Friday, September 14, 2007

Nothing has changed. Yet everything is different.

Nothing has changed – Yet everything is different.

Nothing has changed. I love the Church. I try to gather with the Church as much as I can. I delight in the Church.

Yet everything is different. I don’t go “to” church. I don’t go to services. I don’t participate in any church activities. All my friends do not belong to the same “church.” I am not a leader in the “church.” My kids are not being raised in the "church."

Nothing has changed. I love to worship. I love worship songs that bring my heart, mind and spirit into the same place where the Spirit of Father feels real to me.

Yet everything is different. Worship is not prepackaged for me. I don’t “go” to worship anymore. If I worship it is by my own decision to make time to tell Father that I love him. Sometimes worship does not even involve singing. Sometimes it is just in the sitting and listening. Sometimes it is in the loving of someone else that Father puts in my path. Sometimes it is in preparing dinner for my family so that we can gather around the table and love each other and have Father there with us.

Nothing has changed. I love to give. I love to give an offering of money. I love to be generous.

Yet everything is different. I no longer have one basket that I put all my offerings in. I no longer give from a place where if I don’t, God will be mean to me. I no longer give out of obligation. No one ever sees me give anymore. I don’t march down front to put in my money into a basked in front of the whole “church”. I give a lot more to the poor.

Nothing has changed. I love fellowship. I love to help people grow to be a follower of Jesus. I also love to learn from others how to grow more to be like Him.

Yet everything is different. I don’t have prepackaged fellowship. There are no meetings that I attend where the “fellowship time” is set aside for me. Many friends no longer want to have fellowship with me because they perceive that I hurt them by leaving their church. Fellowship is much more intimate now – just with a few. Much like how sweet something tastes after you have eliminated sugar from your diet, this fellowship is soooo sweet. Even brief encounters with other Christians (that I don’t’ even know) at a bank or grocery story feels like the sweetest fellowship ever.

Nothing has changed. I love God. I speak to Him. I even call this “prayer” sometimes. Nothing has changed.

Yet everything is different. I have changed how I speak to Him. I sit with Him mostly and do not speak. I listen a lot more. I have changed from calling him “The” Father to just Father. I ask him for other things – not so much my own stuff anymore. I don’t pray about “church” things anymore.


Nothing has changed. I love the teaching that comes from others on the Word of God. I love to hear what they have to say.

Yet everything is different. I don’t have prepackaged teaching every Sunday morning. I have to go and search it out. Also, for the first time in my life I allow myself to question who is teaching and what they are saying. I can disagree. I can love one part and spit the other parts out. I have to decide for myself if it matches up to the Word in a way that I think that Jesus and the disciples meant it to. Another thing is different too. I learn from anyone who speaks. I am not forced to only read or hear one “stream” of beliefs. I have read or heard from staunch Presbyterians, atheists, the Reformed faith, the charismatic teachers and most lovely, those who sit around my table with me. I love to be with others who are learning new things. I’m on a journey and it is fun to have so many of you talking to me, teaching me as I go.

Nothing has changed. Yet everything is different.

13 comments:

PJ said...

Beautiful and true.

Erin said...

Yes. That's awesome. Perfect description.

Mike said...

Great thoughts. We can find God anywhere, all we have to do is invite him along!

There is a song from Avalon called "Where Joy and Sorrow Meet". I have been wanting to write a service based on that song and I feel that your ideas might fit well. If it's ok, I'd like to use some of them.

Barb said...

Thanks all,

Mike, the more I read other's thoughts the more I realize that my thoughts are not orriginal at all but have been voiced through the centuries with the same questions, feelings and insights. Nothing, truly is new. You may use any thoughts that ring true that you wish. Blessings to you and yours.

Cindy said...

Barb,
that was so well written and piognant. thank you.

Sarah said...

Beautiful is the right word. There is so much life on this post! Reading it was like drinking a refreshing cup of cool water (okay, that's a bit cheesy, but still true). It's like hearing the song of a songbird whose just been released back into it's natural habitat...

Watchman said...

written like something out of ecclesiates. i love your use of paradox in your post. i identify with it well on this relaxing sunday morning

glenn said...

Simply beautiful in its tuth, simplicity and eloquence. Thank you, Barb!

travis said...

Beautifully put! Thank you!

Mary said...

Thanks for posting this. I rings really true for many, I suspect.

Susie said...

I just happened onto your blog. I am so in tune with where you say you are--but I also carry a heavy bitterness that I don't hear in your words here, bitterness that I don't know how to rid myself of. Ours is a different place, different people, but I wonder how much our stories might coincide?

Keep writing--it might help keep my head above the water.

Barb said...

Susie, How long has it been? I don't have so much bitterness as I do despondency sometimes. My daughter (22) has bitterness for the both of us. I almost feel as if I somehow asked for it because of my involvement into making it into the kind of place it became. Would love to hear your story. You can write to me at formerleader at hotmail dot com if you wish.

Sue said...

Just reading up on old posts. This fits my life to a t. The same on the outside ... yet radically different. It never ceases to amaze me how much our perspectives can change if we let Him lead. Awesome ...