This is something that’s been on my mind for a while, but I’ve never known how to articulate my thoughts. I’m still not sure how to express them fully, but I’m going to give it a try, so here goes nothing.
I’ve often struggled with my relationship with God. I suffer from spells of doubt, anxiety and question whether it’s even possible to know God. I’ve been thinking about why I feel these things. When I talk to other Christians, I’m presented with a Jesus who simply sits on a throne, watches the world go by and when people come to Him, He offers them a Bible and says “here you go,just follow this and if you get it wrong, hell awaits you”. I’m supposed to be grateful to Him for saving me, yet beat myself up for being a lowly sinner and fear punishment. So not only is He perceived as a God that’s unknowable, even if He wasn’t, I’m not sure that He’s a God I’d want to know anyway. I thought it was about relationship, I don’t follow people out of fear.
But this is God’s world – He made it for Himself to share with us. In His storytelling, He used universal objects like lamps and coins, and concepts like Shepherds’ to help Him to explain His message. But when I try to do this, when I try to explain the concept of God to a 21st Century mind, I get criticized and get labelled as a ‘blasphemer’. If I bring Jesus to my level, to find some way of relating to Him (kind of an important in a relationship), the same accusations are reeled out. His divinity is talked up but his humanity is played down. The complete human part of Jesus gets left out of the fully God, fully human description. Even Paul talks about “the man God appointed” (Acts17:31) It’s humanity that I can relate to, it’s people who are important for me when building relationships. Christians shouldn’t be surprised to hear “you don’t want to know us? Fine, then we don’t want to know you!”, because sadly, this negative view of Christianity is coming from Christians making it clear that they want nothing to do with people ‘outside of their circle’. Hearing the phrase “you’re in this world but not of it” will do that to people.
Jesus is not the kind of person to sit up on His high horse and point His finger in command. No. He wants to get in with the people, in the communities, in the homes, to share the troubles and to guide. I often see Jesus sitting next to me on the train, or holding my hand whilst the maniacal dentist with the drill goes to work on my teeth. This isn’t the spirit there or some other messenger, but Jesus himself – it seems odd that, sometimes, when we pray, we invite the Holy Spirit to come and not Jesus.
Worship Him as Lord; I’m not saying otherwise, but don’t remove Him from the place He put Himself in. He doesn’t force Himself on us and may just actually let us have it our way. What’s important; raving about God’s holiness and using it as a weapon to demean others, or devote ourselves to building up a relationship with Him and, by doing so, learn of His amazing love and how we can pass on that gift to others?
First published 28th June 2013