Wednesday, January 4

Love Song for a Savior

Sun through a tree, shining on my face, Kodak EasyShare LS753

I met the members in the band, Jars of Clay while working at a clothing store about 8 years ago. We talked and hung out in the store for a while before it slipped out who they really were. They had no idea and were actually surprised to find out that I was into their music. They were fresh out on the radio with their song called "Flood".

I used to listen to their song "Love Song for a Savior" in the mid to late 90's over and over at one time. I'd lay there in my bedroom, close my eyes and imagine that I was lying down in a field of flowers with the warm sun on my face and standing in a distance beyond the trees was a beautiful Jesus, waiting for me to run into his arms. I would imagine us walking together, picking flowers and talking about life. I felt safe confiding in Him.

I stumbled upon this song while cleaning the other day. I haven't listened to it with the same childlike ears in a long while. I let it flow through my loft and tears fell down my face...and my heart had a warm lump in it. It made me want to go back to that field of flowers again. But I know I don't have to...because I felt His presence all around me and smelled the daisies as if they were tickling my face.

I've struggled with my relationship with Jesus for the past 9 years or so. You see...I became a Christian when I was 7 years old and from that time forward, had been madly in love with this "Savior" of mine. I became deeply involved in the ministry first as a student, then as a leader:

Some of my students at a church camp (me in middle being hugged), Bad Disposable Camera!

I then went on church mission trips and felt a calling. One in particular to go to Cluj Napoca, Romania, not with my church but alone to join a team of strangers for a summer to care for infants and children that lived in orphanages:

Me with a young orphan girl in Cluj Napoca, Romania

Dancing with Romanian children (I am clown on right!)

Silly clown skit to make Romanian children laugh (again clown on right)

I also went to Bible College and traveled all around the Santa Cruz, CA area in a Mime Dance/Drama team with hopes of sharing what I was learning about Jesus and how knowing Him had radically changed my heart.

I think the Mime Dance/Drama team worked for me because I considered myself a "quiet" Christian. I wasn't preachy or judgmental and didn't expect people to understand what I wanted so badly to share with them. I just knew I loved this Jesus, who He was, what He stood for and what He did for me on the cross. One way for me to express my love and appreciation for Him was to dance quietly to music on a stage, hoping that the audience would sense even a glimpse of what I felt: Those feelings that words could not possibly express.

To me it was about sharing my heart without expectations...not preaching. I am still trying to figure out the difference.

What happened to me a few years later was this: I became disenchanted with Christians in general. I didn't feel that I fit in with those I surrounded myself with. What I saw was so much judgment, self righteousness and closed-mindedness. I began to feel embarrassed and ashamed at how Christians were being portrayed in our world...and I could see it all unfolding in front of me as to why this was happening and is still happening. I felt like Jesus and His teachings were placed in a stuffy box and I knew that His message was so much broader than this. It wasn't about Religion to me; it wasn't about which denomination was right and true and what I needed to do to get into "Heaven". My relationship with Jesus wasn't based on fear of the afterlife and what it held for me but was based on being alive and living in the Now. It was about getting to know Him and trying to be more like Him because He knew how to love like no other I'd ever known. It was very simple for me.

I actually learned more about the character of Jesus while bathing a neglected orphan child, than while sitting within four walls listening to someone preach to me their interpretation of what the Word of God was.

So...I left my "church" and moved to Texas with a girlfriend. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made. My 3 years living in Texas opened up a door for me to explore alone without living up to everyone's expectations of what I was supposed to be. Rather than shunning other faiths, I actually opened my heart and mind to them by listening. Listening to their messages. How can I form an opinion and find out if one faith or a philosophy feels right to me unless I listen to others? I found this to be a huge issue with many Christians. Perhaps they refused to listen out of fear of discovering there was more to God than what they were being taught and chose to sit in ignorance because it was most comfortable to them. When I would share my curiosity and need to explore, I just found judgment.

I don't think that is what God was telling us to do in His teachings. In fact, I don't recall Jesus being judgmental at all with the people in the streets. He actually chose to hang out with them and BE with them. His issues were with the religious zealots, from what I recall. I just don't think Jesus was/is so black and white...I think Jesus was a liberal hippy. But that's just me...doesn't have to be anyone else's opinion.

Anyways...I've studied quite a bit since then. Moving back to California, I researched Buddhism, Goddess-ism, Catholicism, Mormonism, Angel healing, Nature-lovin, Holistic healing, etc. I found that one message rang true in most all these philosophies: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and love others as you would love yourself", as well as, that beautiful message about our bodies being temples.

Isn't that really so all encompassing?

I don't expect every person to have the same faith all over the world or in our Universe. I respect others faiths as I hope they will respect mine. I know one thing...that I am much more comfortable nurturing my own relationship rather than judging someone else's.

You know...my husband once said to me that he thinks during the period of time in the bible before Jesus returned in his mid thirties, that He spent time meditating with and learning along side Buddha. Once I looked into this...it made so much sense. If you compare Jesus' teachings in the New Testament to the teachings of Buddha...you can truly see the similarity of their messages and the resemblance of heart and spirit.

It has always felt so right and natural to keep my mind open to such things.

So, I don't know what I call myself, really. I think ones faith is more about the heart and intentions than defining oneself within one religion. I think it is that very Self-Righteousness which turns seekers away, really.

I have a loving Tribe of women and men in my life of all faiths that inspire me to always search deeper for what feels true within myself.

So, I have a need to nurture my relationship with Jesus again. To get to know Him and His teachings without associating myself with a label that I feel no longer emulates who He is. I'd like to share with Him what I have learned too. I know He will listen.

It won't be a Religion but will be a Relationship ever growing.

Here are the lyrics to that song I mentioned earlier. It carries the essence of where my heart is right now:

"Love Song for a Savior" by Jars of Clay

in open fields of wild flowers
she breathes the air and flies away
she thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses
in no simple language
someday she'll understand the meaning of it all
he's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
as close as a heartbeat or a song on her lips
someday she'll trust him and learn how to see him
someday he'll call her and she will come running
and fall in his arms and the tears will fall down and she'll pray

i want to fall in love with you

i want to fall in love with you

i want to fall in love with you

i want to fall in love with you...(chorus)

sitting silent wearing sunday best
the sermon echoes through the walls
a great salvation through it calls to the people
who stare into nowhere, and can't feel the chains on their souls

he's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
as close as a heartbeat or a song on our lips
someday we'll trust him and learn how to see him
someday he'll call us and we will come running
and fall in his arms and the tears will fall down and we'll pray

i want to fall in love with you

i want to fall in love with you... (chorus)

we want to pray

it seems too easy to call you "Savior"
not close enough to call you "God"
so as i sit and think of words i can mention
to show my devotion

i want to fall in love with you (chorus)

my heart beats for you.

- Jars of Clay