Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's all gonna burn...

I had this very gut wrenching moment recently that I have been quietly analyzing and pondering ever since.

I found myself sitting in a Hillsong United conference sitting amidst my husband's "people." It was a bit of a fluke with a backyard bbq drawing that had even placed me in my seat among a large group of "worship people."

Friday night while we were settling into our seats and getting ready for the evening's events, I looked directly across the aisle to the exact same row in the next section over to see the seats filled with people from my old church, people who used to be "my people," people I really now in essence "used to know."

Many of them were people I was very invested in at one point, loved on, prayed for, invested in. And then I was sitting among a new crowd - all lovely people, every one of them, but no one that I really know well (well one girlfriend who I am working on getting to know well) but for the most part these are casual friends/ acquaintances, and of course my hubby. I was there because he was my connection and because God decided I should be through a modern day casting of lots.

Both sides of the aisle were worship people, but across the other way were grown people who used to be "my youth kids." People who long ago etched their names on my hearts. They were the people that made leaving our old church hard. But sadly the response to our departure was everything from sadness to suspicion, to anger and offense. And I never know exactly what any is thinking. And if you know me, you know I spend a lot of time trying to figure that out.

I was in many ways an outsider and an onlooker looking in as the Hillsong music began. And I found myself once again envying those up in front playing their instruments and singing their songs. Not for any of the reasons you might imagine, but because when I see people living in a world where their calling, their talent, their vocation and their God all collide in doing what you were made for, I'm envious and I wonder if they realized how beyond blessed they are, but that's a subject for another blog.

I was overwhelmed as I was hyper-aware of my surroundings and even more the people in them. First this amazing group I was with that I feel no real connection to, and I feel like I am making no contribution toward and then there across the aisle a group of people who I once felt completely connected to, where I felt like what i did and said mattered and made a difference in their lives, but not the reduction to polite interaction and strange "let's catch up sometime" conversations that are never really going to happen. I had to sit down and I put my head in my hands and tried to block it all out.

There alone in an auditorium full of people the words in my head rang out loud and clear. "IT'S ALL GONNA BURN."

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

It's all gonna burn...

That's my biggest fear - that nothing I do, have done or will ever do is going to matter, is going to make a difference.

I know... believe... think... hope that's not true, but at the end of the day... at the end of a lot of days, that's how I feel.

Relationships end, impacts fade, words are forgotten (especially the good and kind ones) and I'm just not sure what I do really matters.

Oddly enough I find a little freedom in that. Because what I realize is, it's just not about me.

I have to love when the opportunity to love is there not for me, not for some payoff, not even for the sake of the person I'm loving, but because of the Lord. The reality is it's all about Jesus - and anything that isn't about Him doesn't matter, and it is going to burn.

Anything that IS about Jesus is His to do with what He will anyway. And whether it succeeds or fails is all going to come down to what He does, and not what I do.

I'm not sloughing off my responsibility to do or to love or to serve - but it has to be about Jesus, and it has to be about His purpose behind it. And I've got to let go of me.

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galtians 2:20

1 comment:


Diana, when you wrote "It's all gonna burn," I did not think of anything you have done. I thought of the haughtiness, the unforgiveness, the choosing to believe the accusations against us (since I identify with all that you said about the old church and new church--shunned by one, not quite at home in the other)--in short, the sins of those who drove you (us) out in the name of the God who loves and stood by us, honored us, through our lynching.

Some people(100-200) who left our church have joined the church we did and at least a few of those have brought their own anger and resentment with them. They haven't forgiven and they want to talk about what "they" are still doing to deceive naive church members. I want to say, "Please don't bring that here! That's what we're trying to get away from! Please let it go!"

I'm scared of all those at the old church, scared to run into them at the store, scared of their prejudice, those who verbally, publicly kicked us out for trying to expose deliberately distorted theology (the leaders jettisoned prophecy, sin, the need for repentance, the fact of judgment and hell) and just plain meanness, shepherds yelling at and hanging up on the sheep, telling them to get out because they were "dividing the church" by going privately to the pastor and pointing out where he and Scripture diverged.

When the leaders "dismembered" us (and boy, that's what it felt like!) the head executive elder urged the congregation to come forward, gather around us and try to persuade us to repent--oh, that's right, they do believe in repentance when you have sinned against the church leadership! A bunch of old friends poured forward, concerned, and appealed to us to repent. Not a single one came to ask us, "Is it true, what they're saying about you? Did you really do these things?" or "Is it really true the leadership is stealing our money?"

Yes, wood, hay, and stubble will burn and good riddance. Mine, ours, and theirs. Let it burn!