A Wonderful Truth
Dear Port Gardner Church,
I hope you had a good time of worshiping and celebrating our risen Lord in your homes last Sunday. While we enjoyed a time of worship here at Fort Hickman I admit that I have been quite out of sorts lately and spending Easter morning at home in front of the fireplace was indeed a dramatic change from years past.
It is interesting to discover that we all have some sense of comfort in traditions. The tradition of gathering together and greeting one another in Christian love and kindness is an important part of the life of the believer, but when it is taken away for a time it seems that our real motivations are exposed. This is certainly true of my life.
I like people. I like being around people. I like talking with and fellowshiping with the people of God. I like talking with neighbors and the local grocery clerks and whoever comes across my path throughout the day. But this has all been taken away for now and I'm starting to see how I have put these kinds of 'normal' behaviors into a category that supports my view of Christianity and yet takes me away from God Himself.
I've made the benefits of community into an idol in that I have relied — many times — upon the gathering of people and the subsequent 'good feeling' I get from it, instead of a true closeness with God.
If you are like me, you might take comfort from certain traditions and practices such as gathering with friends and the people of God. There is nothing wrong with doing so. But it can be easy to replace the purpose of God's presence in our lives with the good feelings that we might receive through common behaviors that, in truth, could happen without God. We then, in effect, enjoy the gift of community without recognizing the giver of the gift.
I am encouraged that as these truths become evident in my walk with Christ He is so gracious to lovingly bring me back to Himself. This is the substance of sanctification ... God's continuing and everlasting grace and love for those whom He has called unto Himself. Even in our weakness, our wandering and lack of devotion ... God holds us ever so tightly, and He will never let us go. Thanks be to Almighty God for His love for us is indeed vast and none can comprehend it.
You are in my prayers daily. God bless you,