Thursday, September 29, 2011

Journal Church

Sunday I had church in my journal.
What does that mean?
Well when I normally go to church I worship, listen to a message, and pray.
Here it is hard for me to engage in church.
Church here is 2 ½ hours long, all in Russian.
I don’t know the songs, I can’t understand the message, and I pray when they pray but can’t hear the other praises and thanks from the congregation.
So yesterday I remembered to take my journal with me.
As I sat in the back surrounded by the church I experienced the Spirit.
During worship I prayed and asked the Lord to have the time, not letting me be bored and lost.
When we sat I opened up my devotional and was encouraged to dwell on the sacrifice of Jesus.
I opened my journal and wrote a message to myself inspired by the Lord.

“Trying to actually feel the weight of the cross is a difficult task. It’s a story we know. We’ve seen the movies. We’ve heard it told in various ways. We’ve read the scriptures. It happened over 2,000 years ago. It’s hard to make it truly personal today. Yes, I know what Jesus did for me. But at the same time I allow it to be something that applies to humanity as whole. Because of this I don’t let my own personal actions connect with the cross as I should. I know Jesus died for me, but He died for all. So turning it the other way…my actions reflecting on Him and not just His affecting me. It wasn’t just the sin of humanity laid on Jesus. It was the inequity of us all. Not some abstract idea. Not something in itself: ‘humanity’s sin.’ That was made up by something, many things. Each sin from every person that ever was, is now, and all to come. That includes me. All the things I have ever done, am doing, and will do that are contrary to Jesus. They all played a role in getting Jesus to the earth, beaten, hung on the cross, and then raised from the dead. When Jesus turned His attitude towards the Father and said, “forgive them, for they know now what they do…” that applies to me. While He was in pain. As He was nailed to a cross, hanging in pure agony He asked for my forgiveness. And yet I live each day my way. Saying “thank you Jesus” and then on with my day. He covered it all so I am forgiven, but I should be striving for something better. He spent His life paying for mine. I should be doing the same for Him. Paying Him back by letting Him work through me. Because He is not here is my debt. He didn’t get to stay here because I am sinful. I owe Him. I did the offense to the Father and when the Father came to punish, Jesus stepped up and asked for my punishment. He loaned me eternal life. With my finite, earthly life I need to pay Him back. The terms of payment are different than what this world calls for. It is not a one-time offer. It is nothing to desire freedom from. It will never be done. If for some reason I think it is covered and paid in full I would be sadly mistaken. And why should I not grow weary? Why should I continue? Why should I not grow cold in this pursuit?
The foundation of it all is love.
Coming to the earth was an act of desperate act of love from the Father.
Speaking truth was not out of a place of being better. It was love pouring out in hopes of redemption.
Healing was not to show off. It was love wrapping arms around a child.
Being beaten didn’t occur because He failed. It was love stepping in and saying “stand back my child. I will take it.”
Hanging on the cross wasn’t showing a lack of authority. It was displaying just how powerful love truly is.
Raising from the dead wasn’t because Jesus wanted better for Himself. It was love proclaiming our freedom.
So to pay it all back. To give Jesus back what He gave. It must be love. And if it is love, there will be no end. Love sees past obligation.”
When my pen inked the last sentence we engaged in worship again. I stood with eyes closed and opened my lips to praise Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice. I made up a song to the tune of the worship. Then I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. When I opened my eyes leaders went to the front to prepare communion. How incredible! I had no idea we were going to do that this Sunday. The Lord put me in a place of incredible awe. He spoke to me a message about His sacrifice and then allowed me to engage in communion sealing the deed. Our God is not just good, He is the author and definition of good.
I had church in my journal and the Lord had His way in me.