Haven't heard the word refraction since fifth year physics with Mr Houston. Those of you that went to Lurgan College will smile when you read his name...lets just say he was entertaining. Only I could derive some sort of depth from such a source!
I have been thinking a lot recently about my faith and my motives. I sometimes wonder how much of my views are due to distortions rather than the original truth.
In Galatians ch 1 Paul says regarding the message of Jesus..
"I didn't receive it through the traditions.
I wasn't taught it in some school.
I got it straight from God..received the message directly from Jesus Christ".
I find myself asking questions. Why do I go to church? Why do I sing the songs...sit stand sit stand? Why do I go to home groups? Read Pray??
I know why I should do all these things..to get something straight from the heart of God. To catch him.
However sometimes I come away feeling like I have been to Christian school..."here is how Christians say I should live"
Alain, one of my pastors and friends was speaking in my church last night. His message was straight from God, you can always tell. He told us that Jesus not only came to die but to show us how to LIVE.
Do I live like a "christian"? Yes probably.
Do I live like Jesus..sometimes I'm not sure I take enough time to think about this part as I'm too busy trying to live a peer pleasing religion.
Traditions don't always come with banners and public holidays. There are so many little rituals in our lives, taught by others that we can easily forget to question our motives in. Some are good , some fundamental to life. Yet a learnt ritual should never get between us and God and more to the point should never cause us to refract God into the world. We should reflect him as he is...love and justice. Way too often we make him out to be as into status as we are.
God asks us to love the world. Why do we complicate it with our labels and religion.Maybe our mission weeks could be replaced by individual and corporate Jesus living.
I do believe we live in tension between structure and spontaneity. The organisation and activity geared towards mission keeps us accountable. If I were to depend on being led by the spirit to reach out to people I may never reach out at all. Set times, groups and "meetings" can sometimes keep us accountable to our "talk".
However I also long for spontaneity..a child like faith. When do kids ever arrange when they are going to meet up or what game they are going to pencil into their diaries. Yet they live life to the max and have a better social life than most! I long to be radical and allow God to be unleashed without being refracted for the sake of tradition.
I guess the tension between spontaneity and structure is a place that we all struggle to be in. That is if we are determined not to just live as we are told.
I believe in the individual living in love, coming together with friends also living in love, sharing stories to keep the dream alive.
My fire goes out without people and their stories.
I am spending the next couple of days off work meeting up with friends that inspire me to be more like Jesus. From those chats I know their will be fruit born for God in my life over the next days and weeks in the hospital and in my life.
Thank God for people. Being with people makes me feel alive, listening to their hearts helps me remember that its still ok to dream.
Lets live in the tension, not too structured and not so spontaneous that we have no accountability and drift off. Above all lets rediscover receiving straight from God and not from some school of tradition. We don't need to change anything about God we just need to reflect rather than refract.