Today I found myself and realized that God doesn’t want me to be this person anymore. I visited a church in San Diego called the Flood. As I entered it was dark. The new U2 CD was playing in the background. People my age were mulling around, filing in. In the back of the auditorium was a table, not of information about the church but about a special guest band: The Violet Burning. I wasn’t sure who to expect, but I wasn’t expecting the Violet Burning. They are one of my current and all-time favorite bands, period. When I realized they were leading worship I could not keep the grin from my face. It felt as if God arranged the rendevous just for me.
Soon worship was to start and we were getting down to business. The music was loud, raw and emotive. The whole band passionately pounded out their praises. At first I found myself elated that God would give me the opportunity of sitting under Michael Pritzl and gang as my worship leaders, especially since they have been such an influence for me in forming my own worship leading style. But I had to remind myself that it was about Jesus.
Having thusly focused, I soon found myself helpless against the work of the Spirit. I sang of the goodness of God. I reaffirmed my commitment to follow Him wherever He leads, in every facet of my life. I confessed my emptiness before Him and asked Him to fill me. I was reminded, through the preaching, about the need for faith in my life and what it means to both wait patiently and act diligently. And I came face to foot with Jesus on the cross, and the cleansing power of his blood. Weeping before Him, I knew His unfathomable love, forgiveness and restoration again.
All this was wonderful, needed and good. It seemed the service was tailor made for me, the music, atmosphere, message, everything. But it helped me to see one thing. Though I met with God, it should not stop there. Christianity is not about me being cared for, but about joining the church in God’s mission. In the past (even now) I would have been so content to be spiritually filled. And truly I am satisfied. But I cannot focus inwardly anymore. It is so me to be so self-absorbed, to get lost in my own universe, just me and God. But He is calling me beyond that now. As Saint Peter said, I need to sometimes “repent that times of refreshing may come.” And that can be an incredibly personal thing. But my spiritual life must be lived out within the context of a spiritual family. I need to be accountable to them. And we need to be accountable to God to extend His kingdom throughout the earth.
It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus Christ and about what we, His followers, are doing to change the world in His name. I found myself today beneath the cleansing flood. But life is more than just a romance with the Lord. The cleansing and compassion that I receive needs to overflow into the lives of others.