June is the month of transparency.
Growth is robust, but here are still holes. Gaps between plants. Spaces where foliage leaks teasing scraps of light. Rows are looking single-file in the garden, and tiny corn plants can claim no secret mazes.
And the petals of June are the most transparent of all. Irises send up flags which declare, not nationality, but vulnerability. Crepe paper poppies make no pretense that they can block the view. Peonies absorb light like their last meal, and don't bother to close the blinds - shadows of their underwear, their every secret thought, are reflected in high relief upon the flimsy walls of their castle gates, for every neighbour to view.
The church could learn a lot from June's transparency...
Churches are full of people - not holy ones, but holey, bent and broken from the lives they struggle to lead. And yet somehow, they manage to project an image of solidity, of self-sufficiency, of walls and towers and impenetrable structure, all in an effort to prove that since they know Jesus, they are a rock and an island, all rolled into one neat and tidy package.
I grew up feeling that since I knew Jesus, I had all the answers. I had to somehow show the world that when I got cut, I didn't bleed. That my bruises didn't purple me. That fear and failure and things that go bump in the night couldn't send me shivering to my covers. That Christians dared not show weakness or failure or vulnerability, because then we were proclaiming since Jesus wasn't enough to hold us, He was certainly no clear option for anyone seeking Him from outside the fold. Transparency as a concept was more like room-darkening shades than sheer curtains.
What hog manure.
If we don't allow God's light to shine through us, how can we expect to know ourselves? And if we don't know ourselves honestly, how will we effect change in someone else?
The little white name-tag on my lapel should read - Hello, my name is Melody. I am weak. I trip up.
I own my share of dirty little secrets and irrational fears. I hide behind arrogance and pride and terror and excuses and I don't love well because I am just now learning what real love means and I don't have all the answers and I feel woefully inadequate as a parent, and as a person. I wish I could fit all of this onto my name-tag so that you would know that I am just like you - no more, no less.
I am learning that setting aside the full onslaught room-darkening shades for sheer curtains is terrifying. Unnerving. Horribly like undressing in full view of the neighbours. But if we the church don't come out of the dark places and reflect some genuine transparency, how will the world know the difference Jesus can make in our dark places?
Friend, are you someone others can see through? Or do your petals do more to block God's light than reflect and display it?
It's time. Time to turn transparency into something to see through.
Will it begin with you?