Relationships are problematic. I’m struggling with the reality that there’s nothing to accomplish. Growing up, I played sports. I really liked to play, but the idea was also that I’d get better and we’d ascend heights in order to accomplish some goal and I had the privilege of attaining some lofty goals. In the work environment, the objective is to start in a career and, as you get better at that career, you ascend. Perhaps there’s a corporate ladder to climb or maybe other objectives laid out in front of you. Relationships are not like this. Relationships may involve 2 or more people working together toward a stated objective, but this isn’t really what relationships are about.
I don’t really have anyone to play catch with at the moment so sometimes I grab my baseball glove and a baseball. I throw it up into the air and I catch it. I’m not any better (or worse) at it than I was 10 years ago and there’s no championship at the end of the road. In fact, there is no road. There’s a trust, a comfort, and a delight built over many years. Perhaps, you say, this is quite odd that I’d compare a relationship with playing catch with myself. You’re quite right, actually. Except that in both, ascent can’t be measured.
When I think about this King, the thing that makes him the most glorious of all isn’t that he’s omni-everything (which he is), but that he’s omni-everything AND he’d lay that aside in order to descend. [I would argue that descent is the natural outflow of one who is actually omni-everything]. Every other god demands ascent – with the same probability of success as a man with two shattered femurs ascending Kilimanjaro. I even realized that I view a relationship with Jesus in this way – that being a Christian means I’m supposed to get better at life to ascend to… I don’t know… something – as if that’s the purpose of this relationship.
When I descend to pick up my glove, its ascent must follow. Not because of what it has done for me – am I not the one who animates the ball and glove? In the same way, when Jesus descended, his (and our) ascent must follow. Not to become champions above others, but to be with him. After all, is it not his Spirit that animates us?