For a week now I’ve been mulling over something that seemed so crystal clear at the outset but has gotten more and more elusive. I wrote it once and thought I needed to preface it with another story I’d been reading, but that made it too long. Trying to split it into two weeks worth didn’t seem to be working. Gradually, my thinking has been refined; and yesterday’s activities and this morning’s Scripture meditations helped things all gel. I’ll scrap the original draft and begin all over, trying to keep this simple and concise.
Last Sunday we observed Communion along with celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. As my tongue did that little split-second action of storing my gum in my cheek so it wouldn’t amalgamate with the bread, a totally unbidden thought sprang into my awareness. “Compartmentalized Christianity.”
Dismissing the thought as a “nothing,” I concentrated on the rest of the Communion service. But, even though it was a pretty earthy little analogy, and probably not exactly on target, it hasn’t disappeared from my thinking for the week.
Monday morning, as two TV personalities were chatting about their “church” experiences of the day before, I couldn’t help thinking of the passion I have always embraced of everything belonging to God, of everything we do being a bringing back to Him of the worship due Him—that we bring it back to Him as a thank offering, not as something brought to Him to win His favor. There’s a whole bunch more wrapped up in that way of thinking, but as I said before, I’m trying to keep it simple and short enough to fit into this space.
Anyway, other conversations throughout the week presented themselves and heightened my awareness as the Holy Spirit ran them through that “sieve.” Filtering. I began hearing our little conversations over coffee through the ears of the person the next booth over. I began viewing our actions through the eyes of an onlooker wondering what our allegiance to Jesus was all about anyway. What was the fragrance like? The essence?
Funny thing is, though, as I watched—often with negative thoughts concerning others, finger pointing—in my MIND anyway, every time I pointed one toward someone else, three were pointing back at me, and I became acutely aware of how often my own walk was not reflecting my talk.
Yesterday, for instance, when the speaker at the women’s tea at Maple Vista reminded us that God made us in His own image, that, when we follow the redemptive thread, that means our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and worthy of the honor due Him, I cringed. A lot. I thought back to that half-baked pact Mike and I had made two days before about dropping 20 pounds, which I had followed by tackling the king-size outrageous candy bar. Because it was there. (Only a quarter of it. Twice. Because the first piece didn’t really measure up: the caramel part was stuck to the wrapper—which was probably why it was on sale next to the register. Duh!! How does my logic make any sense?? (It doesn’t, of course.) Followed by the two leftover pink mini- Peeps (which I don’t even like but which were there when I was alone in the house.) Who did I think I was kidding? And what kind of Temple-keeping did I think that was?
There were many more. Now and then Pride reared its ugly head. And pride led to judging—which is God’s job and not mine. Now and again procrastination showed up. I won’t go into details of all the other things I discovered about myself. And along the way, I realized I wasn’t bringing my best to the Keeper of the Universe, whose child I am because I was purchased at a great, great cost. What I bring, I bring not because He needs it, because of course He doesn’t. But because, if I am passionate about believing this whole world belongs to God thing (which I am) and if I am claiming integrity (all of one piece–integrity—cut of one cloth—which I was) well…need I say more? All I started out saying with that cheesy—well, gummy—illustration is that that little unbidden nudge about how we like to compartmentalize our Christianity (saving it for C&E churchgoers or even for regular weekly church attenders) doesn’t cut it with the Almighty. Nor does it pass the sniff test with those who are watching.
To close this out, I will quote what I once wrote about my dad. I think it sums up how I want to live. “Seamless. All of one cloth. Those are definitions I heard once of the word integrity. My dad’s life was woven over time—the good and the bad, and the ordinary. The mundane and the more remarkable. Seamlessly woven together, I like to think, by the Master Weaver, as He drew the thread of redemption through every little bit of his life, pulling it all together into something seamless. And I remember thinking: ‘That’s my dad—the same whether he’s with his kids or in the hog lot or in the workplace.”
Nothing compartmentalized about his Christianity.
Email Willene at firstname.lastname@example.org.