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Friday, November 24, 2006

Matters of the heart and soul

I was thinking about the statement "Christ is my personal savior," and if I asked twelve different persons to describe what that means, I would most likely receive twelve different answers. And doesn't that makes sense?

If one has a close personal friend, that relationship is unique. So if I asked twelve different persons to describe their best friend, I would get twelve different answers. When I think of a best friend I think of someone that I can share matters of the heart and soul. I would go further and say close personal friendships are all about sharing, sharing in the most trusting way, sharing of thoughts, sharing of time, sharing of help, sharing of care; sharing that wants only sharing in return.

"Christ is my personal savior."

With Jesus I share my all, and in return? Jesus shares all with me.


Addendum from the break fast table

As this discussion made it to the break fast table this morning, Bro. Richard offered, "A personal relationship with Jesus is different insofar as we will never have the opportunity to know him in his earthly existence. The relationship must therefore be formed on what we can learn about Jesus secondhand rather than by a firsthand experience; but this is no different from forming a personal relationship with somebody by correspondence."

To which Bro. Sedwick countered with, "Does my reading of the collected letters of C.S. Lewis bring me into a personal relationship with Lewis?"

Then Bro. Simon declared, "I know God through Jesus."

And Bro. Juniper nodded in agreement, adding, "We are mere humans and God is God and will forever be beyond our comprehension were it not for God made flesh in Jesus."

Then Bro. Richard raised his fork and jabbed it a few times in the air and said he wished to clarify his meaning of "correspondence" by saying that praying directly to Jesus is more than letterwriting, because the words in the letters of Jesus (he explained he means the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels) are no ordinary words, but words that come alive in his life.

With that he looked to Bro. Sedwick who then asked, "Do you conjure up an image of Jesus inside your head, and to that image you pray to?"

Again Bro. Richard began swirling his fork in the air while attempting to clarified himself, saying that an image of Jesus created in his mind is more than a childish imaginary friend, but a symbolic meeting place where the material and the spiritual can intersect.

This prompted a rather excited Bro. Juniper to say, "The intersection of the material horizontal plane and the spiritual vertical plane, and at that intersection one can make a turn from the horizontal to the vertical. Without this intersection, one is forever living in the material world."

Slapping his fork down on the table Bro. Richard exclaimed, "Yes! It is on the horizontal plane (he picked up his knife and in a demonstration, held it horizontally before his face) that one 'knows about Jesus' and it is on the vertical plane (he quickly switched his knife from horizontal to vertical) that one 'knows Jesus'!"

After a bit of silence, Bro. Sedwick offered, "Perhaps the 'personal' in 'Jesus is my personal savior' is the 'me' of the equation, is my commitment to Christ my utmost personal concern?"

Bro. Sedwick looked directly at Bro. Richard and made a display of raising his eyebrows.

Then at the far end of the table I heard a clearing of the throat, then finishing his bowl of boiled oatmeal, Bro. Clarence seemed to wake to the discussion and said, "Yes, intellectual Christianity is certainly a cool affair ... I find the music of Miles Davis cool, I find my IBM Selectric typewriters cool, I find weaving hats from yucca cool, I find my telescope really cool, and thanks to Brother Bartleby (he pointed his spoon at me) for his really cool paint job ... and life is full of cool things, yet in all this coolness, without the hotness of the Word, it would all be nothing."

Bro. Sedwick let out a hardy laugh and said, "When your cool things move you from the horizontal world to the vertical world, then they act as the vehicle, they themselves are but the transporters, yet too many mistake the vehicles for the journey."

To which Bro. Clarence replied, "Not vehicles, but life buoys. That's how I picture these things in life that keep us afloat, good things, things that make the journey fun."

Just then we heard the bell let out a gong and with that we all pushed ourselves back from the table and Bro. Sedwick rose first and with a bit of finality, said, "Just make sure you keep a few of those life buoys on hand so that when you see others drifting in the seas of indifference, you have something to offer them."

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