9 months today.
They say (you know ‘them’ – the ones who seem to have infallible knowledge about numerous topics), that anniversaries are hard for those who mourn a loved one,and especially the first anniversaries. Christmas, birthdays, wedding, and of course the anniversary of the day the loved one died; apparently these can be especially sucky times (more sucky than day-to-day life without your loved one?!). Sadly for me and my family we aren’t fortunate enough to have these dates spread out…in fact, they all fall within a 2-3 month period.
22nd December: our wedding anniversary
25th December: Christmas
3rd February: my birthday
26th February: day Matthew died
11th March: Matthew’s birthday
Of course, at the time we thought it would be great to have all of these special occasions close together – who wouldn’t want 3 months of organised parties and celebrations?!
Not any more.
That’s a lot of pain in a very short space.
I am not entirely sure what the next four months will bring. I can only imagine how hard it is going to be not having Matt by my side at Christmas time and celebrating our first wedding anniversary alone.
We just had no idea . . .
At the moment I am being super challenged by the following excerpt from David Platt’s book, ‘Radical’.
Actually, I am being challenged by the whole book. I highly recommend it.
We live in a church culture that has a dangerous tendency to disconnect the grace of God from the Glory of God. Our hearts resonate with the idea of enjoying God’s grace. We bask in sermons, conferences, and books that exalt a grace centering on us. And while the wonder of grace is worthy of our attention, if that grace is disconnected from its purpose, the sad result is a self-centred Christianity that bypasses the heart of God.
If you were to ask the average Christian sitting in a worship service on Sunday morning to summarise the message of Christianity, you would most likely hear something along the lines of “The message of Christianity is that God loves me.” Or some might say, “The message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send his Son, Jesus, to die for me.”
As wonderful as this sentiment sounds, is it biblical? Isn’t it incomplete, based on what we have seen in the Bible? “God loves me” is not the essence of biblical Christianity. Because if “God loves me” is the message of Christianity, then who is the object of Christianity?
God loves me.
Christianity’s object is me.
Therefore, when I look for a church, I look for the music that best fits me and the programs that best cater to me and my family. When I make plans for my life and career, it is about what works best for me and my family. When I consider the house I will live in, the car I will drive, the clothes I will wear, the way I will live, I will choose according to what is best for me. This is the version of Christianity that largely prevails in our culture.
But it is not biblical Christianity.
The message of biblical Christianity us not “God loves me, period,” as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of biblical Christianity is “God loves me so that I might make him – his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness – known among all nations.” Now God is the object of our faith, and Christianity centres around him. We are not the end of the gospel; God is.
What does it look like to live life in a manner worthy of the gospel? It looks like dying with Christ to one’s self and being raised in Christ to walk in the newness of life with our brothers and sisters. It means living grace-filled lives that grant patience and mercy and gentleness for the spiritual journeys of others and a respect for the differences and idiosyncrasies we all bring to the Lord’s table.
– Matt Chandler, ‘To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain’