Friday, February 10, 2012

Sharing our Journey with Others

I have a theory about why people get annoyed when confronted with witness, and I don't mean the knocking on the door at dinnertime witness or the condescending, hell-fire and brimstone, or judgment and condemnation witnesses. I mean when you're chatting companionably and turn the conversation with a, "Come to church with me," or a, "Bible study was great. You should come," or a plain, "Let me tell you what God means to  me." The thing that turns a non-believer off may actually be that the Christian across from them is so stinking happy! For instance, one might say: "Even when they're unhappy, they start spouting faith and find something happy about it. I mean, gosh, it's annoying already. Don't you guys ever get tired of being happy?"

The truth is, yes, faith and trust can wear a person out when things get tough. Contentment is a hard thing to maintain in light of life's wild turns. But we shouldn't let the things we don't have let us take our minds off of what we do have, and first and foremost we have Christ and Christ's forgiveness - His promise of new life. But here's the kicker: Christ is the Master in the relationship. We have to submit to and serve Him before we can call ourselves children of God, be adopted into His household, sit at His banquet, and share in His inheritance.

There is where many balk. Example: How can those Christians be so happy when they're shouting, "We serve you, oh, Master!" Wasn't the "happy slave" myth debunked with the rest of that idiocy after the American Civil War? It seems rather oxy-"moron"-ic.

Let's take a line from the United Methodist communion liturgy and give it a second look. It says in part: "delivered us from slavery to sin and death." That one tripped me up until my English major mind broke the sentence up and reconstructed it. Christ did not deliver us into the hands of sin and death, but rescued us from being slaves of sin and death. The next section says: "and made with us a new covenant." He didn't just set us loose and say, "Be on your way." He provides for us, cares for us, and nurtures us as children in our fledgling faith. Our servanthood in Christ is like being released from a life-long death sentence every single day all day long. Who wouldn't be happy? I feel like singing!

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