Friday, October 4, 2013
What Matters Most
Every night there's a new discussion... a new debate... a new argument... happening on Facebook and Google+ regarding Christianity. "My faith is better than your faith" is what they all amount to - which is actually quite ridiculous since we all worship the same God. And yet, I take part in these. And many I know take part in these. But honestly, does it matter if we believe baptism is by immersion or sprinkling? Does it matter if we believe the Lord's Supper is literal or figurative? Does it matter if we believe this verse means this, or that?
No. It does not matter.
How can I say such a thing? How can I know this?
First... allow me to describe something that I don't know if I even can describe...
Nearly a year ago, a friend of mine (who happens to be a pastor) drug me (figuratively) to the baptismal font in his church. I was not a member there. I'd been a rare church-goer at all. But there I stood with him, my heart heavy. My soul heavy. I felt as if God had abandoned me. My eyes brimmed with tears that I refused to let fall as I stood beside a man I refused to trust in the building of a God I believed could never love me.
He had me dip my hands into the water; let me feel the water flow between my fingers. I could feel a slow peace beginning to overcome me, but I tried to ignore it. And then he dipped his own fingers into the water, and moved his hand to my head. With his thumb, he made the sign of the cross on my forehead, stating with no uncertainty that I am a beloved child of God.
The tears fell. My knees trembled, barely able to hold my weight. I shook. I couldn't seem to find my voice. And what happened inside me? I can never come up with words adequate enough to explain. I suddenly knew... I knew God was there with me. I knew He did love me. I knew I was one of his beloved. My heart that had been closed off for 30-some years was suddenly opened. I trusted. My whole being was suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit. And I felt peace. And I felt loved.
So, how do I know that all the "little" things we argue and fight about really don't matter that much?
Easy... if it does matter, than the my faith must be the only correct faith. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is in me... and I am saved... and I am a beloved child of God. And I know this without a doubt. And, at the time I became aware of this, I was a faithful attender of the Lutheran church, and was in the process of switching my membership to that church. So, if all these things matter... than what I believe must be the correct belief... which means everyone must convert to Lutheranism. That's the only answer...
Unless, of course, these things really just aren't as important as the Grace and Love of God - a grace and love so immense that He gave his only Son, our Lord, to die for us.
This is what matters most.