Sunday, 16 September 2012

emotions and feelings

September 14, 2012 (almost caught up!)

Okay, so I again am struck by how little I seem to "emotionally" react to the story of the crucifixion.

I have heard it described (often graphically) over and over in sermons, books ... and the Bible...  I have seen it portrayed on film (The Passion of the Christ, Ben Hur, The Story of Jesus, etc)... sometimes extremely graphically.

I have seen others weep - and "fall to their face at the foot of the cross, repenting of their sins."

I've seen people run out of the theatre because they couldn't bear to watch any more...

I "know" that as followers of Jesus we are to "take up our cross daily and follow Him."  I understand that refers to daily "putting to death of self" ... and sometimes also to accepting persecution and even death.

BUT... I don't "feel" the whole "terror of the cross."  Does that mean I don't "get it"?  That I have never truly experienced or accepted or understood or known the cross - and the significance of Jesus' sacrifice?

Was it driven from me by repeated sermons and pictures and Bible stories from an early age so that I became number (or possibly put up walls? or possibly mainly saw it as "just another Bible story"?  or by the firmly taught belief that we as Protestants focus - proudly? - on the resurrection, which is why our churches feature "an empty cross" (while "those Catholics" keep Jesus hanging there, crucifying Him over and over, and never moving on to His resurrection power... and to grace... )???  oh dear.

Am I just stubborn and don't want to "take up my cross daily," don't want to "suffer," don't want to "stand up and be labeled a holy roller" (yep, that traumatic episode on the first day of grade eight still shaking me up...)?  Have I bought into the "just say the sinner's prayer and you're saved and will go to heaven" message that seems to pretty much ignore the real sacrifice involved - by Jesus on the cross... and then by His disciples for the rest of their lives....?

Or am I just not as emotional as some people?  (Or maybe brought up to avoid "emotionalism" ... though we'd get "doses" of it every year at Bible camp and sometimes from "evangelists" coming into town for a week or two of "special meetings.") 

I guess what I'm asking, Lord, is if my lack of emotional, heart-broken, "throwing myself at the foot of the cross" reaction to "the cross" is a problem?  Does it mean I'm not truly following You?  Or even that I really don't understand (maybe even haven't truly accepted and followed) You? and Your gospel?

... later ...

I just realized something ... there have been times when I have wept at the realization of my sin and inadequacy and pride etc ... and at the realization of what the cross really was about ... but those times were (mainly) in "corporate" settings (with others of Your church), rather than in my "personal devotions" or whatever.

Which I have wondered about, sometimes, about if I was just giving into "group hysteria" or something.

But I think it was more that that.  We are called to spiritual life together, as You Yourself set the example, Jesus.  And as the records of the early church illustrate repeatedly. 

There are times when we reach out to You individually.  But we are, by Bible example it seems to me, called to seeking and knowing You together.

It seems like in our society, which prizes "rugged individualism," we've made our walk with You as totally "personal" as possible.  And maybe we're missing out on some things because of it.

(Of course, maybe I'm also afraid of being seen as a "fanatic")  (and then there's tradition ...)  (and fear of Your Spirit ... as if maybe You'll turn out to be a fanatic, too ...)

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