Thursday, December 4, 2008
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
If we do not practice these things, our religion is flawed.
A lot of Christians do not like the word "Religion". It brings visions of pharisees and church pews and hymnals. Of halls filled with the smell of bake sale and quilt. Little old ladies who hold a Kleenex for hours. Preachers who shout and sweat from the armpits (I sweat from there I must admit). It brings thoughts of rules and ceremonies and stain glass. Of baptismals behind the stage with paintings of Jesus standing among sheep. I grew up in these churches. Hated them. Now miss them sometimes.
My mom used to drive a broken down Ghetto Van to River Rouge (Little Detroit) just picking up shoeless kids and taking them to church and to children's activities at church, which is funny because imagine if a person in a big van with no back seats at all pulled up in front of your house and let your child in to the back of a van where they would sit on the floor and go God knows where. It was a different time then. She did this 3 times a week. She also bought a clown suit and practiced some tricks for the kids, just because she loved Jesus. I used to hate these memories. Not now. What a servant she is. Today, she puts on church services for the elderly confined to nursing homes. This is true religion. This is the face and hands of Jesus.
It isn't about getting bigger buildings, or drawing more people to fill enough seats to justify building a bigger building. It isn't about church dogma or denominations. It is about getting your hands dirty for the sake of Loving our God. The God that makes the stars also hears our hearts break and uses others to show us just how much He loves us.
I needed to be excited today. I didn't sleep last night which is usually a precursor to a bad day. I got up, took Caeden to school and went to school. On the way I was listening to this song called "Hold My Heart' by Tenth Avenue North and the Chorus says:
Could the maker of the stars, hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life is all I am, right now I can barely stand,
If your everything you say you are, will you come close and hold my heart
I heard it before, in fact a hundred times, but this time it drew blood. My eyes filled with tears and I cried all the way to school. For some, you may think this is lame. That's OK, I never minded being lame. I hope you get lame someday too. But I needed it because it was a reminder that there are times that God seems to be on the other side of the galaxy. But the same God that made all things is so in tune with how we feel and hurt and rejoice, and He is here to hold us up. Like a doctor who puts his hands inside the chest of a heart patient and pumps his heart for him, God repairs us.
Sometimes I need some tears to remind me what my religion and job as a pastor is all about. It is about my hands, not my mouth.
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Labels: Caeden just asked me who that monster is holding the baby in the picture, That van was held together by duct tape
I'm a simple person to figure out. I usually write it all down here. I try not to pretend to be anything. I am what I am and that's good enough until it's not anymore. I want my kids to remember me smiling when I'm gone. Integrity is the very basis of a good life. I love my God, my wife, my kids, my friends, and I try to love all of the rest of you.