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Friday, October 26, 2012

A Special Friend

I've considered myself a Christian all my life; I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and part of the triune Godhead. I believe that He died on the Cross, rose from the tomb three days later, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. That's about as far as I ever went.

Lately I tried Bible Study to gain a deeper appreciation of the faith, and nearly ended up destroying what I had. I wrote about that a while back. It wasn't much fun, and I'm still feeling some of the effects.

The other 'issue' in my attempts to deepen the understanding of my faith was 'developing a personal relationship with Christ'.

I know it's possible - my wife has that, so do a lot of people at church, and just about everyone on Christian TV is either best friends with Jesus, or they're on the edge of being in love with Him.

But how do you get from here...a formal and respectful reverence for the Supreme Being of the Universe...to something that's "more like falling in love than giving my allegiance", to quote a recently popular song.

I asked, and was told, "open you heart and ask Jesus to come in". But how on Earth do you do that? What does it mean, to open your heart in that way, so that it becomes something far greater than the orchestration of emotions in support of an abstraction?

Should it be like opening your heart to a lost and frightened dog? I can do that easily enough, but the relationship's different - the dog's the emotional supplicant. Strike one.

Should it be like the beloved memory of a person whose voice you can hear in your head, whose touch you can feel, whose laughter and tears have the power to move you, across the miles? I couldn't hear Him, see Him, feel Him. Strike two.

But there's no Strike Three. I realized that we're all different, and for every hundred people that go into the party, that join the dance, there's someone outside, watching the occasional swirl of a dancer past a door left ajar. Someone who just doesn't mix well, who's not comfortable in the crowd, or who simply can't dance.

And that was me. When I went to parties as a younger man, I invariably ended up talking to the caterers, or walking the host's dog. I wasn't unhappy. I was just being me.

So maybe that's it. And maybe while I'm watching this party in Heaven's anteroom, the Caterer will come up and offer me a smoke, and watch with me in companionable silence.

And then, perhaps, the Hound of Heaven will come tail-wagging up, ready to play.

And I'll be among Friends.

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