Pr. Jaynan Clark
May 8, 2013
Though I was not actually celebrating the new news that came forth from a medical study that revealed that those who are glass half-full people tend to die at an earlier age than glass half-empty; I was reassured that my position as a “realist” may not be life threatening.
I don’t test optimistic or pessimistic on all the personality indicators but I do come out pretty extraverted and energetic and imaginative. Some would associate those qualities with being positive and optimistic but then if they hear me preach or engage in conversation or read something I’ve written they swing to the opinion that I may be a glass half-empty, lurking pessimist. In actuality, I’m neither. I’m just a realist. As a follower of Jesus Christ crucified at the hand of His own and raised in spite of our best efforts to bury Him—how can I be anything but a realist? When God faces “man” (even in womanly form) we kill Him and call it good. That is our sin, our ambition, our so-called free-will which is always bound to cause our self-destruction.
Yes, as a realist, I believe that the doctrine of original sin is solid and Biblical and stands side by side with the only “theology” we have as Christians, that being the “Theology of the Cross.” Our wills are bound to ourselves and our sin; Jesus will is free, authoritative and ultimately our only hope and life itself. This is neither positive nor negative, optimistic or pessimistic but rather just reality, whether we accept it as such or not.
If the half-full, power of positive thinkers are dying earlier it may be a sign that denial is harder on you than depression. It may indicate that trying to always spin your context to find the good actually leaves you in harm’s way of the impending evil. Perhaps endorphins and other such chemicals churning inside are limited in their effectiveness if we refuse to engage in the reality on the outside that surrounds us daily in this world groaning in travail.
Obviously Jesus was not a half-full, optimistic, hurrah kind of guy. While the crowds gathered to hear Him and were amazed by His teaching the content of what He delivered was more often a slap in the face or a hit over the head or a swat to the behind than it was a well orchestrated motivational soliloquy. He continuously upped the anty so that all were left to ponder that they too had sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Go figure. Nobody, especially the prominent, promoted, pious elders, scribes and leaders got a pass. All knees were or are or shall be made to bend; realistically speaking.
Perhaps we refer to Jesus present in His meal, the Lord’s Supper, as the “real presence” because Jesus Himself even before being hung on the cross was the ultimate realist. It was this that got Him hung out there to not only dry but to die. He refused to pretend that His Father’s world was all beauty and butterflies, He refused to deny the presence of evil and the suffering it inflicts, He refused to leave the lost ones lost and religious found. Every opportunity was a face-off for Jesus with those who mistakenly thought that any authority was theirs. Every encounter was a gifting of forgiveness and healing to the repentant and a removal of blessing from the self-elevated. Every moment was a reflection of who God the Father really is and how different His kingdom is from the ones we build with our own hands.
To deny the real presence of Jesus Christ as sole/soul authority over all things present, past and future, all the earth, heaven and under the earth is to miss the dim reflection in the mirror of what it means to be truly human. Owned by the Divine. Here where hopes crash into disappointments, goals collide with failed opportunity, relationship transpire into warzones, and death swallows up life in an instances the contents of the glass both empty and over flowing stands real and ready and resurrected.
Shattered glass scattered around your feet; kneel down in prayer in the midst of your brokenness knowing that no cross could hold Him, no tomb could encase Him, the gates of Hell could not bar Him because He is never half of anything but fully poured out for you, for your forgiveness, for live now and not yet. A true reality check.