Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This Is Why I Sing

"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." --Jeremiah 29:13

This has become a passion of mine. I grew up in a church that taught me to believe in the Living God simply because "the Bible told me so." This God was angry... wrathful... something to be feared. He was distant and impersonal. Prayer was not a petition for His loving hand to reach down through the cosmos and touch our world- it was a one-sided repetition that signified the beginning and end of the sermon and gave thanks for each meal. And there was talk of this man Jesus... the Son of God Himself; a man who taught us amazing insights about ourselves, healed the sick, performed signs and wonders, and endured a horrible death on the cross so that we might have everlasting life, yet NOBODY was excited about Him! People sat expressionless and deathly still as they sang acapella from hardcover hymnals. I sang too. I didn't really know what I was singing, but I sure loved those words...

"O victoreeee in Jesus... my Savior, forever... He sought meee, and bought meee... With His redeeming blood... He loved me errrrre, I knew Him... and all my love is due Him... He plunged meeee... to victoreeee... beneath the cleansing floooood..."

While everyone else stood around me and likewise professed those same words with their mouths in complete stillness and with their hands firmly at their sides, I felt animated as I sang them. I could hardly stand still; I made sweeping motions with my hands like I was conducting an orchestra. Something inside me was intrigued by those words. It was a joyous feeling; so much so that I would find myself singing them everywhere I went.

"Up from the grave he aroooose... with a mighty triumph o'er his foes... He arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever, with his saints to reign... He arose! He arooooose! Hallelujah! Christ aroooose!"

I would bend down and then raise my hands up as high as I could get them when it was time to sing that chorus. I would march in place. Fellow congregants would point and snicker. A mess in a dress, with stringy hair and bruised up knees, I found it just wasn't humanly possible to stand still when singing songs with a victorious theme. My little heart had been engaged. I knew something; and for several years after that, over time that 'something' would be slowly devoured by the locusts of loneliness and heartbreak time and time again- that is, all but a small remnant that wouldn't be revived, multiplied, and poured out until I was nearly 31 years old. It's notable that at the tender age of five, it felt so right to march victoriously. There are tears as I write this, because as I look back between now and then, I can see His fingerprints all over my life. I was never alone. He was always lurking; outside my door when my parents fought... across from me at the table where I held solitary tea parties... between me and the predatory men who took away my precious innocence... near the bathtub where I considered drowning myself after being raped by someone I loved and trusted... through betrayal after betrayal and rejection after rejection... it was the same little girl, throwing her hands up and marching victoriously. That's who He saw when He looked at me. That's who I am today. I'm still here, still marching, and once again victorious- and it's all because of a love that surpasses human understanding.

Jesus and I fell out of touch for many years. I had forgotten Him, but He hadn't forgotten me. Eventually, our worlds would once again collide in an extraordinary way, through an extraordinary friendship, and I would never be the same. I owe a greater debt to this man than I could ever repay. Imagine walking out in front of an oncoming car, and being tackled by a stranger who pushes you to safety, and then humbly goes on his way before you even know what hit you. Who was that person? What was their name? Where did they come from? How did they happen to be in the right place at the right time, that you would even be able to sit here and ponder the character of one who was so unselfish that he would put himself in harm's way for you? Who is he, that he would be willing to lay his life down for you?

Wouldn't you chase that person down? To see their face, hug their neck, or at the very least, to offer thanks for being able to live to see another day? Wouldn't you be enamored by such a selfless act of love?

It is because One has so unselfishly given Himself for me in the most humbling way that I feel compelled to chase Him down; to seek Him with ALL my heart, in every capacity in which He may be found. This is the foundation for this blog; to follow the clues of science and history in pursuit of bridging the gap between myself and this peasant... this mere tekton from Nazareth whose hands created the stars, whose words have made lives new, and whose blood has saved us and bound us to one another. To know who He is, where He came from, and why, as just one being among billions, He would be mindful of little me. As repayment for this great gift, I lay down my life, however and whatever it may cost me, to share His story and mine. You may call me ignorant, unrealistic, or even crazy, but I know what I know- and I will gladly take my place and title in space and time as one of the happiest, most fulfilled, purposeful, and confident deludanoids you know ;-)

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