It’s one of those words that makes middle-schoolers giggle, especially when it’s said in church. It’s one we tend to go past quickly in polite company. But, right now, it feels like we need something deeper than polite conversation, so we’re going to risk naming it and talking about it freely. The word? Naked.
This Sunday, in the first chapter of Job, we’ll hear about a man who has lost almost everything. He loses his possessions, his home, and his children. His loss and grief are beyond what many of us can fathom. And in his grief, Job cries out to the Lord, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there” (1:21). He has plummeted to the depths of the human experience. He is exposed, raw, and knows his ultimate vulnerability before God. This is the place from which Job’s journey through suffering begins.
What extraordinary wisdom.
I wonder, if for too long, we have covered up what needs to be exposed. We cover our fear of others by surrounding ourselves with people who will help us remain comfortable. We cover our feelings of powerlessness to meet the needs of those suffering around us by blaming the sufferer, claiming to be without responsibility for the sufferer, or avoiding them altogether. We cover our own suffering with facades of strength and cheerfulness.
What if we joined Job in his nakedness? What if we spoke of our fears, our powerlessness and our own suffering? What if God moved us to this raw, vulnerable, exposed place with others we trust? Could we begin to love ourselves and love one another from that place of vulnerability? Where might God take our relationship with God and one another if we risked it together?
See you Sunday…