from formality to friendship
I guess my deepest longing is to be aware of Jesus in all...in my husband, strangers, gossips, grumpy people, myself, my boss, politicians, my sons, situations, grief, when I feel road rage coming on or when I feel alone (to name just a few things that "all" encompasses). The only way I figure this will happen is if I purposefully dwell in Him. If I be still and let Him help me see where He is in this moment, in this room, on this night.
"HE TAKES THE ALTAR AND MAKES IT A TABLE..."
He takes the formality of religion - what I think I'm supposed to say and do to please Him and the Zeus-like picture of him I have in my head - and turns it into a table of friendship I've always ached for where I am free to receive and give love and make mistakes as I get to know Him. There is nothing very formal about Jesus. He's more down to earth than most churchgoers (even the casual dressers) and He flips around our well thought out expectations by celebrating the rebellious son instead of the responsible son.
I remember being at a bible study once where the pastor was teaching on the parable of the sower from Matthew 13 (you can read it here). So this pastor says, "We should all hope to be the good, rich soil. YOU should hope to be the good soil." So, prior to this bible study (which was held every Tuesday at noon at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse and yes, we went mostly for the free food) my heart had totally had completely been 100% the rocky soil. I looked good and had some growth, but inside the roots were not growing deep. I was bitter and hurt and judgmental and exhausted and unsatisfied. I had actually heard Holy Spirit speak to me about how I was rocky soil. And you know what? He didn't say that I should be something else. He said that there was hope. That the "seeds" in me were growing! He said the seeds of love and truth from God were for me as much as they were for the people who were the lush, good soil. And THAT, my people, is how Jesus sees us and it is life-giving when we begin to see through His eyes. This is just one reason we need to know Him for ourselves. We have to know what Jesus says about it to us. You can't just take what the guy up front (or the writer/blogger!) is saying as gospel. Take what you hear, sit at the table with Jesus, ask to have His eyes to see and let His voice and His love and His word either confirm the words you heard from the teacher or guide you in to the truth of what His words actually mean.
You are free to ask and question and hear for yourself. May you become more aware of your place in Jesus' heart and His presence all around you. The reality is that in Him we live and move and have our being. Enjoy Him and learn how loved you really are. I pray that we become conscious of His closeness and find deep satisfaction in His love. I pray that He overflows through my life and yours and that He is lifted up. I pray that we do not break under the pressure we put on ourselves to be good examples, and instead that we just learn to live from Him, in Him, in Love, in order to love all well.
"For anyone to see and say that Jesus is the Son of God is to awaken to the awareness that we are continuously, seamlessly joined in oneness. And thus we have come to know and believe the love that God has unveiled within us. God is love; love is who God is; to live in this place of conscious, constant love, is to live immersed in God and to feel perfectly at home in his indwelling. So now, with us awakening to our full inclusion in this love union, everything is perfect! Its completeness is not compromised in contradiction. Our confident conversation echoes this fellowship even in the face of crisis; because as he is, so are we in this world - our lives are mirrored in him."
(1 John 4:15-17 from The Mirror Bible - get it. It's incredible. It has a lot of the Greek translations explained. Fantastic!)
(The "He takes the altar and makes it a table" quote that I posted above is from Steffany Gretzinger's song Remember. Listen to it here.)