Summary: Have you fallen over and over again in your Christian walk? It could be that all this falling is meant to draw out of you all that is impure so that God can refine you

Becoming refined

She was born Feb 2, 1929 as Patricia Routledge but you may know her best from her television personality as Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet). She is the middle class wife who has upper class aspirations. She is the lead character of the British television series called - Keeping up Appearances

Her conflict is that she is middle class but her extended family is lower middle class and in fact more nearly the socially inept class. This all makes for great comedy as we see her sisters and brother in law visit her upscale middle class home when they leave their government housing project.

Unfortunately the visits usually occur when she is entertaining the gentry; the nearly well to do such as a retired Army Major, or the new Vicar, or the cousin of an Earl or Duke. The mayhem that ensues creates wonderful laughter as we see Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet) trying to maintain composure and proper English refinement through every disastrous scenario. Every time she tries to put on airs someone lets it out of her tire.

She is in a world that restricts her from where she would like to live because of the class she was born into. What is wonderful is that we can all laugh at ourselves through the life of Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet) as she makes one attempt after another to climb the social ladder. Her life is an effort to become refined enough to reach the upper class where she believes she belongs.

I was struck this week by how much like Hyacinth we Christians sometimes are. We share a similar aspiration in that we do not want to remain the fallen broken people of the sinner class. We Christians aspire to be more like Jesus Christ. We seek to rise above our mortal failings and limitations hoping to arrive in the company of the divine.

In many ways our lives as Christians can be a comedy of errors and maybe even arrogance as we are viewed from outsiders. We must give folks a lot to laugh at as they see us try again and again to live like Jesus only to fall flat on our faces. Just like Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet) we put a lot of human effort into what is meant to be the transformation of our worldly station and instead get caught up in the physical transformation that often disappoints.

So this brings me to a couple of questions. Have you fallen down lately in your Christian walk? Have you been trying to aspire to Christ-likeness by your own efforts?

Do people laugh at us (Christians) because we try or because they see us fall repeatedly? It may be that they do not understand the aspiration that is driving us towards refinement.

The Bible says in Psalm 66:10 NIV For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. Our God wants us to be like Jesus and in order for that to happen we have to be refined like silver. In ancient times it was a long process that involved as many as seven steps and a lot of heat, melting and re-melting.

Have you noticed that you have fallen over and over again in your Christian walk maybe as many as seven times or more? It could be that all this falling is meant to draw out of you all that is impure so that God can refine the pure silver that is within you.

The problem with falling is that occasionally we bump into someone who is close to us and our fall can cause them to be bruised or knocked about as we make our way down.

When it happens to someone like Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet) we see the comedy as an observer and not the tragedy that she would see it as.

Our fall as Christians may produce laughter from time to time to those who are watching us. They may in fact be brought to tears as they howl at our efforts. What they do not see is that our fall from time to time can bring real tears to the ones we love who are affected by our missteps along the way. It is tragic when a Christian falls and brings harm to those who are closest to them. But what is heroic is that those around such Christians bruised by the falling one lovingly lift them back to their feet knowing they are being refined.

Life is a wonderful mix of joy and tears of hurt and healing of trial and error. What we must keep in mind is that everyone around us is being refined from time to time. Some of us are just starting out and are raw silver ore while others may be nearer the final melting pot ready to be poured into the mould of Christ.

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