Sit with me a bit and mourn, will you? Dying doesn’t come easy.
I’m not, by default, a religious person. In fact, I would go so far to say that I hate meaningless rituals and religious services. They nauseate me. Yet much of my life, this is what I have perceived in the church and many of its followers.
Forgive me for being blunt. It’s one of my best and worst traits.
But just as I was ready to give up on it all – on religion – in my youth… there was Jesus. Out of the box, come as you are, a very real and uncontainable, Jesus.
Then there was church. Church felt shallow. Never quite fed the soul. Never quite understood what everyone was meeting for. To worship? Hmmm. If one hour a week does that. To fellowship? I guess. But why then, does everyone take off in such a hurry once the sermon is over? To feel righteous? Does a meeting take away sin?
But then, there was Jesus. Magnificent, wonderful Jesus. I met him, you know. Really met him. Not a voice in my head. Not words on a page. Real Jesus. I met him.
He was there that night, under the stars. He saw what those men did to me, though the alcohol made me forget.
He was there when I whispered the three words that would change my life: Jesus help me.
He was there as my son lay dying. Swollen. Glazed over eyes. Mouth as dry as the desert. He simply touched him and the doctors could not explain how the sick baby boy was restored. But I knew. Because I had already met the Healer.
He was there as the very people who brought me to him slandered me and rejected me, over and over without reason. He sat with me, not above me watching, but with me. Emmanuel, God with us, sat in the dust with me.
He’s been there as I’ve become invisible to everyone around me. Forgotten in the busyness of life. Every morning he was there. Speaking to me: “You are not alone.”
He was there when I lost my mind, over and over. When the panic took over and all reason was lost. Sheer panic and terror overtook me. Unexplainable. Yet, He was there all along, a constant peace: “Its okay. I’ve got this.”
But Jesus, where are you now?
The verse of the day doesn’t cut it. A short prayer before bed. Rhymes chanted before each meal. These aren’t you. These are symbols. Symbols of a dying faith.
Where are your people? They seem to have gone into hiding. I miss being with them.
Where are you? I’m searching everywhere, but you’re nowhere to be found.
Yet, because I’ve met you, I will not doubt. I will not be shaken. Those who haven’t, well, I can see why they leave the faith.
But as for me, I will remember you and wait.