Everybody wants to grow in their faith, just like everybody wants to be a better husband or wife, son or daughter, employee or boss. We are burdened with a creeping suspicion that we aren't quite good enough, that we aren't meeting our potential. This burden can destroy you. It is too heavy too bear because it is too close to the truth. We aren't good enough. If we were, we'd be done with the journey of life, the organic process enlivened by constant death and rebirth, losing your life or a portion of it every day to make space for something new, taking two steps back to gain the strength to run forward three, if we were done you wouldn't be reading this.No, when we peer inward with our own eyes and notice the specks of sin that stain our souls, we'll never be good enough. Something will always be wrong.
The distance between us and perfect love is wide. Some days it feels like perfect love is far away and on the other side of the grandest canyon. It's wide but it's not impassable.
Jesus lived and then died so we could pass over to the other side. He isn't a bridge. That metaphor carried out to it's logical conclusion is scary. The bridge soaring over the grandest canyon between us and perfect love is too long and tall. It sways when the winds of suffering, rejection, and loss pick up. Sometimes the bridge get's blocked by gatekeepers that claim to speak for God. They repeat what we already know - that we aren't good enough.
Jesus is the embodiment of abundant life. He isn't good, or honest, or even perfect. None of those words complete his definition. He is the sum of all our longings - to be loved; to love; to not hate our neighbors because they're further along; to not despise our parents because they let us down; to not begrudge God the love he desperately wants us to accept; to love ourselves. All this love spills over and fills the once empty gulf that represented our unfulfilled desires and hopeless striving to be good. And then we realize that we don't even need to cross over. We just need to fall on our knees and cup our hands and lean down to drink. Perfect love came to us. Now we drink.
Groups at Downtown Church are an invitation for you to fall on your knees and drink. Love came to us. It is at our feet. When you stare ahead and notice the distance between you and who you think you ought to be, the perilous journey you assume must be traveled alone is paralyzing. If you look down, you'll notice the good enough God has made that journey for you. And you will see that there are others kneeling down and drinking on your left and right, shoulder to shoulder, pressed against each other.