Sunday, March 16, 2008

In my Father's house are many rooms.

Are you ready for Easter? I hope to help you prepare for one of the greatest days in the history of the Church and humanity. I am currently studying what it means to be in union with Christ or abide in Christ. This is a central aspect of the Orthodox Church Movement. It is, unfortunately, largely ignored in Roman Catholic and Protestant circles. Perhaps that is because we in the West think like Greek Scientists. Thankfully, Orthodox theology and practice is much more Eastern, as is the Bible.

Yesterday, Saturday, March 15, about fifty of us had a half day of seeking God's presence so we might dwell in Him. It was a great day. Over the following posts I will share my insights and show photos of our time together.

What do you think it means to "Abide in Jesus Christ?" Almost the whole of John 14 and John 15 is focused on describing Jesus' description of the future of Christianity. Yet, many of the conversations and discussions as well as the sermons largely miss the point.
Here is my challenge. Read John 14 and try to imagine what Jesus is talking about. Do not read John 15 yet. Yield not to the temptation to look at the metaphor Jesus used to explain what He meant.

Now, write out what it means to abide. Use other terms and other concepts. In fact, write your own metaphor or word picture as if you had to describe it to another person.

Send your insights and ideas to me and I will print them. The best metaphor will receive one of my books free and get their name and picture on this blog.


paula clare said...

Hi Gary! Wow...I must confess I've never read Chapter 14 without reading the explanation in 15...however, doing so this time has me thinking.

Of course I realize we all read through personal "filters" and belief systems. We were challenged during our time in seminary to "let those go" and try to read scripture with new eyes...I am finding myself needing to do the same in this exercise.

Many rooms...I believe Jesus is saying that first of all, He wants us to know that He wants us to be with Him. He came to US to save us, but He WANTS US to be with HIM. The implications of THAT are truly enough to blow your mind.

Additionally, when He says, MANY rooms,perhaps He is saying that there will be lots of folks there, coming from many different places. (Not different RELIGIONS particularly, because He also said, I am THE Way, THE Truth and THE life.) But perhaps many different "kinds" of Christians. Postmodern and pre-trib and post-trib and liberal and conservative and mainstream and older and younger...folks IN the Church and folks who are wandering but faithful outside the Church walls.

The line that KILLS me is, "Have I been with you so long that you do not know Me?" Wow. Whoa. What would our churches today say in answer to THAT question? What does a church look like that DOES know Him? What does a CHRISTIAN look like that knows Him?Should we not look, act, talk, walk differently? Isn't knowing Him supposed to be a life altering experience? Do we live "altered" (or altAred) lives?

Abiding in Him is a little like being a baby inside the womb. We live there for 9 months, extracting everything we need from our mother. She provides us with all the nourishment, support, strength, and energy required to make our birth day debut. Oh to be SO dependent on God! Would it not be a wonderful thing to take literally the lyric, "You are the air that I breathe..I am desperate for You..."

I think *I* could do with a bit more desperation. What about you?

Gary Sweeten said...

Paula, Terrifice insights. Keep looking and thinking. You may get the book!