From the Kitchen Window - Reality
Words by David Hollows
Did you know that the moon appears up-side down in Australia?
Also, that in Australia the constellations are up-side down as well?
Did you also know that in the International Space Station, in order to find the position of the stars such as The Bear and The Plough, the position of the earth is used to make the search easier?
Did you know that in the age range 18 to 25 the number of newly formed cells in your body balances the dying ones but after 25 the ageing process means that more cells die than are replaced?
This is reality!
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin via Unsplash
In the media there is the phrase, reality-check, which means that someone, somewhere presents an element of reality which can be proven or otherwise but which can also be accepted whether it is a certainty or not.
Reality may not be the same for you as it could be for your friend. The TV reality shows demonstrate the miss-match of the reality for most of us and the few. The trained scientist will see something very different to the non-specialist when looking down a microscope and the reality of an Intensive Care Unit during Covid-19 times is a very different reality to those protestors outside the same hospital.
Reality is the lens through which we see our lives and the world in which we live and this lens is often determined by age, wealth, social background, education. ethnicity and career.
Following the storming of the Congress buildings in Washington DC on January 6th, the comment was made that the response to the event by the security people may well have been a different reality if the protestors had not been white.
The reality of those in the summer of 2020 who engaged in the project to support the hospitality industry, ‘eat out to help out’ is a different reality to those in other employment sectors who work full time and still rely on Foodbanks to feed their children.
The reality of those children able to access on-line learning is different to the reality of the family in Leeds which the headteacher of a local primary school encountered in the autumn, as one child could not attend school on a certain day because another child in the same family was wearing the only pair of shoes to school that day.
The reality of the financial situation of Chorley FC is greatly different to that of teams such as Liverpool and the Manchester teams.
Doubtless, you can think of many other examples where the reality for one is not the same as that for another.
Faith is another form of reality which is often seen through a different lens: for many people faith is naive, a failed strategy, a struggle not worth the effort, it does not deliver or it is a prop for the weak and vulnerable. Whereas for those with faith (no matter the religion) this is a reality that determines a certain lifestyle and attitudes which are represented in the ways we treat other people. However, this does not mean that the extreme views of the militant believers are acceptable and religious practices are often determined by the reality of the living – out of the faith in accordance with the expectations of the chosen religious life-style.
The Bible is very clear about the reality of God: the Genesis narrative places God as the central reality to faith and the whole of creation, ‘In the beginning God .....’
The Bible also clearly demonstrates that God sees and understands the reality of the human condition; He stops the building of the Tower of Babel because of the pride exhibited in those involved (Genesis chapter 11) and God calls Noah to save his family and the human race when God can no longer accept the reality of the ways in which people live their lives (Genesis chapter 6).
In the Exodus narrative, God sees the oppression of His people and Moses is called to set them free (Exodus chapter 3) and God also uses Esther to save His people. In the David and Bathsheba affair, God sees the reality of a broken and repentant king following the death of the baby (2 Samuel chapter 12) as He does when He meets with the desperate Elijah (1 Kings chapter 19).
In the ministry of Jesus, reality is a key feature as Jesus sees the condition of people and deals with it. So Jesus heals the sick, the blind and the lame. He forgives those who need forgiveness in order to move on in life; He forgives the man on the mat before the healing comes (Mark chapter 2) and the woman caught in possible adultery (John chapter 8) Jesus feeds the hungry, He challenges the fraudsters such as Zaccheaus and He sees beyond the reality of pain and grief caused by the death of his friend, Lazarus. (John chapter 11).
Reality is also a key component for Thomas who only believes the resurrection when he meets Jesus (John chapter 21) the reality of true faith comes to Saul when his eyes are opened (Acts chapter 9) and Rhoda has to see Peter in real-life before she will allow him access from the gate to the house (Acts chapter 12).
So, for those of us who believe, what is the reality of our faith?
This person in my family died and God did not answer my prayers. Where was God when I needed Him in a particularly difficult time of my life? I needed that promotion and He knew why.
How can a loving God allow such pain and so many broken lives? You will be able to think of many other reasons and situations which have caused people you know to walk away from God and the reality of faith is that God allows us to ask such questions.
However, the reality of faith is such, that for those of us who have faith, then God promises to be with us; He may not appear to be there and be distant, He may not give us the demands of our prayers and requests, nevertheless He never walks away. Here is His promise:
‘I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, not, not, in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake you nor let you down.’ (Hebrews chapter 13 verse 5).
You may find this hymn useful:
Safe in the shadow of the Lord (Mission Praise 583)
You may find this prayer helpful:
Lord, you have called me to believe in you and serve you and I have tried. Sometimes I have neglected those who love me by spending too much time loving others and sometimes I have become weary and anxious by attempting to do more than I am able. Sometimes my loving words and actions are misconstrued or treated with suspicion and I am hurt so I lose patience with those I am trying to help and my faith is battered.
Lord, I know that my way of seeing things is not your way and my perspective on reality is different from yours as you see to the very heart of situations and people. Remind me that you have called me to tread the path of suffering love and the path to salvation, forgive me and love me as only you can do and fill me with your Spirit of hope and joy and peace. In the name of Jesus, I pray.
God bless you