Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Relationships - Again?

I know there are some church folks who get tired of hearing about the importance of relationships. It's actually tragic that it was "out of vogue" for so long, other than the occasional cliche' about "having a personal relationship with Jesus." My training and experience was clear. Church wasn't about relationships, but about doing church. It took decades for me to discover that church is ALL ABOUT relationships - or should be. The New Testament is clear, if we don't go to it with preconceived conclusions, the church exists as a tool to build spiritual relationships that help us love one another and thus learn how to love God. It's what getting together is supposed to accomplish. (Read Eph.4:11-16 and 1 Jn.4 again) It is sad that some resist that simplicity and purpose. It changes the paradigm for church as a detached, non-participatory, scoot-in-scoot-out, once a week spiritual activity that labels us "Christan" in the eyes of those we want to impress. Relationships require time, effort, and commitment. It means investing in something other than work and home. It means risking ourselves, risking the possibility of disappointment and hurt, and risking having to give more than we receive - at least temporarily. That is more than many people want church (God) to demand of them.
It's not just a risk - it's a certainty. When we choose to get close to people, there will be problems. The same is true the second that beautiful baby of yours takes it's first breath. Relationships always come with problems, and with love, and with all the wonderful joys that so out-weigh those problems. It all comes back to believing what our hearts tell us. We know, though we often forget, that life isn't about comforts, possessions, accomplishments, prestige, and flashes of happiness. We know, when we remove all the clutter, that life is about who you love and who loves you back.
I wasn't going to write about all that with this blog. I was just going to write about how wonderful is was to spend some time with a great friend the last couple days. A brother who has been a loyal and loving friend for about fifteen years. A brother who has been with me through peaks and valleys, shared some beautiful memories, and who has been both a student and a teacher to me. A friend - I met at church - years ago - who I know I'll get to be with for eternity, even if we don't see each other but once or twice a year. That's what God put His church here for.
I thank God for all the wonderful relationships I've been blessed to have - at church.

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