Tuesday, February 12, 2013

LOOKING TO JESUS

~ "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and 
perfecter of our faith." ~
Hebrews 12:2

I started writing this blog a little over a year ago. I have shared intimate stories that some were shocked to hear. I have been open about the failures and successes in my own life and the church in general. Today I have been reading from a book by Jim McGuiggan and was puled back to the foundations of my faith. A faith, I believe has been long forgotten and possibly even neglected by many of us. It is a simple response to a still quiet voice that calls to us in our suffering and calls us back to what is truly important.

Here is a quote from Jim's book, Jesus, Hero of Thy Soul:

"Only Jesus could give himself to all without pandering.
Only he could treat us as individuals while insisting that we belong to one another.
Only he could forgive us fully, freely, gladly -- but without 
dishonoring us or weakening our resolve for righteousness.
Having seen Jesus, knowing how he has lived his life here, we can't settle for less than a genuine pursuit of his likeness. His very presence among us forbids us to settle for just being "nice" people who do "nice" things. 
(The bland leading the bland and both falling into a "nice" rut.)

"I am sick of the literature that reduces the Christian life into quiet times, fixed grins, happy talk and saccharine songs.
I am tired of writers and speakers who indulge our whimpering and whining, who prescribe endless therapy for problems we wouldn't have if we weren't so outrageously self-centered, who encourage us to feather our own already fairly comfortable  nests while oohing and aahing over our inconveniences as if they were crucifixions.

"I am sick, too, of scholarly literature that pours scorn on the people of God, judging them as nothing but self-serving hypocrites who either worship themselves or a petrified faith that should have been discarded centuries ago.
These wise men for whom, I suspect, life has become sour and boring, rip away at the foundations of the Christian faith, leaving disciples unsure of who they are and what direction they should go. What has the appearance of bold scholarship has no upward call and no sure message. Rather, it's the bored and peevish ramblings of academics who have lost their way.

"Finally, I'm one of a great multitude who are sick of themselves! But not so sick that we don't know who we are and whose we are. Not so sick that we can't see the glory of the biblical Christ, can't feel the magnetism of his person and the wholesome rebuke of his life, can't recognize our hunger for something more glorious as the work of God in us.

"No, in spite of our human limitations, we see the Christ out in front of us, calling us onward and upward.
We are determined, with blood-red earnestness, to live heroically for God and the world he so loves that he gave his son." pp.4-5

In the 2,000 or so years since Jesus walked this earth, sharing a simple message, people have devoted their lives to making it more complicated, political or even palatable. His message was simple:

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

The only reason I can see that message getting distorted is - WE DON'T WANT TO. Jesus and the writers of the New Testament left this message in its barest essence -- live like Jesus did, treat people as Jesus did, help people as Jesus did, forgive people as Jesus did and love people as Jesus did. I am no scholar, but I can easily say that sums up the message of Christianity. It is not summed up by how doctrinally "pure" we are. How well we dress when attending Sunday services. Who has the best worship team or the fanciest building or who can claim the most piety. It is simply, do you look to Jesus the author and perfecter of your faith? And if so, do you treat people like he did? As for me, I pray that I can see this simple response to the gift of God in my life.

Peace,
~Al