This Holy Week, I was stuck by this phrase “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross.”
We are always looking forward to the next thing. Especially when we are in some form of discomfort or suffering. “If I can just hang on a bit longer, the finances will come in,” or “If I can just make it to the end of the week, everything will be better.”
As a youth I grew up around almond orchards. During the early winter after harvest the pruning would begin. My brothers and I had the enviable job (read: NOT-enviable) of pulling the cut branches into the center of the rows so that a brush rake could buck it and take it to a pile where it would eventually burn.
As mentioned in the previous post, we live in a church culture that doesn’t like to talk about or identify with brokenness. If the way into the Kingdom is through brokenness, and it is, then our reluctance to embrace brokenness has two results, as it pertains to creatives.
One, we have nothing to write about. Our art is not a representation of truth, but rather a representation of pieces of truth. It is a partial picture of the good news of the Kingdom.
Two, we have not demonstrated to a dying world how to enter the Kingdom of life.
Many of us have grown up in a culture where brokenness is pushed aside, and never examined. The result is that we live in a world that is Plasticine, it’s not real. It lacks truth.
Brokenness is a place we try to avoid. To our human understanding, brokenness is that dark pit that bubbles with heartache and pain. Brokenness is hell on earth.
So we avoid it. We don’t talk about it. We pretend we don’t have any of it. We hide our brokenness from others who are hiding their brokenness. And we create a cycle. Its not long before newcomers into the fold learn to hide their brokenness too. It might be our great universal art in the church–talking around, over, under, but never directly at our brokenness.
The biggest problem with all this, is that the door to our salvation sits wide open across the threshold of brokenness. We come to Jesus with our brokenness, there is no other way to come to Him. We recognize that we have made a mess of our lives by trying to run it ourselves. We see that His way is the better way, that His Kingdom is freedom from the broken places.
Went to see Augustines at The High Watt this past weekend. It was easily one of the best shows I have been to. Ever. It had all the hallmarks of a good show. Great banter and audience engagement, great music, on the fly set tailoring based on the audience, off the mic acoustic songs, up on the bar acoustic songs, etc. But none of these are why it hit the high spots. The key reason it was a great show was brokenness.
Brokenness. Billy McCarthy is a broken man. And he knows it. But his brokenness is tinged with hope and expectation. Being broken is not the end, its the beginning. Its a place to move on from, not to wallow in.