1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
I know that there are a few of you who clicked on my blog link and are a little bit shocked that I have a quote from the bible and a cross as my image. I have not become a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. I have a little story for you that might help you to understand why my faith journey is a simple and quiet one that includes many religions and even more human experiences.
“You look like you need Jesus.”
That’s what he said to me while I was folding towels. I work in customer service at a fitness center. I was a little upset by his approach, just because it is a YMCA doesn't mean that I am a Christian. How does he know what I need? How could he tell by looking at me that I needed or wanted his religious ideas. Maybe someone might need Jesus. I’m sure that this man had good intentions as he said it with a smile on his face, but I didn’t smile. No one knows what I need except me.
His assumption is exactly what’s unsettling with the religious community. There is an inference that this passion you have must be mine as well. It isn’t. Don’t mistake what I'm saying. I’m a Christian. I was raised Catholic just after the excitement of Vatican II. I was raised with a voice but I was also raised with humility. There is no humility in the banging gong that approached me at work that morning. He wanted me to believe what he believed. There isn’t any way that would happen.
I’ve come to understand many things about religion as I travel the path of my faith journey. The most important being that my relationship with my higher power is personal and very private. It is intimate and I don’t look outside of my meditative moments to find justification or apologize for my commitment. Honestly it’s no one’s business what I believe and I make no apology for it.
When someone talks about how “on fire” they are for Jesus I just nod and think that’s wonderful. I really don’t need to know it and I also don’t really care to hear about it. That's your path and that's your journey... Carry on.
When we moved to our home we had a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses visiting our front porch. As a young wife and mother I welcomed them. It felt harmless the first few times. They’d talk to me about what they believed. They shared readings from their bible. They'd give me the current copy of the Watchtower and there was always some kind of hell-fire and damnation associated with the front or back cover art. It must be horrible to be so frightened of your higher power. I don’t fear God. I don’t fear Allah, Buddha, Krishna or any other deity, as I believe in and respect them all. I believe they are one in the same and it doesn't matter how we as humans define them; It’s insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe because it is the great unknown. It is the foundation of faith.
What we are asked to do by all of them is LOVE.
So if the guy had approached me that morning and said, "you look like you need some love," aside from sounding slightly creepy, I might have been more receptive. I'll never know because he was so fired up about the idea of Jesus, and making me feel like him, that he lost sight of what Christ came to give us. He forgot that LOVE is really what I might have needed and not a lecture about what I should believe and what bible verses would make me like him.
I'll leave you with this question. If a man of any religion approached you and said,"you look like you need (Allah, Krishna, Buddha)," how would it make you feel? We should not assume that every being on this earth feels the same way about faith as we do and I include myself. The beauty of being human is how individual our life journey is. We are meant to have our own unique experience. The real power of religion is in how it moves your spirit. You can't make someone else love god. God will make it happen exactly when it is meant to.
That's called faith.
I have faith that the highest levels of love will find you exactly when it is meant to. However that love is manifested I hope your heart can receive it.
No gong, no drum, no cymbal... just love.