You know how your morning coffee gives you that little jolt? And yet it sort of relaxes you because it is your habit to sit with your coffee in the morning? Well, Monday sometimes hits me that way.
If I were more of a Sabbath keeping person on Sunday it would probably hit me harder, but I would probably be more ready for it. I would have faced it more rested, which is always a better state when one heads into the challenges of the coming week.
Sabbath-keeping: more concentration on the things of God, less on the world.
Anyway, Monday morning and there is all this bad news. Maybe that is just what I see or look for…. I want to be more positive. The table of what I feed my mind is groaning with the eclectic and the unusual. Excuse me.
Anyway, today I thought a little bit about my angst du jour. I am feeling the losses from not fitting in, … more than I usually do. I usually accept it, it is my lot, those sorts of thoughts. But today I am thinking of my past experiences in Church and with Christians. (forgive me that this is disjointed, it isn’t a thought-out essay, sorry).
I have a mixed experience of trying really hard and giving up and trying very half-heartedly and then trying very hard some more…. and one thing that is difficult to face is how little acceptance I’ve experienced. I mean the deep to the bone acceptance. The kind you may get from God. Very little of that has translated itself out of fellow believers. Not that there is none. But how little and how predicated that is on my joining in their interests.
And I must face that I have given often as I have gotten, which makes me wonder if this is what happens? We are so unwilling to give our hand of fellowship that little of real Christian fellowship is evident within our Churches. We are stunted in this. We are willing to do things with the world’s criteria, we are willing to love with the Publican’s rule: we love them that loves us, but we so little take the gratefulness at the full love that Christ Jesus gives us and extend it- especially to those with whom we know to be Christians. Maybe we judge them as not quite as good Christian as we hope or want or thought they should be….? we withhold, we end up withholding.
And there is the damage.
I think that damage is of a horrible dimension…. we are just so used to it we don’t think to address it.
I go now to a Vineyard Church. I am fairly new to it, so I don’t have much to say about its innards, but the message is that there is acceptance there. I have to say this is foreign to my thinking as a Christian. I am very reserved about giving acceptance for repeated sin. I don’t want that for myself. I say. But then maybe I discount my type of sins, like being undependable and late more than on time. Like getting easily discouraged and thus not coming through, or showing irritation and short tempered -albeit silenced- disapproval, sometimes not so silenced.
Maybe those are big things to others and they accept me with the amount they do at great cost to themselves. I don’t know. We still have the problem that we will not give many the support we each need to follow the Christian walk. We recoil at bearing one anothers burdens. We are too busy, too put upon, too…something.
but what do those excuses cost the Kingdom? Are we siphoning off too much effort to build our own kingdoms? Do we say this is OK because this is the Christian life we think we are called to, expressed as ” successful social interaction” and prestige? Prestige. Sounds bad that way. Christians like to call it something else…let’s see…how do we term it? Good repute in the world. Something like that. So it sounds better.
But what is the good repute of Christ? Was it what we make it today, in our lives? What was it? How is this interpreted in this life today now…?
I am dismayed at myself. I am upset that I have so many bad feelings toward how my fellow Christians have treated me that I feel a discernable drop in my love for God. This is bad. It means I am not forgiving, and that I am in the “slough of despond”. It means I am nigh to becoming useless.
I am having trouble knowing who I can trust in this world, but maybe I wasn’t supposed to trust other Christians. Maybe I just assumed that.
I am at a juncture of faith. In this, too, I have to turn towards God.
I woke up, smelled the coffee this morning. I drank its bitter brew. This week will take more; it will take eating at the Lord’s table and getting the direction I need, so I may not replicate what has hurt me, but that I may have something new and healing and wholesome. And be busy in my own kitchen cooking up and serving that out to others.
I have eaten take-out too long. It hasn’t proved very good for me.