Friday, 23 September 2011

Checking in on what Jesus is doing

Very often folks who check out of the institutional church find themselves on a long winding road.

They might already have formed an idea of what the destination will look for, and they are constantly peering down side roads they pass, hoping to find what they are expecting.  Or perhaps they really don't know what the destination will look like, but they're willing to try out whatever neon signs flash most attractively along the way. 

Either way, they pull up hopefully, here and there, take a look, and sometimes even check in for awhile, but end up being disappointed.  So back they go onto the road, wondering if they'll ever get there, and be able to check out of the wilderness.

And yes, I've been in that situation myself.  For far too long.

But now I'm realizing that checking out of the wilderness means getting back on the road and traveling with Jesus.  And checking what He (and His Father and Spirit) is doing. 

Staying on the road.  Forgetting about my search for the destination.  And discovering that, when we travel with God, the journey is the destination with Him is what we've been seeking.  And when we see it that way, we realize it isn't a wilderness after all, but the richest, most fulfilling LIFE - more than we could ever have imagined ourselves.  His Life!

Jesus said something like that, didn't He?  In Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message), we hear these words:

"Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
It's how Jesus walked with His Father when He was here on earth in the 1st century AD.  He listened to His Father's words and then repeated them to others.  He looked to see what His Father was doing in people's hearts, and then joined in with His Father.  He truly lived with the Spirit of God every moment.  He prayed and sought God's guidance - and He didn't do anything unless He had that guidance.

Jesus set an example for His disciples.  That means us too.  That's how we are supposed to live.  That's what it means for us to be His disciples.  We, the church, are meant to live that way, His way. That's what it means, isn't it, to be the church, to live in the Kingdom of God?  To have one head, one leader, and to be united in Him.  Right?

Then why, as Dan Edelen asks at cereleumsanctum,

Why then do we not do this? Why do we charge ahead and waste time on works that God is not in? ...
Jesus didn’t see what the Father is doing by any means other than a deep prayer life and listening to the Holy Spirit. You can’t fake that, though, and expect to see what the Father is doing.

Why not, indeed?  It's time to stop looking for destinations that I or others have imagined or created.  Time to get onto the road with Jesus, walk with Him, work with Him.  Really be open to hear Him, see Him.  Follow Him.  Like He showed us.

Time to start.  Check out of me, check out of my "destinations," and check into His journey, His way.  Into Him!  Now.

Please, dear Jesus.  Help me to really see You, hear You, know You.  To be a disciple of You.  As you were of Father.  Please.  Thank You.  Amen.


Jean said...

This is so true Norma. I have been struggling with whether the decision to try Crafting for Missions at our church was a good and right one. We have never had our crafts even viewed by the congregation, let alone bought by them. They do not come out to our sales. What sells is the baking! After church on Sundays. No other time. :(

Still...if one focuses on the journey it has been oh so fruitful. Many new friendships were made this year. And many of us learned new skills. We also learned to lean on God and trust Him to earn the money for missions. It hasn't been as much as I'd like, but this is God's machine, not mine.

I am sensing a lack of enthusiasm in the congregation now, and we do not need a special group to do baking etc. for the congregation. It was only the crafting that needed it due to the need for funds up front to purchase supplies. Without crafting we don't need the group. So it's disbanding.

BUT, a few of us have decided to strike out on our own to sell crafts at community sales next year. And there is talk of joining CARFAC and the Craft Council with some of our members. So I think this has been worth it if only for the encouragement it has given them. God does work in mysterious ways...

Norma Hill - aka penandpapermama said...

Thanks for commenting, Jean. Love what you said: "if one focuses on the journey it has been oh so fruitful." I think that we've been taught to set goals - and keep our eyes on those goals. We get so focused on the end-point that we miss seeing every amazing step along the way - and we don't even realize that it's been Jesus' plans and purposes rather than ours - and those are always so much greater than our narrow human vision can imagine :-)