Slow-motion Gethsemane, extended non-dance remix.

I was struck again last night by a comparison of the average Christian life with Jesus’s own earthly life two centuries ago.

His sacrifice and passion (suffering) consisted in living a brief, infinitely important human life, and then dying young because the world couldn’t continue to bear His awesome presence.

Ours, on the other hand, seems to be something like the opposite: having to live long, unimportant earthly lives, because the world doesn’t care whether or not we live or die, because we’re too “small” to register on its radar.

As far as I know, the Lord has never granted one of His people’s requests to die early or quickly; a long, normal life is their cross to bear. At least two of them–Elijah and Jonah–are mentioned in Scripture as having asked, but were not taken.

This might sound pessimistic, and maybe it is. But I know that the Lord will glorify us one day, and recompense any troubles or sorrows we’ve had here, with joy and gladness.

But everyone is so disconnected right now. The differences between people–Christians and non-Christians–are becoming so extreme, dividing us spiritually and emotionally much more than we are usually divided physically.

I have neighbors I’ve never met–and living “out in the country” isn’t an excuse, because there really isn’t much distance or land between us.

I can go hours without sharing human words with my co-workers. Yes, the automatic, employees-getting-the-job-done talk is there, but at the end of the shift everyone is more than happy to punch out in a hurry and go their separate ways to live their separated lives.

In my own case, people seem glad to get away from me.

The pain is sometimes so great, I have to ask the Lord again why I’m here. What’s the point, what’s the purpose? Am I really required to keep staying here, alive, on this planet, at this time?

His replies are always kind, gentle, compassionate, understanding. And here I stay.

December 3rd entry from Richard Wurmbrand’s daily devotional book REACHING TOWARD THE HEIGHTS

DECEMBER 3

“The works of the flesh are … adultery, fornication, uncleanness …”

GALATIANS 5:19

A preacher was asked at a student meeting, “What is wrong with premarital sex? Everyone tries four or five suits before buying one. Why should I not try sex with four or five girls before marrying one?”

The preacher answered, “There is a flaw in your judgment. By the same token, each girl has to try four or five young men before taking a husband. So in the end you buy a used suit instead of a new one.”

Premarital sex is not a preparation for marriage. Should theft be the preparation for an honest life? How can the sexual possession of a person, unaccompanied by love, prepare for a life based on the highest sentiment of affection between two beings of the opposite sex?

Sexual sins are frequent today. They can easily be forgiven, like all other sins. Isaiah said, “He [the Messiah] was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (53:5)–iniquities of whatever kind, including sexual ones. But after being forgiven, let us not continue in them. The price for extramarital affairs is much too high.

Think only about the fate of children born without a stable home, abandoned. Think about the grief of your parents and of the other person’s parents.

To avoid sexual sin, practice spiritual hygiene. Be choosy in reading books and magazines, in watching TV or movies. Fill your days to the brim with serving the Lord and your fellow men.

God’s unchanging love.

The Lord spoke to me last night, reminding me of a simple but humanly difficult-to-grasp truth: that He loves His people always, regardless of the condition they are in spiritually. This doesn’t negate the fact that we do ourselves (and Him) harm whenever we sin; sin alienates our minds and hearts from Him; yet it does not decrease His love for us, whenever we struggle with sin, failure, or lukewarmness. I thought maybe the best analogy comes from an ancient Arabic proverb: “There are 7,000 veils separating us from God; but no veils separating God from us.”

Just got done reading “Re-Imagining Church” by Frank Viola…

… and am once again impressed. It’s a logical, constructive continuation of his and George Barna’s earlier, critical book “Pagan Christianity”.

It inspired me to call up an old family friend who’s a recent convert to Christ, and ask him if he wanted to try starting a home-fellowship/church. But he said no, basically. So then I subscribed to Frank Viola’s website’s offer to be notified about church-planting seminars in the future.

The easy part would be starting a house-church gathering; the difficult part, in finding members who are committed to Christ and each other enough to continue meeting!

Because, in my experience, there are a lot of Christians unhappy with anything “church-related”, because of bad past experiences in organized religion. So they either try doing it alone, or even live their lives without much Biblical restraint.

I am hoping (against hope, as did Abraham) that a house-church regularly meeting would be the answer to the jaded cynicism, the reckless living, and depressed individualism I see around me, plaguing even the best of God’s people (myself included).