i've been giving a bit of thought of late to my ongoing church conundrum, and i've decided that once i move to my new apartment, i am going to visit the episcopal church just across the street. i love the thought of being able to walk to church the same way my family did when i was a little girl living in allentown, pa. but even more, in times of frustration and uncertainty about modern evangelicalism (and believe me, there have been many), the traditions of my upbringing have brought me much comfort and a way to experience God in a familiar way but with a heart that understands those prayers and hymns more than i did back then.
as a child, i grew familiar with the tunes, the words, the kneeling and the standing up, and it meant something then. it did. but i was without the experience of a heart converted by the living God. i thought we were all participating in an event. i didn't realize that He was there, rejoicing right along with us. on some level, i believed that the words in the scriptures were true, but i had yet to experience the way that those words breathe life into a soul and etch themselves into your heart. i flitted along, unaware of His plan for my life and the truth that would begin to unfurl in front of my eyes at the age of 18.
so now i find myself, on the verge of 35, wondering where it is in the church-on-earth that i belong. i know that my ultimate home is with God Himself, but i find that so many of my experiences have pushed me farther and farther to the perimeter of most people's understanding of 'modern-day christianity.' and you know, i'm finding myself okay with being there on that fringe, because the last time i checked, there was room at the table for people who don't have it all figured out.
if anything, my lack of understanding means that i'm still wanting to know Him. my unwillingness to simply follow the pack and read the books and listen to the music and do what others are doing doesn't mean that i've 'fallen away'; it means that i'm on my journey. and the finish line is God Himself.
this easter brings with it much sweet and very little bitter. i'm not sitting in a pew in a church this morning, but the living God is here with me, rejoicing over me with song (zeph 3:17). and later, i will go spend time with others who also call His name. and we will break bread together and remember and express our gratitude for the truth that binds us all together. if good friday has taught me anything, it's that it's always darkest just before the dawn.
if easter means anything to modern man, it means that eternal truth is eternal.
you may nail it to the tree, wrap it up in grave clothes, and seal it in a tomb;
but truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.
truth does not perish; it cannot be destroyed.
it may be distorted; it has been silenced temporarily;
it has been compelled to carry its cross to calvary's brow
or to drink the cup of poisoned hemlock in a grecian jail,
but with an inevitable certainty
after every black friday dawns truth's easter morn.
- donald harvey tippet