Attachments of Faith

Posted by: Richenda at Monday December 15, 2014 in

Lodi – Il Tempio Civico della Beata Vergine Incoronata ByGiovanni 2014 Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

I am attached to the idea of really good church. I love the feeling I get when I walk into a place that feels like sanctuary, as if the Holy Spirit has touched down there so many times that one day the Spirit decided simply to stay, and cry, and play, and love the people who worship there for as long as there is lamenting and praising before God.

I am attached to the idea of deeply loving God, of breathing in and of and with the Holy Spirit as I lift my hands to pray, lift my voice to sing, lift my heart to all that is Good, and lift my soul to the Lord, for my soul belongs to God. I am deeply attached to the word ‘beloved.’

I am attached to the notion of really good church community. I love the idea of being one of a great family of believers with whom I work for the glory of the Kingdom of God. And yes I said ‘glory,’ because God is glorious. And yes, I believe there is and will be a kingdom of God, a shining city, welcoming to all people, abundant with all creation, and flowing with the waters of life.

Warm enough by Andrew Vargas 2007 flickr CC BY 2.0

I am attached to—no committed to—the journey of my Christian faith. And I love being in a small group of people willing to share that journey with me, enriching my faith, challenging my limitations, strengthening my cowardice, holding my hand. I seek and need that circle of folk, people who I am honored to listened to, blessed to have shared with, and know I can count on for support and prayer come what may.

I am attached to good rituals of ‘hello’ and ‘farewell.’ I love being greeted by a brother or sister of the church who has the vulnerability and strength to look into my eyes warmly and lovingly. This is the sort of ‘hello’ you make when you really mean it! It says, ‘welcome’ and ‘I see you.’ Likewise I love a really good goodbye and fare well, with eye contact and a warm touch, a palm pressed against my forearm, a palm raised in a gesture of benediction. Like this:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face…
(Irish Blessing)

Church Dancing by Adam Cohn 2011 flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I am attached living the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth with all my ability. I want to find compassion, generosity, kindness, and courage within me every day. I want to encourage compassion, generosity, kindness and courage in others. I want all people to know how precious they really are. I want people to really get that inside, to their core, that they are children of God. I want people to know that no matter how hard it gets or how bad they feel there is nothing more powerful than God, and God can and will work Goodness in their life.

I love the idea of Christ-like companionship—all people, all faces, all generations. I am attached to the hope of both receiving and providing that companionship. I am attached to the idea that I can learn to truly and humbly see the light in my family, my friend, my enemy and my neighbor, whether or not they see the light in me.

Looking Across Generations in Hyderabad by United Nations Photo 2009 Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I am attached to the idea of Grace—that God loves and blesses us even when we don’t deserve it. Even if we fall short over and over again, I am attached to the idea that we practice getting up, and getting up again, and in each falling short and getting up we are learning a little bit more to trust in God until one day we may be sanctified, a whole people “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ep 4:13)

Attachments are a feature of our lives. We are too often attached to things that are not life affirming. Because we think we are not worthy on the inside, or are too hurried or too depleted, or because we don’t really love, we are reluctant to participate in rituals of greeting, in small groups of listening, or in the kingdom work of building communities of justice and compassion. We raise up idols of wealth and status, after all these are far easier to chase after in the short term, in the midst of a life of turmoil and disconnection, when the waters of God’s shining city seem impossibly far away.

There are some who would say the highest order of human good is to let go of all attachments, every one. There are also those who say that self-seeking is the only right seeking. But I am not attached to those ideas. I believe that those of us called to Christianity are called to some attachments. I believe Christian discipleship is a discipline of heart and mind and Spirit. I believe that as a Christian I am indeed called to be and do things that matter in the world. I believe that we are called to this: to act with justice, to love kindness, to serve our neighbor, to love our enemy, and to walk humbly with our God.

Yes. I am very, very much attached to that. And I invite you to be a Christian disciple and to walk the Way with me.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face shine upon you.
May the Lord look toward you and grant you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26)

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