An issue has been pressing on my heart as of late. Well, actually, it never leaves my thoughts and this has been years.
It has to do with expectancy in worship. I worship Jesus, the risen Christ. We all have immediate reactions to this. Some nod in solemn agreement with an amen. Others, Jesus who? Is he Spanish? And still others think "Cuckoo Cuckoo! I never knew he was nuts!"
Looking around at how often Jesus is portrayed in our first world culture, I can see why. I believe it was the adult oriented cartoon "The Family Guy" who had a white Jesus introduced on Jay Leno as a guest on his show. It was a quick joke, depending totally on people's immediate characterization of who they thought Jesus was. The robes, the beard, the sandals, you understand. Placing him on Jay Leno as a guest was funny in a way, because what is this ancient icon doing there? HA! But not.
As those who have found faith in Christ will attest, there are several camps that we can throw ourselves into or be pigeon holed into. One is the conservative camp. The other, the Charismatic camp.
I have spent time in both camps, and I must say that even though I attend a rather "conservative" church right now, I believe myself to desire to be a Christian mystic. Ooh. I love that term, it sounds so mysterious and ethereal.
What I mean is, I have had many experiences that have blown my preconceived notion as to how I see Jesus out of the water. I have learned more about expecting him to do so, to disassemble my perception of him and revitalise my interaction with him as a result.
I believe that as it happened is scripture, so it happens with us. So through experiences we have, our beliefs are formed. If we never expect God to come into a room, we will not perceive it has happened when he actually does. This is faith. This is also how pigeon-holing works. If among my friends I have an experience with Jesus in a prayer time, say he speaks to me and I cry, like all people, my friends will quickly reference what their experiences have been and it either legitimizes their belief or it throws them for a loop. Throwing for a loop is uncomfortable. I know, because I have been thrown so many times. "That's weird," I would say to myself, "they must be faking." Or "Amazing! I want some of that too!" The part that feels uncomfortable wants to distance the possibility of it happening to me too as quickly as possible.
But walking with God is a journey. I believe what the scriptures say about the miracles, about who Jesus is/was on earth.
I also believe that I share the ignorance of Paul on his way to Damascus, the need to see for myself as Peter, the slow-on-the-uptake side of the disciples as the chat with Jesus after his death when they drag themselves back home. I share all these traits, and yet in order to grow I have had to lay my own perceptions to the side so that I can fully appreciate the revealed Savior. Only then can my life be healed, can I rise above my addictions and leanings and can I love more purely.
Back to worship. I need to experience God. I can't understand life properly without interaction. I have had enough paradigm-shifting to know that I should expect paradigm shifting in my life. God is interactive. How can I be more interactive, because its not He who needs the interaction for his own good, but me. Whether its contemplating a U2 song or reading the Psalms or watching my kids play, I still need to allow for more than just my end of the relationship to be active. Its how anyone come into a relationship with him, really. He is the initiator.
I need to come to the Cross just as much as anyone else and watch the "old man" of my life, as spiritual a he claims he was, die. The new man is then born.
More to come.