The lonely road of faith is a life-long journey that we all tread. In that I'm am no different to you, dear fellow traveler. Not to choose to walk in faith, is in itself a choice - the choice which I indeed made for the first twenty years of my life.
Lonely? Yes, indeed. For, though we meet other pilgrims along the way, the choices we make are irrevocably our own. By them we sink or swim.
Hundreds of thousands, even millions of books have been written on the Christian walk. Each is as individual and unique as we are ourselves, yet a thread of sameness runs through them all.
The gracious nature of our God, the weakness of Man, the trough of Despond and a striving to know God. Like the Southern Cross that flames the Milky Way, the cross of Jesus points, not South, but to the astonishing thought that it is totally within our grasp to stand confidently before a holy God one day, blameless and without blemish.
Confidently, but never arrogantly. Only the meek shall inherit the Earth.
What follows is my own rather naïve grasp of the milestones. It's not about doctrine, but my own ‘take’ of the lonely road of faith. Now we see through a glass darkly, one day we shall all meet Him face to face.
I think in pictures, they seem simpler for my childlike brain.
Set A is the whole of God’s creation: the stars, the Earth, us and each tiny creature and plant, and the highly complex processes that cause everything to hang together. In the beginning God created … that is the story of the opening pages of Genesis. It is not a scientific textbook, but a remarkably simple reflection of the fact that a Creation without a Creator is unthinkable, absurd. If the theory of Evolution turns out to be the ‘how’ of how God created, then I don’t have difficulty with that. Others do.
Set B is a subset, not to scale. Boring? but yes, I come from a mathematical background. It is the set of all the humans ever created. All were created in the likeness of God … with the ability to distinguish right from wrong. God loves his whole creation, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Nothing difficult so far. Now comes the awkward part, the supreme arrogance: not all are his children. "For to those who believe in and receive the Christ is given the privilege to be called the children of God."
Set C is the subset of God’s adopted children, not because they are any more special or good, but simply because they have taken the leap of Faith ...
And so the hackles rise: what an arrogance, what about the Chinese, the Muslims, what about me … ?
Indeed, it is a great arrogance, a great difficulty and yet so simple. God has laid down a way in which you and I can be rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of His Son.
The dilemma: in the set B is much that is good (we are after all made in the likeness of God), and yes we Christians have to admit that in the set C there is much apparent darkness. There is no place for Christian arrogance. How do we explain this conflict?
When we take the step of committing ourselves to the kingship of Christ, when we step into his kingdom, some things are immediately settled: our relationship to the Father (his children), our acceptance of Jesus (his subjects, but also his brothers and sisters!) and our membership of the Church (individual bricks built into a great edifice that is the universal Body of Christ, a body of which he is the Head) and the murky nature that characterized our former membership of the dominion of darkness.
All is wiped away, the slate is clean, though our sins were like scarlet, yet they are now white as snow.
So very simple you say, but … Yes, there are indeed many buts. The biggest for me is that many things remain unsettled. My understanding is that at conversion, we firmly plant one foot in the Kingdom of Jesus, but the other foot remains tentatively rooted in the dominion of darkness. The process of life is about learning to shift all of our weight from the one foot (the ‘darkness’ foot) to the other (the ‘kingdom’ foot).
Or, another way of putting it, is that this initial response to Christ is only the beginning of a lifelong campaign to substitute his righteousness for our own self-righteousness. There are times when we make great strides forward in the faith journey but, looking back, we realize there were times when we were standing very firmly on our ‘darkness foot’. Things we did and said, even our thoughts. Christians are like baby flamingoes – learning to stand on one foot! And not finding the balancing act at all easy.
While the Church Universal, the body of Jesus, has both feet firmly planted in the Kingdom of God’s Son, we have to admit that our individual churches (being made up of fledgling flamingoes) have often lost their balance and sometimes even have shifted both feet back into the dominion of darkness.
Return to darkness?
Can a Christian, or even a whole church, plant both feet firmly back in the dominion of darkness?
We hang our heads in shame. There can be no arrogance. We are continually reminded by our Lord: by their fruits you will know them. It's all about engagement with our God. Anything less is boring religion and not worth the time or effort.
Yet, paradoxically, our heads are held high. We are the children of God, our sins are forgiven, we walk in an intimately personal relationship with our Lord, we are confident of eternity – provide we continue in our faith, established and learning to stand firmly like adult flamingos on the kingdom foot. There can be no complacency; God is not to be mocked.
So, will you join me today in being a flamingo, both of us striving to stand on one foot firmly planted in the Kingdom of Jesus?
Why on Earth on a chiropractic site? No particular reason, except that chiropractors too are walking this lonely road of faith, endeavouring to make sense of it all.
Not for a moment do I think Chiropractic more or less Christian that Medicine, but I do think as a profession Chiropractors are trying to get back to what is natural, whatever that is.
For the Christian chiropractor, every adjustment is a laying on of hands, done with a prayer.
Try treating your pelvis with these hip exercises and by taking anti inflammatory omega 3 before going for a total hip replacement. And certainly mindful that swallowing bucketfuls of pills is a recipe for disaster.