Saturday, January 27, 2007

One and Two

I've been mulling over the words that a pastor friend spoke in a sermon last Sunday. In his beginning of a series on fasting, he said that we, as Americans and Westerners, are very individualistic in our faith. Kat and I have been, as some well know, wading through the often boggy waters of transition in searching out a church community. I can't help thinking, though, that there are foundations of knowledge that God is building in us during this time that we can't fathom yet, but the whole bit has caused me to look well at community.

A chord of three strands is not quickly broken, but I spend my time tying off my heart-strings one by one. My swordsmanship is not practiced in the company of the other squires, but we are told to talk about it when we sit at home, when we walk along the road. I have, in truth, spent very little time worshipping in community in comparison to the time I've spent bemoaning my lack of community. It is usually because I am quite afraid of the next man, as if his deep life-piercing scars were somehow either less destructive or more glamorous than my own. In my meetings with the other missionaries going to Scotland, I've realized how much I've avoided my own testimony as to the wonder of the Lord to show me mercy and breath the Holy Spirit upon me. My worry has always been that my testimony (as if I could squeeze even my life, especially what God has done for me, into even five minutes) is too non-descript. I've never really been wasted lying in a gutter and watched a glowing messenger of the Lord extend his shiny hand to me. And yet again, the most gossip-worthy parts of my life are things that I would not want my brothers and sisters, on the whole, to know about. But let me here say that part of Jesus making riches of my rags is the encouragement of the saints (even and especially the potential ones).

So why this aloneness? Why this silence at home and on the road? Why American Idol and American dreams instead of the beauty of how far God has walked with us, carried us, dragged us indeed kicking and screaming? The times I remember feeling the closest to Jesus were, to my memory, spent around and facilitated by other people. So why the isolation? Does it come of living in Suburbia with identical houses and televisions that give us filtered news about the other side of the world when we really need news to help our next-door neighbors with the things that make them weep? Does it come of too many movies about Arnold or Clint or Val being the one man against the world, bearing all his secrets and responsibilities alone? Does it stem from our failures as fathers and sons?

I think the answer might be yes, and no, to all. But let the truth be clear. We are not alone (wow, that sounds like I've been watching the X-files). We, at least in the Church, the Bride of Christ, are all members of one Body. We are connected in ways that we cannot imagine, and that make no sense in this Post-modern world where Material is god, but Gnosis is popular. Let me not exclude solitude, which has its place and is neither lonely nor alone. Read some Richard Foster for more explanation on that. But even in the times when we feel forsaken, we are, like Job, to cling stubbornly to faith that God is listening.

Resources:

Richard Foster.

Ecclesiastes; Chapter 3, 4.

Deuteronomy; Chapter 6.


Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam.

-Tolkein

2 Comments:

and Blogger adam addressed the Senate...

celebration of discipline is such a great book. we have a "classics" shelf on one of our (many) bookcases in the house and c.o.d. is on it.

i was thinking i similar thoughts to this the other day. we teach @ metanoia about the three purposes of the church (the three are also the basic rhythms of the christian faith and also the main categories on my blog. hehehe): communion, community and commission. of the three, community comes hardest to me. i think it is, in part, because i am so sycretized with the american/western/cavaliere culture that i pursue my faith individually. it's staggering to remember that the bible was written in the context of communal spirituality...

5:58 AM, January 29, 2007  
and Blogger Whipple addressed the Senate...

In writing this, I couldn't forget the passage where the Book of the Law was found and Ezra read it (all day long, I believe) before the people. And they wept because of how far they had fallen. I can't tell you the times I've wept over that very thing.

9:04 PM, January 30, 2007  

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