Endings are a part of living. They mark out chapters of change, create divides, place fractures between a now and a then.
There are so many endings in our lives. And so many fractures. Bits of loss, bits of thought, corners of ourselves we don’t find out about until someone we meet uncovers them.
Endings separate the present from what was, and require us to learn new ways of being, distant from worlds we can no longer recover.
Endings make it a wonder that we can hold ourselves together; we are bundles of contradictions and fragmentation.
I’m not sure we can hold ourselves together.
In this time of a collective ending, there is solace in Jesus. ‘He himself is our peace’, who destroys barriers and the ‘dividing wall of hostility’ (Ephesians 2).
In Jesus there are no walls, not really. When he is resurrected, he appears in locked rooms (John 20). He is present, and he offers peace.
I don’t think it is a coincidence these things happen together. The promise and hope of Jesus is peace, coherence and wholeness in our division and fragmentation. Jesus is present with us, and he offers reconciliation; holding the divides and fractures of creation together in Himself.
We may find ourselves in locked rooms in a very real sense, or in the way of fear. Both senses applied to the disciples in the locked room. And yet Jesus is able to cross every sort of divide, offer peace in every place we seal off from the rest of the world.
In Jesus all things hold together (Colossians 1). Jesus, beginning and end, alpha and omega (Revelation 21). All creation is his. Jesus, Creator and Redeemer.
And Jesus does not do wholeness by reduction. Does not achieve peace by erasing divides. His resurrection does not undo his crucifixion, does not undo his death. Instead he brings life in death. Holds it together in himself.
Throughout the New Testament we read the phrase ‘in Christ’, ‘in Christ’, ‘in Christ’. Always, everywhere, everything ‘in Christ’. I’ve always thought it slightly odd.
But I think it means that when we are in Christ, what once took place ‘in Christ’ is applicable to us. In Christ, things hold together, I am held together. In Christ, everything holds together.
It is why we ask healing ‘in Christ’, find peace ‘in Christ’. It is why ‘if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!’ (2 Corinthians 5). In Christ, creation is redeemed.
I’ve recently noticed a tendency (an unpleasant one) of wanting to ‘sanitise people’, fit them into neat boxes, and make them accord with my own thinking or expectations. I find it hard when I don’t understand someone, when parts of them feels inaccessible or unknown.
I am wondering what it means to take seriously the promise of reconciliation in Christ.
The gospels record Jesus crossing divides, meeting people who are difficult, broken, marginalised, find themselves outsiders for whatever reason.
As Christians we are called to love others as we are loved. Jesus crosses every divide to be present with us, to offer peace. He crosses heaven and earth and time and the walls of death.
We are called to this same love, love which covers divides, and unknowns, every place we feel sealed off from. Always, everywhere, in everything we are called to be present, and offer peace.
This week is five years since I was baptised. In many ways I feel the same, and at the same time I feel like I no longer recognise who I was. Endings are a part of living.
In Christ though, I am held together.
I hope I find ways to truly rest and be in Christ. And in Christ, I hope to be with others. Fit my boxes, thinking, and expectations to Christ and not vice versa.
In him, everything holds together.