Friday, April 1, 2011

A Bit, A Sip, A Life

When I was a boy, I remember sitting in church with my mother while the preacher ranted on about some topic. To this day, I cannot remember one word he ever spoke. It is as if when he opened his mouth to speak, all linguistic interpretation fell to chaos and the only sound was the rising and the falling of his voice. But in that void I do remember one thing – the communion. We had it every Sunday and it was the one thing I took pleasure in although the meaning totally escaped me being only a boy. I can still remember the small square wafer and the dry tinkle of the little glass as I put it back into the serving tray. I think today we are all children when it comes to the Christ. Yes I know we all are grown now and have put aside the childishness of spiritual immaturity but I think in some way we have also put away the wonder and awe of the Christ. He is but a small wafer and a sweet sip we get from time to time as we slug our way through life. We have forgotten why we even started this journey in light of the pursuit of all the jewels and crowns and the attainment of the title of sonship for our Father in Heaven.
Yet if anything is more weighty than the simple scripture below I cannot find it:

“Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for such is the Kingdom of God..”

I can remember on my way to a Pastor’s conference that my wife and I were discussing this scripture to understand its depth. Interestingly, we talked about the fact that children at their time of mental development have not yet undergone the final changes that will occur when they reach maturity. The fact is their synapses have not yet reached a point where they have fully segregated to either hemisphere of the brain. In essence they cannot easily distinguish reality from fantasy because they do not have the ability yet to do so. Was Jesus making a statement about faith and the complete adequacy of it? I think so, after all what else can I child grasp but belief in something they cannot see but only heard about. Yet what Jesus says is that such faith held purely by a child comprises the Kingdom of God. My goodness, take all your maturity and spiritual knowledge and throw it out; it grants you nothing and with it you inherit nothing. Yet in the groups I have suffered through, the attainment of depth and spiritual knowledge and the ‘deep things of God’ I have ‘learned’ from being associated with them has left me spiritually bankrupt. To be honest I walked away with nothing, with only the burden of guilt and shame…cast aside…a ragamuffin. There is where Jesus found me, a broken little boy with dirty little face cast aside and left for dead. Yet I have come to believe the words above: ‘…for such is the Kingdom of God’…I have nothing to bring to the table to Him, my talents have been lost in what I invested them in and I cower before the King of Creation with nothing but shame and guilt. But He says ‘…suffer the little children…’ He rebukes the ‘spiritually mature’ in the weight of His admittance to those who don’t even know who is in their presence. I am sure in the great meeting of all the Saints before the judgment seat of Christ, some will stand bewildered because of their lack of understanding why God accepts the likes of me. After all, I am a reprobate, a sinner, a heretic in the eyes of those who once called me friend and brother. Yet I have learned a great lesson only a ragamuffin can know; there is nothing that recommends us to God even our holy living and pursuit. Holy living has no other point than as an expression of love to the one who found us and brought us to His home, gird Himself with a towel and washed our feet saying the rest is clean, sat us at His table, broke the bread with us and shared His wine. This is the Savior I have some glimpse of now.

Rich Mullins said one thing that I have found to be priceless in worth:

“In our society, we tend to swear unyielding allegiance to a rigid position, confusing that action with finding an authentic connection to a life-giving Spirit. We miss the gospel of Christ: the good news that, although the holy and all-powerful God knows we are dust, He stoops to breathe into us the breath of life – to bring to our wounds the balm of acceptance and love…”

I was a boy and I am still learning this great lesson. To the One who called me when I was nothing, I am still nothing but I am beginning to see just how great He is. So my friend, I share the bread and the wine with you in spirit today. I ask that you overlook our differences and see we are all born of the same spirit and I say to you the peace of Christ. I say to those who would call me enemy and betrayer, the peace of Christ. To the ones cast out or on the run, the peace of Christ. To my loved ones now lost to me, the peace of Christ. Our blindness separates us but He does not. So I say the peace of Christ to you, friend, enemy and ones unknown. In the end of it all it is the only thing of worth to utter, it will be upon my lips as the last breath leaves my frame. I have no doubt that at the curb of heaven when the crowd passes by, He will suffer me to come unto Him - the love of my life, the Lord of my life, the true bread and the true wine. I also have no doubt He will say to me ‘When you were ten, in the pew, I shared the bread and the cup with you…” The calling happened then. I was a child and have now come full circle I am in the pew valuing now what I could not then. The sacrifice to bring me near and take me home.

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