Sunday 9 May 2021
Readings: Acts 10:44-48; John 15:9-17
Geoff Chittenden is preaching at the 8am and 9:15am services.
Rev. Trev Bell is preaching at the 11am and 5pm services.
Real is ALWAYS better
I’ve got a lovely fake flower arrangement in my living room. They’re fake proteas, an unusual flower which I just love. I got them arranged in a fancy vase I got for my 30th birthday, with some great fake greenery alongside them. I’m pleased with how they turned out and being fake they look today the same as the day I bought them.
However, recently a friend of mine gave me a bunch of real proteas. The pink is gorgeous, the soft texture of the petals mesmerizing, the intricate yet dense insides of the flower itself inimitable, and the deep green leaves that both conceal and at the same time makes the flowers ‘pop’ add to its excellence. I love it all! And as I’ve been enjoying this gift, smiling every time I stop to admire them, it has been to me also an important life reminder: real is always better than fake. Yes, real has a cost, for it means I do need to water and care for them. Yes, real means there might be some mess and they don’t stay the same forever. But stood alongside my fake arrangement, I know hands down which one I’d keep if there were only room for one. There’s no contest: Real is always better.
It’s a truth not simply for flowers, but for us in life as well. We often feel like we need to hide parts of ourselves away, presenting only the version of ourselves we think other people want us to be. Sometimes we even try to play that game with God, hiding from him when we are confronted with our guilt, or holding secret our questions and doubts instead of wrestling over them with Him. When we do that, we have fallen trap to the fake us instead of living in the freedom of the real us. For the reality is we are all limited, all needy and all messy all at the same time. And yet, in that reality, precious, priceless, loved. If you’re not sure about that, can I encourage you to pick up your bible and read again Psalm 139 and Romans 8.
We’ve been falling into the fake trap since Genesis 3. And I think perhaps the central reason we keep trying to do this stems from our pride: we don’t want to look needy, weak, or like we haven’t got it all together. And we don’t want to admit and own when we have messed up. But the good life can only be lived when we are real, with ourselves, others, and God. We can’t know ourselves to be really loved unless we allow ourselves to be really known. And mercy and grace (even when offered!) can only be received when we acknowledge our need for it.
We are made to do life together – together with God and together with one another. And as in flowers, so in life: real is always better than fake!
Rev Karen Reid