Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I was driving home from work yesterday, singing something from the Spiritual Songs:

How great Thy grace! No mind of man can grasp
The love told out in suffering on the tree;
Love that has gathered now within its clasp
Those once far off, but now brought home to Thee.

Today I got the words right, because I have a hymn-book I can look at. But I was pretty close yesterday. And I'm a terrible singer, so it's a good thing you weren't there to hear it.

And it got me thinking: perspective is important. It's far too easy to reduce Jesus Christ to a religious figure. I suppose He is that in some sense. But I notice a trend (and I was recently reminded of it on Facebook) where people refer to themselves as "Christ followers". I think the title is good, it replaces the much-abused "Christian" with something a little more meaningful in pseudo-Anglo-Saxon words.

But it's so little of the real story. Jesus came and said "follow Me". But He also said "Where I am going, you cannot come." Any number of people are willing to say "follow me". Some of them even lead, rather than throwing their "followers" into the front lines to absorb the cannon-fire (if I haven't mixed too many metaphors there). But I know of none who are willing to say "where I go, you cannot come."

And the wonder of it is, He said "where I go, you cannot come" only to elucidate "that where I am, there you may also be." There are depths no one else will ever experience: horror, pain, anguish that no one else can ever feel. And He went through that not because He was a martyr, but because He was determined not to go back to the Father without taking us along (eventually).

Like so many, I'm full of criticisms and complaints. I have an infinitely long list of criteria with everything I read or hear: I'm very stereotypically "brethren" that way. I frequently think more highly of myself than I ought.

But the perspective that the Scripture gives is, the Son of God came here to die for worthless sinners. That's the perspective that makes Christianity meaningful in any way at all.

I just need to be reminded of it a lot.