If you had hung around Jesus for three years the way
His closest disciples did, what would you have come
away with ?
Perhaps you would have come to know the upside-down
way that Jesus saw the world. Jesus taught that we
experience God in counterintuitive ways. Paradoxes
are seemingly contradictory statements that reveal
truth, and Christianity is full of them.
That used to bother me. I like things to be “neat
and tidy.” But when I got beyond resisting the
ambiguity and living without having to “pigeon-hole”
everything, then I realized that these paradoxes go
far beyond standard teaching. They really make me
think and struggle with what I really believe.
means beyond and
means a belief or something that is taught. The
real power of a paradox is that it takes us beyond
the standard teachings of what we have come to
know. Nothing matters – everything matters, is a
paradox, because it contradicts itself. Thomas
Aquinas was a 13th
century theologian who changed the course of
Christian thinking. After spending most of his
lifetime writing important theological works, he
said, “My works are like straw.” Then he quit
writing. Soon afterward, he died. He was really
saying, “Everything that I have done up to this
point is as nothing in the face of God’s greatness.
My words might mean something to others, but to God,
they are a pittance.” Everything he did mattered,
but in absolute humility Aquinas recognized that it
really did not matter as much as we might think.
Everything had mattered to him, but he knew that
from God’s perspective it did not really matter.
Maybe my life does not matter as much as I
thought it did. Maybe I am not as important as I
seem to make myself.
So what if I do not turn out to be the greatest
human being ever ? What if I end up being only
average ? Does that matter to God ? Then I thought
about the other side of the statement: Everything
matters. If I act like nothing matters, then I turn
into a human slug who contributes nothing to life. I
cannot go through life treating everything as
nothingness. If I do that, then my service to God
dies. What I do matters. Such is the tension in
living with paradox.
Blessings ! ~