holiness

Restful Reflections

I am guilty of using this blog in ways that characterize me as one of those “contemporary teens” that make up an ever-growing part of the American Church.  But if you met me, you’d realize that was not true.  I was raised in a traditional baptist church (I realized while growing up that there are huge stereotypes that come with that.  To clarify, my church was not the wear-long-skirts-and-don’t-have-any-fun kind, but we were baptist nonetheless.)  I really shouldn’t be speaking in past tense, as I still attend there whenever I am home.  It is one of the dearest places in the world to me.  People have said that the word “Home” is the most beautiful word in the world…I’d say “Home Church” falls closely behind it.  (Okay, that’s two words…but who’s counting?)  

Church is not the only traditional experience I’ve had.  I also worked at a small, traditional baptist bible camp.  We never had a large stadium with a trap-set, big-screen projectors and a worship crew decked in tattoos with spiked hair. We weren’t trying to promote a “cool”, modern Jesus.  We have a small chapel with terrible accustics and are usually led by a guitar or two and almost always get squeaky feedback from the mics.  We offer a down-home, country type feel. 

When I went to college, everyone assumed I’d find a big mega-church with a contemporary service to attend.  Most teens do. I was no different than other youth, searching for contemporary outlets as much as I could, hunting for role models and adults who could relate to me.  I didn’t disappoint.  I tried these big churches with their “youth-oriented” outlets.  My little home church could fit in their entryway.  I was herded to a booth where one of the many pastors handed me a sharp, professional brochure that listed all the Sunday School classes being offered that day.  “These classes don’t apply to you,” the nice man told me, directing my attention to the back side of the pamphlet.  (Apparently I was not allowed in the Sunday School class for new parents.  Not a joke–that really was one of the classes.)  I chose a class I was allowed in.  I picked it because they were studying the life of David (my favorite Bible character.  Anytime you study David, be assured, I will show up!)  I learned that day that I just can’t get away from my roots (not that I want to; I don’t).  I had, unknowingly, picked what turned out to be the “old people’s” sunday school.  The only other young person in the room was a mentally handicapped man who couldn’t leave his elderly parents.  Ya, I found a different church that wasn’t trying to segregate or advertise salvation.  Not surprising, it was a traditional one.  I won’t lie and pretend that its the greatest church ever.  Its not and I would never make it my permanent spiritual home.  But for the few sundays I am there out of the year, it was my preference. 

Have I proven that I am traditional yet?  Because I could go on with more examples.  To save time, I won’t.  So, this having been clarified, you have only to click the “Topics” dropdown box on the right side of this blog and hit religion to see that lately God has been speaking to me about very modern spiritual issues.  Contemporary issues.  Yet today, once again, He finally brought me back home.  It started with attending a special church service at that Bible Camp I used to work at (the same old one I mentioned earlier in this post).  Old, rickety pews…the smell of torn hymnals…the hum of an accustic guitar…and that beloved, nerve-grinding twang of the old out-of-tune piano.  We sang hymns, with people breaking out in harmony.  Talking with those people throughout the afternoon and discussing life was a great blessing, as well.  It was small, personable and filled with laughter and fun. 

Then this evening, I was scrolling through our DVR on our television for a list of all the shows we had recorded.  One of them was Touched by an Angel.  That show was recorded by mistake and shouldn’t have been there.   I was pleased, however, as I love the show and hadn’t seen it in years.  The episode (which I’d seen before) was about an archaeologist searching for the Ark of the Covenant.  It had a scene where the gentleman finds the Ark and walks into the Holy Presence of God.  Two of the angels sing a beautiful, holy song (“No Higher Calling”.  I couldn’t find their version, but posted another at the bottom of this post) and as a Blinding Light shines over this emotionally and spiritually-broken character, I was moved and awed by the reminder that the God that we love to shout and dance to (which is ABSOLUTELY okay, as this passage shows us David did around the Ark) is also a very holy God who we must not forget to bow to and to humble ourselves in front of, as Daniel did in this passage.)

I don’t normally rate myself as “contemporary” or “traditional”.  I see myself as an individual constantly learning, growing and changing.  But I’ve explained the stereotypes I fall into and, thanks to the reminder I was given today, I am going to start working on being more and more holy.   

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