Posted By Nan
Many years ago, I was attending a tiny church with my family. A new curate gave a sermon one Sunday stating that you must speak with authority and that authority is from having a piece of paper that says you have studied for a specified time at a bible college! I was astonished and disappointed. He turned faith in God into something that imprisoned and caged faith, instead of it being the glorious walk in uncertainty and faith that it is. It sounded like the legalism of the pharisees in Jesus’ time.
I have not posted a blog for some weeks due to renovations on our house forcing me to live elsewhere and divide my time between my home, my temporary residence and my work place. Life has been busier than ever.
During the pandemic lock down I have been anything but locked down. I have spent the time living between two residences and my place of work. I have found time to walk along the beach, because the temporary residence has been metres away from the beach. And I have found myself berating myself because I wasn’t spending enough time naming God as I have walked in wonder among rock pools and the waves rushing to greet me. In the stillness of the night God has answered me by reminding me that I have been doing exactly what He wants me to do. Spending time with me, with my spirit and from that with God. Connecting with the creation and through that with God. As I swam in my pool last night and gazed up at the sky in awe, with its high cirrus clouds making spectacular patterns across the sky, I heard God speak to me of my contemplation being exactly what He wanted to teach me about Him.
I read many online devotionals and I have learned to be discerning about what I read. Some I discount without reading. I can see from the opening what they will say, and it is not about the foundations of our relationship with God, but rather about Churchianity and the legalism encompassed in that.
What I read celebrates the simplicity of faith in God.
What I have found in the last few weeks is confirmation of the simplicity of Faith. We have made a legalistic cage for our relationship with God. As the Jewish faith did in the time of Jesus, we have come up with rules that tell us how we should and should not relate to God. These rules make a cage for us and separate us from God. They make us, as Jesus said in Matthew 23:15, children of hell:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15 NIV
Legalistic churchianity tells us we can’t do this and that. One of the worst of the legalism is telling us we can’t hug trees, or spend time feeling our connection with the earth, because they believe that is not of God!!! Not of God!!! God created all this and He expects us to connect to it because it is His creation and carries the Holy Spirit in it, just as we do when we come to faith in Jesus.
In the past few weeks I have met God in the tiny waves rushing up the beach to kiss my feet. I have met God in the waves crashing over the rocks as I explore the rock pools full of the wonder of creation. I have met God in His artwork in the sky as spectacular cloud after cloud drifts by. I have found God in the simplicity of connecting with creation, of connecting with myself and my feelings, in my constant conversations with God. I have explored with God what prayer is and He has shown me that the connection in the moment I have with His creation is part of that. He has shown me that my ongoing conversation with Him throughout the day is part of that. He has shown me that rather than making prayer a rod for my back that I find impossible to find time for, it should be part of my ongoing conversation with God.
He has taught me that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve connected to all the creation and to God and we need to reclaim that. Maybe in this time of lockdown, people can come to appreciate that. In this time of churches being closed, people can begin to find God themselves and relate directly to Him.
Maybe in this time we can become children of God rather than children of hell.
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