick children wasn’t raw.
People have always wanted to shout the things that they feel deepest. And right now I think many people are asking a lot of hard questions and shouting them for the world to answer.
Why does it hurt?
Why is my child broken?
Why does disease seem to win?
Why does hope seem foolish?
Why am I angry?
Who will make this better?
Is love real?
Do people really sacrifice?
Can I ever heal?
Will they leave?
Will I be alone?
Does it end like this?
What is the last word?
And so these questions echo in peoples minds as they drift to church, to the grocer, to the school functions, to the funeral home, to work, and back home again.
And I’m not sure we’re giving brave answers.
I think we’re selling each other short.
I think hope is real and healing can happen.
I think love is large and the table wide.
I think the cross, the days between, the empty tomb, and the future promise, tell us true things. I think they tell us the most relevant things.
I think there’s a reason kid laughter makes us feel warm.
I think there’s a reason a dad and child feel like hope promised.
I think there are echoes of the healing promised all around us and I want to give brave answers because I think we’re all hungry for substance.
You and me, we’re ready for the harvest and let me tell you, the table is set.
This is the best news.
The table is set. You’re invited. Wine is poured. Healing will happen. And, you’ll meet Him.
You’ll meet Him. The One who pours the wine, sets the table and tells stories of new mornings and songs that don’t end.
As our kitchen sink ran and ran, so did my mind as my mother offered that one word, raw.
I think raw is not a reason to run but a reason to draw near. I think when you and I tell each other honest words of hurt, and hope, and dreams, and healing, and doubt, and table laughter – we’re actually coming closer to our Maker – not running farther away.
So let’s come into this.
We all wonder.
Can love have a name? Can love wrap me, and hold me, and mend me, and bring me home? Can I be child again near to a good Father that believes in dancing and songs that fill my hands with good things?
Can it all be real? Can this story include me?
Do I have a place in this new, beautiful, “it is finished” world?
Can I be whole?
Can healing be real?
Will redemption come?
When Christ hung He said “Yes.”
In the days between, people asked, “How?”
When the tomb was empty heaven said, “This is how.”
And miracles have been echoing ever since.
Miracles. Things that should be fairy-tells but are actually woven into your limbs. You stink of wonder. You smell of newness. You are made of grace.
Dance in this. Wonder in this miracle.
Come into this with me.