The irony in this story doesn’t escape me. At the time, I was doing so much for the kingdom of God that I didn’t see the kingdom right in front of me. I was so busy trying to do God’s work, I hadn’t taken the time to see the world through God’s eyes. Ultimately it was an issue of honest worship. How could I presume to lead people to worship a God of grace and compassion if I didn’t allow his grace and compassion to flow through me?
Within religion, God becomes static, He becomes quantifiable almost, He becomes stagnant and rigid. But once a person realizes that God is a person, and that a relationship with Him can be as real and dynamic and exciting as a relationship between me and you, then religion turns to relationship.
Some may mourn the fact that Jane was martyred at the young age of 17. Certainly it was awful and evil, but I can’t help but rejoice when hearing about her life. Something about her young age is especially encouraging, as it challenges young people to live a life of boldness, courage, and devotion to God – even to death.
Neither of us expected our stories to turn out this way. Our other college friends got married, had kids, and lived in the cities they’d planned on with the jobs they’d hoped for. But not us. God doesn’t have us on the group plan.
I like bread. Not in an obsessive sort of way – I don’t dream about bread, or spend all of my waking moments thinking about bread – but in a steadier, more quotidian sort of way. It’s just part of the rhythm of life.
After three repetitions of the chorus from “10,000 Reasons” at church, I’m ready to call a time-out and connect with the maroon cushions, not stay on my feet for another four songs.
I tried to peel myself off the alley as the Spanish words got louder, men’s voices, but my Columbia pants stuck to the dirt. My bones ached and bowels churned. Montezuma was mounting his revenge and it was one of the worst hours of my life.
A stranger’s fingers grip mine. The words reverberate from my throat and into my ears. Liturgy is new for me–but stepping into the same words every Sunday works like a garden hoe on my heart. After weeks and months of hands grasping mine as we pray together, “Our Father in heaven,” two realizations have churned up from this regular tilling of the Lord’s Prayer.
God isn’t waiting for us to master the art of being a Christian—not in the way that we conquered first grade math, said goodbye to our teachers, and could count to a hundred on our own. He’s not expecting for us to navigate the politics at work, without his help. He’s not hoping that we’ll grow our own supply of patience, and not need his.
University was the beginning of the end for me. The end of innocence. You might think that statement hyperbolic, but I promise you it’s not. It is the end of innocence for most people. However, I think it can be a particularly jarring experience for believers. Everyone else goes to university expecting and hoping to lose their innocence; Christians go to university hoping against hope to keep it.