When we are brought to be where Jesus is in baptism, we let our defences down so as to be where he is, in the death of human chaos. And that means letting our defences down before God. Openness to the Spirit comes as we go with Jesus to take this risk of love and solidarity…the baptised person is not only in the middle of human suffering and muddle, but in the middle of the love and delight of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That surely is one of the most extraordinary mysteries of being a Christian.Rowan Williams: Being Christian.
In 1997, after just short of a year working across the full spectrum of the conflict there, I left Bosnia Herzegovina with some pretty big questions. Twenty-two years later, it’s time to go back. I’ve booked the flights, the car rental, cross border permits and what hotels I can (it’s still not the most popular tourist destination), and in late May whilst my family is enjoying their annual ‘girls only’ time away with Nicole’s mum, I shall be spending a week there alone. Re-visiting.
How do we know that it’s time (if it ever is) to go back to places that have stirred up our lives to the extent that this one did to mine? I think it has been the final recognition that I shall find no answers, because for some things there just simply aren’t any. For over twenty years I’ve felt that there were simply too many missing pieces to the jigsaw; an emptiness that needed filling, a conundrum that needed solving, a memory that needed healing. For over twenty years I was looking to find something there, and yet also felt that I wasn’t really ready to look in case I came back disappointed, not having found what I had been looking for.
But now things are different. Instead of looking for something I was missing, I’m taking something I’ve found. At each place, some of which are now barely visible and yet some barely changed, I will bring a blessing and build an altar. An altar to a God who is greater than death, deeper than despair and higher than the most lofty mountain top. A God whose sheer magnitude makes him capable of bringing justice to injustice, healing to the wounded and life to those that have tasted death, even if we never witness the outcome for ourselves.
We do not need to fear the darkness my friends, because eventually we may just find that it is often within the darkness that we find the greatest light.