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Digging deeper

Why on earth is this good - and it's not news...

We may grow up with odd ideas about Christianity, especially if learnt it at school as a religion. It's either a set of things we have to learn for a test or something that seems wildly out of touch with normal life. We might have heard it's about some kind of soppy 'love' or that it stops you doing things, or disapproves of some people and is bad. Either way, it's not you.

None of this is new! The early contacts with 'Jeshua ben Joseph' felt the same way - possibly more so.

But all of them would have been drawn to him by something. He wasn't physically attractive or 'charismatic' - just ordinary to look at. But something in their hearts and minds would have been changing, a question, a realisation about themselves, an awareness of the hopeless state of people around - even of their mates and themselves.  Maybe there is a discovery of an old artefact or story or poem that made them think the old books were not so dead and useless. Maybe a hint of real truth there.

Anyway, you turn up at a meeting and see him and his mates and though ordinary, like you, they seem to have something. They treat you well enough and somehow to you that's love, not soppy but something that's building something in you - a hope rises. It's pointing to things in your life, wordlessly - you know they have to go, and somehow it's not just your effort but he's way ahead of you, and he's patient but urgent. This is more serious to him and you than anything else, even those exams or family or girlfriend, sport or career.

But I'm bigger than all that, I can do my own thing, I'm clever... I think of lots of reasons why all this doesn't make sense, too much of a leap - what about evolution or parallel universes, or wars, or the bloody bullies? I ask these questions and mostly they can't answer, but why do I feel it's me that's the fool?

I recognise one day that I have to give in to his 'lordship', as they say, but it's a good word.  I realise I have to own up to stuff, mostly pride and attitudes but practical things too. I 'repent' - really - taking a different road. I'm also aware that though there's a cost to me, there was also a cost to him. I can hardly perceive it but it's huge, too deep to see, but it's also solid, stable, a bedrock, dealt with. It's life from death.

Another time - he seems to be there one day as I'm having this kind of view over the thing that's my greatest passion. It's OK, but I've got to choose between that and the way he's going.

I'm reading the Bible and it's making more sense. I didn't intellectually think much of it, but the more I read and see his attitude to it, the more I see it's to be trusted and it teaches me things. One day I'm standing at the back of a meeting and a deep sense of gladness fills me and my appetite for reading, and getting it, wakes me up early in the mornings. My understanding and love deepens.

Later I read about other people who found and served him too. Amazing how this happens.

I meet up with the others, they're not just followers but something more solid - the church. You sense that he's happy to be there - that it's complete and enough in itself, even as there are groups in other places. But some of the other religious buildings you feel he has a struggle to get inside.

So gradually I learn more - real-life/love and truth/reality are one with him. I learn more about those things I'd challenged him about before. 

Only the Bible - not our 'bright' ideas, only through him -  through his sacrifice and resurrection, only by his grace and love, only through trust and faith in him, only when we see him brightly honoured.


Some Bible excerpts:

First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 2 Peter 1:20

‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ 1 Peter 2:24

Jesus: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name,that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2: 9-11


And a bit of Bob Dylan

Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted
Can't help but wonder what's happenin' to my companions
Are they lost or are they found?
Have they counted the cost it'll take to bring down
All their earthly principles they're gonna have to abandon?
There's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend.