As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come.
- 2 Timothy 4:5-6
Sometimes I feel I am not enjoyed easily. It makes more sense to pair me with something sweeter or stabler or just more palatable.
I find I often bring friction where it is unnecessary but am weirdly pliable and slippery when I need to be firmer—like some unwelcome, non-Newtonian side dish.
Or perhaps like medicine that isn't all that strong. I rack the tongue with harsh cherry or "punch" flavoring only to provide mild relief.
I bring no buzz or bubbles. What I offer is a whole lot of noise followed by deep timidness and retraction of what is valuable or unique in my words.
I suppose I lack the illustrious criminal record of the apostle whose voice the author of 2 Timothy is borrowing (as Paul was shipwrecked, beaten, imprisoned, executed, etc.). In the light of the Jesus movement's radicalism, my discipleship can sometimes feel a little vanilla. Perhaps as I seek to be a real advocate I make the real mistake of glorifying the response of the world, not the ministry of reconciliation. I'm skipping right through the discipleship to convict myself.
I wonder if, like 2 Timothy's Paul, a transfiguration might be in order. Perhaps a libation, not as escape but as the bottle around which friends gather, could do more communal healing than social Tylenol. Perhaps in overflowing love one accesses the holy commonwealth more clearly through actual interactivity than through interaction prescribed by duty. Perhaps in offering more of the embarrassing wholeness actual solidarity might be found. And in this solidarity, in this interwovenness, the real danger of Christianity is taken up not as a heavy yoke but as a joy—a blessing in matters as great as martyrdom and as mundane as a meal shared with friends.