Photo by Morgan Sessions
For too many people, faith is a way of leaving this world and not a way of being in it.
Some religions have been fixated on this idea of preparing us to die. I remember the giant billboards warning us to ‘Prepare to meet thy God?’ What does this mean to a passer by? What lies ahead—and should I turn the car around? Too many Churches have failed at preparing us to live here now, mortgaging our present for our future. How does having faith in God affect this life? Faith has to be about more than merely getting our ticket to heaven.
Strangely some Christians can’t wait to leave this earth, yet the God they worshipped couldn’t wait to arrive.
Following Jesus is earthly business.
All of His teaching has an immediate application. Ideas about love, hate, fear, greed, lust, and pride. It doesn’t get any more practical than that. There is an urgency to his message because it is needed and usable, relevant, current and accessible to everyone from peasant to priest.
John Green has a beautiful thought:
“I am going to take this bucket of water and pour it on the flames of hell, and then I am going to use this torch to burn down the gates of paradise so that people will not love God for want of heaven or fear of hell, but because He is God.”
Faith is a way of being in the world, not merely a posture for leaving it.
This is how I understand his invitation for those who are tired and weary of the way they are doing life, to come to him and find rest. He goes on to say his yoke is easy and his burden is light. So this rest is not just respite. It’s not a time out. This rest is a new way to experience the present life, not a ticket to leave it. A new way to be still. A new way to be in the world. Not with more obligations or guilt, but with a fresh understanding of how to be were we are now.
Rabbi Daniel Poland was once asked if jews believed in a Heaven and a Hell as has been popularized.
“When you die, they set you up in a big easy chair in front of a four-foot screen with quadraphonic sound. Then they begin to slowly play—over and over again—a video, depicting in minute detail everything you ever did in your life. Heaven or Hell? You pick.”
If only we lived like that whether true or not, we’d have a better world. Too many of the faithful have no desire to actually be here now longing instead for another world. Perhaps that explains why this one can seem so miserable for the rest of us as well. Have you ever spent time with someone who doesn’t want to be were you are? It is not that pleasant. Yet God loved the world so much that he came. This life is the gift.
We need to embrace every moment of this precious life as best we can or we truly are thieves. Robbing both ourselves and everyone else for not being alive while living. I am unlearning so much of what I was taught as a child.
I don’t think God wants my life back.
It was His gift to me. I show my gratitude by making it count not by returning it unused. Instead God says here is your life, live it on my earth and find me in it.
Because following God is earthly business.
Part two of this post is here Perhaps if God can be here-so can I | Part 2
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