Thursday, November 11, 2021

The "Authority" of Christina Grimmie's Joyful Love

The origin of this picture was a screenshot from a video on Christina Grimmie's YouTube channel. It was through living human interaction and passionate music performances, as well as videos, social media, and recordings, that she gave herself during the past decade - gifts of love that have remained accessible and vital even now, five years and five months since she went home to the Lord. Her offering of herself and her remarkable talents along with her ordinary life with its many facets has - if anything - grown in power, authority, and capacity to touch the hearts of people since that day. It was then that Christina's commitment to God - her mission freely discerned and taken up - was fulfilled "to the end." She lived out to its completion, and in all its mysterious depths, her vocation to give glory to Jesus through "secular" popular music, and to love and accompany people in many places throughout the world (especially those who are wounded people, poor people, suffering people, or people in particular loneliness who need to experience that Someone loves them with an everlasting love). 

Christina's gift of herself continues to bear fruit today. For a young person, she had an unusual maturity in her conviction and persistence in loving others (even when the means she used were gestures full of youthful spontaneity and fun), because her love was grounded in her confidence in the redeeming mercy and tenderness of Jesus. Now that her "offering of her life" is completed in Him, the "authority" (the convincing power) of her love and joy becomes more evident. She is for us a "sign" of His love for us, and she is "closer to us" now even if - paradoxically - she has for a time passed beyond our sight. Still, she has left glimpses of herself in this world: so many pieces of media sound and imagery that extend to us even now the love stamped with her own unique personality, while also given as a witness to the God who has become incarnate - who has come to dwell with us and wants to stay with us

Thus, these pictures (see above and also below, the latter screenshots from videos variously posted on YouTube from 2015 European Tour) and the many other "virtual jewels" we have from her luminous life stand out from the overwhelming bombardment of sights, sounds, and information that pour over us every day. There is a freshness and a surprise and a mysterious personal quality that endures in them, and even grows with the passage of time and continues to "meet us" as our own earthly lives continue and we engage new challenges.

These images of Christina are precious to me, and reach me today in the fragility and anxieties of difficult circumstances I am going through right now, with the recent loss of my own parents, the changes in the rhythm of life at home as my kids grow up, the ongoing frustrations with my chronic illness, and the new and strange challenges of growing older. But Christina walks with me and engages my humanity even now, in part through so many vital images. They are not only "from the past" as if they were the remains of something inexorably lost, that provokes only nostalgia and, ultimately, sadness. They are a "presence" here and now, as extensions of Christina's joyful, loving gaze that reaches me, so that I feel "seen" and "known" in a remarkable way by someone I never met in this world. They have a kind of "authority" and special value in helping me remember that I am loved

Christina made all these gestures to us and gave all her attention to us in these moments from out of a great love for Jesus (which does not therefore bypass us, but precisely for this very reason includes us without limits or boundaries). She reached out to us from her own experience of His love (which is always present, always wanting us, always healing, forgiving, redeeming, transforming us); thus all the expressions of her life so rich in humanity and goodness have been woven together into a witness and an affection that still touches us, encourages us, and draws us closer to the Mystery of Infinite Love. Her beautiful face has joined its gaze on us to the One whose human face looks with love on every person, who cherishes each and all of us and has called us to share in unending joy. (Once again, Christina, I am so grateful to you!💚)