Many years ago I was really struggling when in the religious scene, feeling that by and large, people were not aware, or truly believing that Jesus was actually in their midst. I mean if He was REALLY sitting (or standing) among us, then why were we talking about Him as if He wasn’t there? Why were we singing and praying in such a religiously goofy way? It didn’t make sense to me that we weren’t more quiet and listening. Seriously, why all the weirdness? In fact, I’ve felt this same feeling about many of the “house church” meetings I’ve attended as well.
The other day I ran across a picture that I drew when I was just 20 years old. It was a “church in a box,” with Jesus standing outside the glass walls, and everyone inside completely unaware that He was out in the streets with the common unreligious folk.
Fast forward to now. As many of you know, my husband and I run a campground. It has a wide variety of people. Many of whom hang with us in our cabin, or around the bonfire. I think about this often – that despite the fact that there is a lot of drinking, swearing, and rock music going on around here – that I am now comfortable with all types of people in the world, and can sense Jesus is in our midst having fun with them, and loving on them.
Does this sound heretical?
Let me be even more provocative. It used to be that for people to know Jesus, I invited them to our meetings. Later I just encouraged people to go to Him directly. But now I am now increasingly filled with this truth … “If you want to get to know Jesus, get to know me.”
In other words, the mystery of “Christ in me – and you” is a total game-changer for what religion calls “evangelism,” even since Jesus walked the earth. The fact is, Christ dwells in us, and we are the light of the world. So knowing Jesus has to be something totally dependent on relationship now, wouldn’t you say? I’m thinking that it even boils down to the necessity for our very words, touch, etc. to transfer divine life and freedom to others.
Now with that being said, I wish big miracles were happening all around me, so that it always “felt” like Jesus was living in me. It’s just not that way, to my sadness at times. But I enjoy the daily opportunities to love people, and see their guilt, shame, and fear melt away – albiet slowly most the time. It’s hard to see what others see, and I don’t want to presume I know this — but never in my life have I ever been so comfortable to bring up the living Jesus in conversation then ever before in my life, and with such “ungodly” people, too (as the religious might call them). No more is the “gospel” (as I’m growing to know it more accurately) something weird and awkward to share with others like it used to be. It’s truly become something – or more intimately, Someone – I live and breathe every day, because it’s something/Someone that has become a very part of me.
Maybe too, because I’m not really different from anybody else. Definitely not any “better.”