The Most Impossible Thing
Josh Bridges is a co-conspirator at Galileo Church, and a member of our Missional Logistics Team. In March 2019 he stood at the communion table and said this.
What is the most impossible thing you believe? The thing that takes every fiber of your being just to accept that it’s true? That one impossible thing that you dare to believe because having faith at all requires you to dare it? I’ve been asked that question a lot. Is it resurrection? The divinity of Christ? Miracles? Angels and demons? The flood story?
Last time I was asked this question, my answer was much more mundane than any of those. The most impossible thing I believe is that I’m loved by God.
I’ve been working to earn the love of people for as long as I can remember. About 24 years ago, my older brother had a falling out with my parents and moved out. At that time, my parents told me all the things I needed to be so that I wouldn’t be my brother: how to be the perfect son, perfect brother, perfect student. If I didn’t? Well, that was unspoken, but the implication was that I would be cast out of the family like he had been. My parents would never say they stopped loving him, but outside observers could probably say that. I didn’t want to lose what seemed to be the very conditional love of my parents.
I didn’t grow up in the church. But I found it as an adult and was warmly welcomed in, as long as I was the perfect Christian. So why not be that person? What was one more perfect label on top of the rest? If it meant the church would also love me, why not? Cuz that’s all I wanted: to know I was loved.
Many of you are familiar with the rest of that story. Oops! Too gay, not allowed in anymore. I failed. I wasn’t the perfect Christian, perfect brother, perfect son. I was still a damn good student, but that didn’t seem to matter. And if I wasn’t loved after all of those things I did, because I “failed” in this one way… then maybe God didn’t really love me either. The most impossible thing in the universe was that God could love me.
Then I came here. And right from the start, you had these blocks up here on the stage, declaring: “God’s love is real.” Yep, okay. Easy enough. “God’s love is worth it.” Okay, sure. I can get behind that. But the middle one? “God’s love is for you.” For me? Really? Are we sure? What do I have to do? How do I have to earn my way into the love of God? How do I work for it? Everything in my life told me that it had to be worked for first. The love of God is earned, not given.
But Galileo does this weird thing where we do communion every week. Where every week we stand here and welcome everyone to the table, regardless of what they have or haven’t done, what they have or haven’t contributed to the church. Every week we do this ritual where we proclaim that God’s love is for you and for me. Me. Somehow, we say that God’s love is for this person who tried his hardest to earn that love and still failed. Somehow, we, as a church, dare to believe the impossible. We dare to believe that God’s love is given to each and every one of us. That God’s love is big enough.
So it’s okay if you don’t believe that all right now. You’re still welcome at this table. The rest of us can believe in the impossible for you. Even now, I can believe in the impossible enough that maybe, just maybe, one day you can believe it, too.