26 May - Persisting in our purpose
"First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your story. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice." - Octavia Butler
As in all other things, when we, as Christians, seek to define and understand persistence we first must consider the way in which Christ was persistent.
During his time on earth, among us, Jesus lived, loved and laughed. He wept alongside some and he had joy amidst others. He was human, living and breathing flesh that experienced the full-range of creation's wonder. This human, however, had a divine purpose, a mission to which he was dedicated, in which he persisted and for which he ultimately sacrificed... everything.
The events in the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus weeps and pleads with God to 'let this cup pass me by', has rightly resonated with many believers throughout the ages. Here we encounter a Christ at arguably his most human moment, where that emotion to which all of us have been beholden, fear, causes Jesus to consider the possibility of not fulfilling his divine purpose. We find a Jesus that is doubting whether the original intent for which he came is worth the suffering that he must endure. Now suffering is a theme that is intricately interwoven with the Christian faith. Our heroes are often those who were persecuted and tortured, our saints seem to have lived lives of sacrifice and our martyrs are all defined by their deaths. It seems that we admire these figures, partly at least, because we struggle to understand how they remained motivated, how they were so persistent.
This same persistence we encounter when we reread the tale of Gethsemane, that amidst this divine doubt Christ is unwilling to not let God's will be done, and it is also this persistence to which Peter calls his readers when he tells them 'rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ'. Peter seems to know, to understand, that in their current suffering questions of doubt and uncertainty may start to overwhelm the community. However, rather than an attempt to refute their doubts or answer their questions, Peter encourages them to remain dedicated, faithful and even joyous.
Persistence isn't glorious but rather somewhat mundane. It is the ability to remain true and faithful to a central goal, mission or purpose, while living in a world where the next challenge resides just around the corner. Creation is saved because Christ persisted in his purpose and may we persist in making Christ our purpose.