Wednesday, July 14, 2010

VBS Homework: Hearing Jesus

Read Matthew 4:18-22

Following Jesus - We all have different experiences when it first comes to "hearing" about/ from Jesus. What's yours?

I have something to admit. I have avoided talking directly to Jesus for most of my life. It's not that I didn't believe in him. When I get down to it, I have always believed in Him. It's that he didn't make sense to me. Most people have trouble understanding the Trinity because they don't get the Holy Spirit, or they don't like the idea of God as the Father. But I'm different. I have a great dad, so God as Father is comforting. Always has been. And the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells in me, flows through me, bounces around in the world, and infuses our lives makes perfect sense to me. His presence natural. His absence scary.

Yet I have struggled with getting Jesus. I decided early on in my prayer life that God loved me enough that he wouldn't hold it against me when I didn't pray, " Jesus' name, amen." My reason for refusing to pray in this manner was also my confusion as to how he even worked. If he is God and man, why can I not just go ahead and talk to God, like talking to the CEO instead of the vice CEO? In my maturing of faith over the years, I have settled into including Jesus in the mix, but when I read The Shack, I finally had an analogy that worked for me. A friend in Jesus - cheesy, corny, just plain embarrassing - until I had permission to make him an old guy friend I could shoot the breeze with and talk to whenever I wanted. Now he's not so cheesy anymore; he's also not wearing long robes either, which helps.

I guess the reason I finally, openly, admit this difficulty with understanding Jesus all the while considering myself Christian is because I am guessing I am not alone. But doubting for me is also a form of curiosity which spurs me into a deeper, seeking faith with God. I don't want pity because I am a Christian that is at times uncomfortable with pieces of my faith. In the end, I am Christian, and I have always been Christian. I have had times where I have doubted, where I have felt confused, where I have wondered if I'd ever feel comfortable with the idea of three in one, where I believed and yet felt frustrated in choosing to believe in something I didn't understand. I have had times where I have told myself it's better to agree with Jesus just to be safe eternally, only to lecture myself that only admitting his existence on the surface as a form of self preservation was still doubt - not true belief. I have then soulfully gone back to the point of, okay, this isn't it; this struggle, this life, is not over at death. I cannot accept a fate so dire. And so, out of desperate need I choose to believe. Maybe this too is another form of self preservation, but it comes not from caring about covering my rear, but surviving while I drag my rear around in it's current condition.

When I was little, it was easy to be Christian; I sang songs, went to church, and played the heck out of some hand bells. As I became a teenager, I took pride in being Episcopalian, linking myself with the Catholics, and continuing along fairly easily. In college, I partied, and in late night deep philosophical discussions debated the existence of a divine being. In adulthood, I come back to where I started, minus the hand bells; only this time it's harder, the responsibility for my faith on my shoulders instead of my parents. And yet, it is where I do belong through all my searching, back to the place where I was raised, ultimately believing in Jesus, and a curious mind to continue learning more.

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