My Faith; My Way.
I recently decorated a room in our house. I went to the DIY store and stood before a wall of colour; in front of me was every colour imaginable, and if they weren't right, I could go to the person at the counter and they would program the machine to give me any colour I could imagine. I could do whatever I wish with that colour; there has been an explosion in creativity and design in every aspect of life. Even in our food now, both restaurant meals and home cooked food can look more like a piece of art than a traditional meal. There are no longer any boundaries.
But when it comes to faith, we feel we have to follow the norm. If we want to meet God, we tend to feel it must be through church, Christianity or religion. We might pick up a bible; and put it down rather quickly once we realise it's a bit too long and complicated. And so we might give up; thinking God is too elusive, or too stuck within the confines of our church structures, beliefs and practices.
But our faith is our own! Just as any of our life preferences are our own, so is faith! God probably had some input in shaping each of our lives, and so God knows our life preferences, our dreams and desires. God may have designed us complete with our dreams!
God knows us deeply, truly. And God wants us to be us. To express our faith in a way right for us. Our faith and our relationship with God is between us and God. If church is the way we wish to express it then great - attend church. But if not, design your faith to fit your life preferences!
But is there a central nugget, a core belief, an essential act that we must do to know God? Can we strip everything away, or should something be left? We will have some explorations around the bible; what it means, and how it should be used, but there is one verse that pops up twice, and says 'Those who call on God will be saved.' Those who call on God will find God, and God will run towards them, arms open wide, with a huge, loving, cosmic hug. When we strip everything away, there lies God; free of all religious baggage. And here we, ready to meet with this incredible being. Ready to be changed forever. Ready to stand in awe at the face of God. We simply have to ask.
Sometimes, we find we are too weak, too tired, too ill to ask, to reach out, to find God, to find help. Even speaking can sometimes be too hard. Thinking too, can be draining. But calling on God does not need speech. There are no boundaries, there are no limits. even a glance upwards is enough, even an internal thought, a quiet response to that deep longing in our soul. Just as the biblical writers wrote down their experiences and their faith responses in ways that was relevant to them, so can we. It's just between us and God.
Let's go find a field, river, beach, hill, lounge, bed - whatever, and just ask God in our own way to meet with us. Let's design our faith just for ourselves.