Saturday, June 20, 2009

The ordinary times of life

I recently read Matthew’s excellent post, "Founded on the Rock." As I thought about what he said, a new picture of Jesus emerged.

The Bible takes Jesus’ three and a half years of ministry and condenses it into a few chapters. The result is that we think Jesus’ life as well as that of his disciples was filled with one exciting event after another. Maybe if the gospel writers had instead given us a daily log of activities, we would have found that there were days and maybe even weeks when nothing really happened. Maybe there were days when life for them seemed pretty hum drum.

Jesus had a physical body subject to all of the limitations we have. No human body is able to sustain a constant life of excitement and adrenaline pumping through it. I really suspect that daily life for him and his disciples consisted primarily of relationship building with an occasional miracle thrown in. Yet our tendency and it may have also been that of the gospel writers is to focus on the unusual and the exciting events of his life.

As a result, we tend to think that the normal christian life is one filled with activity and drama . . . a continual adrenaline rush. We look at our lives and compare them to the fast moving pace of the gospels and think we’ve missed it because we’re not constantly healing the sick and casting out demons and we forget the people who daily cross our paths who leave having been touched by Father’s love in a special way.

We tend to view the Bible as a blueprint for what our lives should look like so, when we don’t match the blueprint, we start to think there’s something wrong with us and that we're not living an authentic christian life. Religion's focus on the miraculous in my opinion contributes to this misunderstanding. Instead, I believe the Bible was meant to be a sharing of various people's journeys and what they learned along the way regarding their relationship with God and how they related to others.

As Matthew pointed out, in the beginning we may experience constant joy and excitement but over time our emotions will level out because what was once new and exciting is now normal for us. In other words, we're now living the normal christian life so it no longer seems dramatic and exciting. Occasionally God may interject himself into our lives in an unusual way and we once again feel the excitement but we can’t base our relationship with him on those times or their absences.

I love how Matthew phrased it. He said: “Maybe worshiping God doesn't mean I have great loving feelings and excitement all the time. Maybe true worship is during the ordinary days of life when I feel nothing.”

This is an encouraging post and to read it in its entirety, follow this link.


Joel B. said...

Matthew's post is very good and encouraging, as is yours here. Having done the pentecostal thing in the past, and having then gone to a church for 7 years that is big on "mood music" (aka Praise and Worship) and "We are here to 'Pump You Up'" messages, it's hard sometimes to shake the whole notion that I'm supposed to be feeling / hearing / receiving something big from God all the time. Ah, to just rest and relax and live in each moment of each day. That's life.

lionwoman said...

Thanks for this message Aida. My opinion is that the American culture that favors extroverts has taken over these church services. Many extroverts thrive on the "roller coaster" ride, always looking for the next high. Meanwhile over time, it stresses out introverts.

Bino M. said...

Oh Aida! What a great post! You and Mathew made awesome points...


Aida said...

Thanks, Joel. It’s true. Everything about the service is geared towards affecting our emotions so, when we leave and get back to real life, it’s hard to understand why we’re not continually getting goose bumps. As you said, to just rest and relax is so wonderful and each day has some fantastic moments when we simply love someone who needs to be loved. That I believe is the normal christian life.

Amy, I agree. The highs of most church services after a while just don’t generate enough excitement so they have to step up the pace. I remember the Assembly of God church I attended where the pastor just wore everyone out. I really prefer where I now go Sunday mornings. They have a praise team but very little activity is expected of the regular members so it’s nice to be able to just chill if I want during the singing part. Sometimes, if I get tired of standing, I’ll just sit and simply listen to the others sing.

Thanks, Bino. Matthew’s post was really great and definitely got me thinking. I believe our understanding of what it means to be a believer is upside down and that causes us a lot of problem because of our performance based religious beliefs.

Jim Robbins said...

I like what Oswald Chambers said about faith in the day-to-day: To paraphrase, he suggests that it's easier to trust him when it's really rough going. It's the day-to-day, slogging it out in the trenches that believing and hope are harder.

Aida said...

Great comment, Jim, and very true.