Monday, May 16, 2005

Come to Me

Every now and then, I come to the Bible and see it as alive again. I know it always is alive theologically speaking but most of the time, I don't think I really believe that. If I did, I would be reading it much more often than I actually do. That's not to say I should beat myself up for not reading it enough---because that would turn into being legalistic---but it is something when you realize again the very power and love that once drew you to God in the first place, is still well and active and living and moving.

When I read Jesus' words, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest," I can't think of a better way to sum up the entire empty space of ultimate need that all of us feel eventually in life. The kind of need that cries out "I'm tired...I'm fed up....I'm sick of trying to do things my way...I'm sick of trying to always be right...I'm tired of always trying to look presentable...I'm at the end of my rope, and I need help, please!" Everyone has these feelings and although I don't think I was necessarily feeling any of those things last night when I read this verse for the first time in a very long time, it did still give me comfort and hope and was the very words I needed to hear at that moment.

Madeleine L'Engle once wrote, "Our faith is a faith of vulnerability and hope, not a faith of suspicion and hate." I think my big goal in life right now is trying to make that a reality. Choosing the words that will build up, instead of the ones that would tear down. Looking for ways to find joy and peace and ways to bring people together, instead of living and breathing in the self-righteous and self-centered pompous air of judgmentalism. God is God over all creation, and His love stretches from and to "all corners of the cosmos." I just think I tend to forget that every morning I wake up. I keep forgetting and God---don't ask me why---keeps reminding me and loving me, despite this. I wonder if there will ever come a day when I remember all day this simple truth: that God loves me, this I know, for the Bible, tells me so.


Joe Wallace said...

Neville (and Jamin and Shorb...and I guess everyone else too):

I don't think you are supposed to have a greeting in these comment things, but there is no rule of etiquette thus far and I can do what I want.

Though you may not realize it, many of my favorite conversations regarding the Church as an entity and God in relation to creativity and art was held with the two of you, so I once more bring a question to address.

I was having a beer and some dinner with a bunch of my friends (a Hindu and several non-christian christians) and somehow the conversation turned to believing there is only one God, which turned to intolerance in the Church. It made me think about discussing the more frustrating parts of the Church with outsiders. I always think of Blue Like Jazz where Don Miller talks about his forgiveness booth where he asked for forgiveness for the sins of the Church instead of making "sinners" confess to us so we could forgive them.

I think it's vital to recognize flaws so that we can attempt to fix them, but I found myself expressing my frustration towards the close minded nature of many churches and the unloving attitude of many Christians towards anybody different. I began to wonder whether or not it is appropriate to express such frustrations to people who do not believe in Christ. Do you think it is something that should be discussed with non-believers or do you think that it's like your best friend, you mock them when they are with you and are amongst friends, but should anybody else say anything bad you will defend them to the death. What do you guys think?

Neville said...

Joe, you've posed one of the best questions I've heard in a long time to the Church. My first inclination (earlier on in your comment) was "YES! You should complain to your non-Christian friends! Then you can freely share, should they ask, what the Church is really supposed to be in societ!" But then, you talked more...and I grew suspicious of the Neville in me that answered so unthinkably to your first thought.

"On second thought," I thought...:) "Maybe the better approach would be to defend through repentness?" That seems to be what Don Miller did and wow, so what I don't end up doing. I was just blasting "my own kind (aka, the church)" with a fellow co-worker who's not a Christian and I felt her agreeing with me much, but it ended there. I just said how basically, "I'm not like those Christians," and the story was over. I dont' think she really saw me as "one of them" really (which I am not, but I am, all at once---it's all very confusing) BUT I wonder how she thought I was very different than her. She sees me as pretty much the same I think...just a bit "religious."

I'm harmless to her, and b/c of your comment Joe, I now feel shamefully guilty for acting the way I did with her. You put it in such a beautiful way, that while I know I can't choose one answer over the other always, it seems your second, afterthought is more unifying and Christ-like than my knee-jerk first reaction-response.

Oh Joe W., how I miss you. Shorb and'll have to answer/speak for yourself. I don't know where you stand on this.

Jessica said...

I love the words of Christ to the weary and the broken...because that is what Christians are and Christ is all that we need to heal us and give us strength! The Word is so powerful!