Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lenten Journal Day 19

The Day I Got Saved....

It happened a long time ago, up on a hill, between two other guys....

I don't actually have a story for the day or moment or revelation of when or how I was saved. Growing up, my Sunday school teacher told us to tell people it happened a couple thousand years ago. I happened to be Episcopalian in a small town in the middle of the bible belt where being saved was important. There were rallies at school and whole hoards of kids would run down front to get saved by some visiting youth pastor for Young Life. The First Baptist Church always had a youth director at the football games and school activities. Being saved meant being a part of a group. I was a part of the rebellious crowd. The Catholics and Episcopalians.

Since we (the Catholics and Episcopalians) did not want to sit scattered on the bleachers every week at FCA while the rest of the student body joined in the middle of the gym to denounce Satan, we all joined the chess club. Under normal circumstances I would not admit such a social suicide, but in Maryville, it was the only way to avoid the weekly savings. Of souls. Many of my friends loved going to FCA. But not me.

This question - When were you saved? - has always made me uncomfortable. The Baptists of my life don't like the, "Well, you see, a couple thousand years ago, there was this guy named Jesus. Turned out He was God, and God's son, and He ...." That answer is just not enough.

Then, a few years ago, I went to an Alpha course. For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, click here. In the course there was a description of my question, "When were you saved?" The speaker's answer - Imagine riding on a train and dozing off. When you fell asleep you were in one country, but while you were sleeping, the train crossed a border and when you woke up, you were in a new country. While you can't account for the exact moment it happened, you know without a doubt you are in a new place.

This explanation helped, but it still didn't do it for me completely.

Next, I heard a sermon at my current church. A Bishop from Rwanda was speaking. (I go to an Anglican Church that is actually an African mission church under the Diocese of Rwanda. So this would be normal for us.) This bishop answered the same question again.

I listened on the edge of my seat.

He said for some, it is a moment. They can feel it. It is an experience.

For a few, they have no recollection. The those few, they are raised in the church and accept Christ. Their parents raised them to be believers, and they followed.

Imagine a road with Christians walking in one direction. Towards Christ. Non believers are walking the same road, but in the other direction. Away from Christ. Those that turn, and start walking towards Christ remember. Those that are born on the side of the road and continue in the same direction don't remember ever facing the other way. At first, as a baby, they are carried, then hold the hand of a parent, then eventually walk on their own. But always, always, they move towards Christ.

In my life, I have always faced in the direction of Christ. I was one of those born on the side of the road. I have had plenty of times I have looked back. I have talked with those, loved those, walking in the other direction. But while I have slowed or stopped to rest or considered the opposite way, I have not turned. Away. From Christ.

The part I absolutely adore, is Christ uses us all. The ones that turn towards Him, the ones that turn away, only to retrace steps, the ones that stop and question, the ones that whine, or march, or run, or crawl. He uses each of us to guide the other. We pass each other on this road. Sometimes we walk side by side. But wherever we are, we are all on the same road together. Believers and non believers. Old and young.

So now I'm ready to try this again...

Question - When did I get saved?

Answer - I don't know. I was born facing Christ, and while there are plenty of times I probably appear to be sticking out my tongue or complaining or turning round and round in circles or causing trouble in the ranks, I'm still aiming in that general direction.

Thank goodness He still offers me grace and even comes to walk beside me and guide my way.

Otherwise I'd totally be lost by now...


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