I really do hate falling down. Yesterday I fell in the kitchen. There was no banana peel on the floor to make me slip. Not a grape or a kalamata olive. I fell through no fault of any squishy piece of fruit on the floor. And I fell through no fault of my own, although I have to say that every time I fall or hurt myself in any way, Fred gently scolds me for being careless.
Well, yesterday I was not careless. I just fell in the kitchen with potholders in both hands. Good thing I had those grimy old potholders. My right hand potholder won the day because it broke my fall when I grabbed for the oven handle. So I only fell halfway, not all the way to the floor. A gracious gift!
Isn’t this a picture of life, all this falling? Over and over again, we nearly fall. And in between times of nearly falling, we really fall.
We fall hard sometimes. We fall all the way to hard ground sometimes. Sometimes we fall just part of the way to the ground. Sometimes we get hurt badly, and sometimes we can brush it off and move on as if it never happened.
Falling is not all bad. We learn a few things by falling:
- We learn that people are often nearby to help us get up.
or that no one is around to help us get up.
- We learn that we can get up all by ourselves most of the time.
- We learn that moving or twisting a certain way is a fall waiting to happen.
- We learn not to be so careless.
- We learn how not to do it again.
And we learn that there is someone always near us who can keep us from falling, someone who is mentioned in the tiny New Testament epistle we know as Jude. In one of the most beautiful benedictions in all of the Bible, Jude gives praise to this One who keeps us from falling, “the only God our Savior.”
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25 NRSV)
It’s one thing to be protected from falling. It’s quite another to “stand without blemish in the presence of God’s glory.”
That place where we stand without blemish is a sacred place, holy because of the presence of God, safe because of the protection of God. It is a good place to stand.
Thanks be to God.