Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Along for the Ride

This song, along with a recent sermon on really understanding what we believe, and therefore how that results in our life, spurred some inner reflection about the depth of my own relationship with Jesus. 

Is he just a symbol for a faith I talk about but don't really walk out?  I think it's safe to say that for me, and most Christians I know, Jesus is much more than a figurine or a status symbol we where around our necks. When I first heard the song I loved that a 'secular' band was releasing it, what a great message, but I didn't really think it applied to me. He is much more than a charm or talisman, used to summon help and then to be done with when life is fine.  There is a definitely a two-way relationship that has been experienced, as intangible as it can sometimes seem, I can feel his presence in my life, his touch of love and comfort more real than any trinket I can physically hold.

Well, how about the view our pastor also touched on, that he is just a passenger, a buddy along for the ride?  This hits a little closer to home.  I know he is there with me, when I wake, when I lie down, when I sit and when I stand, he's the friend who truly is always there, a friend I can talk to in any moment, but too often I can get lost in a friendship that makes me feel like we're on an even playing field.  It's like going out to drive with my husband, I default to the driver's seat, we're equals, why shouldn't I be the one to drive? But if Jesus isn't in the driver's seat, he might as well just be the bobble-head on the dashboard.


It's no wonder it's challenging though, we don't have too many relationships with a 3-in-one-persons.  Is there any relationship you have where your need for friendship, parenting, counselling, is all met by one person? 

You may not be able to remember such a time, but at a very young age, it is very likely you did find all these a parent.  I watch my nieces with my sister and her husband, and they genuinely and thoroughly adore them, they love spending time with them, they share every good and bad experience with them, they are valued on the same level as their other friends.  They also look up to their parents, ask their advice, go to them with problems they want solved.  And yet they also are humble enough to recognize and trust their authority, they trust in their judgement, even if it is a stubborn capitulation, they do obey, they allow themselves to be shaped to their parents knowledge of right and wrong.  They also know their limits and when they have to rely on their parents.

A good example would be driving.  My nieces, age 4 and 5, humbly realize their driving skills do not equal that of their mom or dad's.  They don't pridefully demand to drive, they don't absent-mindedly default to climbing in the driver's seat, they aren't back seat driver's voicing their objections to the speed, the route, the destination, etc. This would seem utterly ridiculous to them, and if I even suggested they drive they would be wide eyed with terror, and then dissolve into giggles at the silliness of the notion.  No, what they do is trust. They may observe, they may ask questions, but they don't ever assume they could control the vehicle better than mom or dad.

Personally, I'm realizing I act more like I'm 15-16 years old, thinking I've matured enough be able to be in the driver's seat, too focused on my own desire/need for control/independence.  I am not so old I forget I am still quite dependent, but I want just enough independence that I can feel just a little more in control. But as I experience the harsh reality that control is pretty much an illusion, I finally gain some more spiritual maturity, a maturity that does not progress my independence, rather it takes me a step back. Into the back seat. I revert to the child buckled safely in the back, carefree in my complete trust in my Dad, content to just be along for the ride, happy to share his company and learn from him along the way.

"whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

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