Where Does My Religion Live?
I could have started this, where does your. Or even our. I almost did. But the more I thought on it the more ridiculous I saw it. Laughable, as it might as well have been some toast to myself, “Here‘s wood in your eye.” And just as unsightly. Because who looks pretty with or can peer around a plank? So let me begin. Again. Where does my religion live?
Do I wear it as a logo on my tee top? Write it in my journal or post it on my blog? Market it? Chat it at my prayer partner? Talk it up in Bible class? Read about it in Christian books? Borrow it from other, more spiritual people, past or present?
Does it live a hermit in my head? And if it gets any farther, does it just dam up there? And why sometimes church, does it feel so empty, and the music? And my heart? Hollow instead of hallow? Why the disconnect? Painful disconnect. I think I know the answer. Know I know.
Jesus spoke these words:
“I am the Bread of life. He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”
I’m hungry, Lord, starved, in fact. Fill me: baby-bird-beak, me. Dry, Lord, I be, give me liquid Life.
“But the water that I shall give unto him, will become in him a fountain springing up into everlasting life.” And. “I am the vine, you are the branches: he who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without Me, you can do nothing.”
I feel my nothingness. Sap-from-the-vine me. (Dressing of the husbandman, who dressed me once in garlands of skins.) Clothe me that I not be found unclothed.
“Go and wait for me in Jerusalem,” Jesus directed His disciples, “for the Promise of the Father.” Promise came. And He blew through that house and through those patient people with a mighty rush and sound that cracked fire above their heads. Like lightening crash and thunder welcome: sheet blowing rain in summer dry with powder dust for dirt. He’s here now. For good.
Jesus didn’t leave us orphans: but I must go to the source, eat my daily Bread. If I neglect that then I’m unfaithful. A hypocrite, right? A hypocrite, groping at noonday. For if the blind lead the blind, both will fall in a ditch. Without Him I am purely blind. But He is faithful even when I am found unfaithful.
“ …through the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; …”
Did I hear that? Abundantly. Do I really understand how abundant He is? Or do I pinch off a tiny little tidbit and try to make it do for.
Lord help me not to content myself on a snatched line or two of prayer and Bible. Help me, please, to receive all, all you have to give.
Then and only then is it alright I wear my faith. Not screen-dyed shirt, but robe royal. His. Then when I tap-tap fingers, spell out what He works in, my words will glow with Him. When I talk Him to my partner in intercession, Someone will be listening in:
“Then those who feared the Lord, spoke to one another and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord, and meditate on His name.”
When I meet that mind, that brother sister mine, more than weary words on pages turned, my heart will resonate, ring with recognition. (So you follow Him, too, huh? Isn’t He amazing?) In Bible class I’ll know when to share and when to shut up. And pray for teacher. I’ll worship in church and who cares if the music is too loud or off-key. It’s my heart that matters. Is it full of Him? Yes.
Why? Because I looked on the table today and there spread Bread. Waiting for me: I took it and I ate it down. Yum. The goodness of bread, staff of Life, all down. And that Man with the olla, jarful: He was knocking quite some time now. I answered, “Aren’t You for the lost, the unsaved?“
“You said you were thirsty.” His eyes crinkled and my hands cupped a cup.
Renewing? Just a door-latch away. Oh, and then I went and I walked a garden path, and there I saw surprise: me, a branch rooted to Vine. And branch was all bearing, bearing, leaves and fruits of Promise.
In the what we refer to as the West, religion has a face almost unrecognizable to our Lord. He wonders will He find faith on the earth at his return. It seems over here we accomplish so much on our own hook. While our brothers and sisters in poverty-ridden or war-stricken, closed or heavily persecuted places must rely on Him for literally everything, even with our dwindling economy, compared to greater part in world population, most are plump as princes. When we pray for daily bread its probably rote.
They ask because of flat sacks and gnawing gut. With His power alone are they able to accomplish any Christian works at all.
I say this knowing any change effected on our side of the globe, must start with me. I can’t be looking around, pointing the finger, asking why doesn’t the church do this, or why doesn’t the church do that. I/we are the church. It has to begin at home, in my own heart, on my own two knees.
What we can do, must do, is pray for one another, daily and fervently, our leaders, our nation: spend more time in His written word, and ask God grant us grace to walk as Jesus walked.
*Scripture references from New King James Version of the Holy Bible
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MY faith lives at the foot of the throne of grace; in the shadow of the cross!!