For wherever two or three gather in my name, there I am among them.
So, my cousin and I had a serious talk about faith last week. Like, we went deeeeeeep. Those conversations are HARD, because faith is personal. WAY PERSONAL. Conversations about faith are tricky, because people tend to confuse difference of opinion with combat. As though if I say what I believe, or how I need to worship, it somehow negates your belief or your path to God.
I have been thinking a lot about my faith and faith in general lately. I don’t want to brag, but I think I have figured the WHOLE THING OUT. Unless I am wrong. There’s a super-good chance I am wrong. But even so, I think I might be on to something…
You know how some people find themselves on the side of a mountain, or hiking through the forest, or on a river, or on the shore of the ocean, or in the desert and things make more sense to them there? They can go quiet, and hear the Universe? Or people find themselves in a Baptist church, or an Episcopal church, or the Catholic church, or a meta-church, like mine in WA- or a storefront ministry in the inner city, or an affluent mega-church? And things come into focus? They suddenly make sense?
It is ALL THE SAME THING.
We are individuals. We hear things differently.
I was raised Catholic. There are things about that faith that are inordinately comfortable to me- but when I go to Mass? I can’t hear God there. For me, there’s too much ritual, not enough relating the Gospel to my actual life. That ends up feeling like static to me- like I am frantically playing with the radio dial trying to hear my favorite song clearly, but there’s too much interference. It frustrates me.
My grandmother was a devout Catholic, and perhaps the most profoundly important person in my life. When I would go to Mass with HER, and watch her brow un-furrow, her shoulders relax- I could SEE her heart opening up- that’s the closest I came to feeling God in that setting. I am not saying He isn’t there, of course He is, that’s just not the place for ME to be in communion with Him.
There is nothing wrong, or remotely bad about it. Just not my frequency. It’s like a hearing test when you have to raise your hand when you start to hear the beep- we all hear it at different times, different volumes. Different frequencies.
My church back in Washington, Washington Cathedral, was the first church I ever found that felt like home to me. I think you should crack wide open in your church. You should be able to shed your armor and be vulnerable- that’s the best way to really hear God. I’m scared I won’t find it again.
I think our faith frequencies are like our fingerprints, deeply personal and unique. And when you think about it, MOST churches- not all, certainly, but most- are delivering the same message. It’s just a matter of finding the one that resonates with you.
I have two children, and I talk to them differently. They are individuals, and the way I deal with one of them would not work with the other. When I talk to my son, I talk to him in a way that he can hear me. The same goes for my daughter- she needs me to be different with her. Even if the basic messages are the same, I need to speak in each of their frequencies.
Might it not be the same thing with religions? Because there is a difference between religion and faith. I know plenty of religious people with little faith, and plenty of people of enormous faith and no religion. The basic tenets of most faiths are the same, when you get right down to it. Maybe God, our Father, just talks to us in the way He knows we can hear Him.
If we could all get to a place where we recognized that someone practicing their faith differently than we do isn’t an ATTACK, it doesn’t challenge our faith or our walk with God, the world would be a much more peaceful place.
Your path to God doesn’t threaten my path to God, and mine certainly does not threaten yours, friend.
We’ve all just got our eyes looking up while we’re fiddling with the Radio, desperate to hear Him.