in which Jesus is a fan of Mumford & Sons

There are times when I wish Jesus was real.

(Don’t take that the wrong way. I’m not having a crisis of faith, at least not right now).

Flesh-and-blood real. Filling out clothes, taking up space in this room, face and limbs and beating heart real.

How amazing would it have been to be alive when He was? To walk the earth with the One Great King? To share a meal and then hike down a dusty road with Him, bonding over bread and blisters. To be able to approach and ask questions (“Hey, Jesus, when all this is over and you peace out and I’m dead – can I sit at your right side in heaven? Just wondering.”) and hear His response right away.

I pour the water into my mug and watch it swirl over the teabag, the pomegranate tea staining the water pink, and wish that Jesus was there. There in a way that is solid and human and easier to believe when I can see. How good it would be to have Him as a best friend. We’d drive down the road in the middle of the night, blasting Mumford & Sons while the cool air streams through the open windows. We’d meet on quiet mornings, sipping coffee and chai and chatting about weekend plans. I could ask Him my questions and hear His response, spill my doubts and fears and insecurities into the air instead of the pages of a journal. I’d know that He loves me because He hugs me when I’m crying and answers my calls at 4 a.m.

But the room is empty, it’s just me and my tea, so I curl my legs up onto my chair and wrap my hands around my mug. I speak my thoughts into the silence. Jesus does not appear, pull up a chair, and answer the thousands of questions floating around in my head.

Yet He is here, I know He is here because He has promised He always will be. So I seek Him out, find Him in cups of tea and pages of my Bible, in hugs from friends. In leaves that change color and in the sunshine on my face, in songs that resonate in my heart and writing that is achingly beautiful. If He were real, flesh-and-blood real, I would miss those things.

I’d be too busy talking at Him, and waiting for Him to speak in words that are words, that I would miss His words that aren’t words. I’d miss the way He talks to me through everything but words.

So I smile into my mug and turn up the Mumford & Sons, knowing that the room is empty but I am far from alone, and He is far from silent.

call-and-response with the Most High

What do you seek?

You have said, “Seek my face.”

My hearts says to You, “Your face, Lord, do I seek. Hide not Your face from me.”

Psalm 27:8

I don’t seek His face.

I seek lots of things. A good GPA, a boyfriend, cuter clothes, a perfect body, approval from my friends, pleasure, success. I seek out so many things that are for me, are for my own gratification.

You have said, “Seek my face.”

But more insidious are the things I seek that seem to be of God, but are not God. I want to be seen as the good Christian girl. I want approval from my peers for reading my Bible every day, for going to church on Sundays and Bible study on Wednesdays. I try to keep His laws and I try to not let people know when I don’t. I read my Bible and I read the Christian books and the Christian blogs and listen to the Jesus music.

“Your face, Lord, do I seek. Hide not Your face from me.”

This has become the cry of my heart lately, engaged in a call-and-response with the Most High King. A desperate song of my soul. He has awakened the divine in me and it is calling out to see Him, to know Him.

A desire to see His face, to see His glory, to be in His presence. A desire that has to fight with a thousand other desires, a thousand other things my flesh seeks, when my heart longs only to seek His face. A desire that gets caught sometimes, trapped between my heart and my head, but Lord –

Your face do I seek. I’m trying so hard to run only after You, to seek Your presence, to obey Your will. Abba, Father, please – hide not Your face from me.

grace and peace.

Have you ever noticed how the two are linked? Paul’s letters to churches – all those letters of encouragement, critique, disappointment, joy, love – all begin with a salutation.

Grace to you, and peace.

We talked about righteousness this week. Active righteousness – civil righteousness, cultural righteousness, ethical righteousness – is our attempt to earn righteousness by obeying the law, whether public law, social standards, or the Ten Commandments.

We suck at it.

Everyone last one of us fails when we are held up against the standard of the law. We’re terrible. We’re so terrible at obeying God’s law that I don’t understand why we still think that we can earn righteousness, that we are ‘good people’, because according to God’s law: I am an outlaw.

His law shows me how much I need Him.

He knows I can’t earn righteousness. He created the law that I could know that I can’t earn righteousness. And because He loves me so much – He offered me righteousness. He offered me freedom from the law. He offered forgiveness. No condemnation. A get-out-of-jail-free card.

This freedom doesn’t come cheap, though. The wages of sin is death, and a price must be paid for forgiveness.

So He paid the price.

For it is by grace that you have been saved.

Righteousness was offered to me, given freely. There is nothing I can do to earn it, to repay it, to make myself worthy. All I have to do – all I can do – is accept.

You don’t have to work so hard; you can rest easy.

There is peace in this knowledge. Peace in knowing that my life has been bought, has been paid for. Peace in knowing that I don’t have to work to earn righteousness. That I can’t lose it.

In His grace, I find peace. Peace that I can rest my soul in, peace that cannot be disturbed by classes and papers and busy schedules and bad days.

[Philemon 1:3; Ephesians 2:8; “Rest Easy”, Andrew Peterson]