Wednesday, February 17, 2016
My faith and relationship with God is none of your business
“My faith and relationship with God is none of your business, Pastor.”
That was the response I got from one of our council members 25 years ago. It is reflective of the attitude of many Christians who isolate themselves from each other, making faith an individualistic, pietistic practice. Some Christians worship in big box congregations, surrounded by thousands, but never connected to any of them. Others never leave home for worship, believing that “Jesus and Me” is all that is necessary. However, contrary to that hymn of faith, we do not, and should not, come to the garden alone.
Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness is often used as the inspiration for this personalized, privatized devotion, disconnected from the life of others. (Luke 4:1-13) It is the reason why, in Lent, we often participate in a private fast, devotion or quiet time that takes us away from others. However, Jesus did NOT go alone into the wilderness. Who went with him? The Holy Spirit. Jesus is always in relationship with the Father and Spirit, and Luke points this out to us regularly. Jesus is not some lone wolf who does not need others. Jesus’ ability to accomplish his salvific purpose is a result of his unity with the Father and Spirit and his connection to humanity. Yes, humanity. Luke makes sure we understand that Jesus is woven into the tapestry of humanity that dates back to God’s own hand (Luke 3:23-38). Luke makes sure that we understand that even in his darkest moment, the time of his passion, not only doesn’t he go to the garden alone (Luke 22:39-46), he does not go to the cross alone.
Therefore, I am asking you to do something different with your Lent journey. Instead of practicing a personalized, quiet devotion, find a means of connecting with someone else on your journey of faith. Your journey of faith may be yours, but it is not meant to be private. God has given us partners to walk with us so that we, like Jesus, never go anywhere alone.