Familiar

I woke up with this song in my head, “we all like sheep have gone astray / lalalalalalala / and the LORD has laid on him the iniquities of us all” – yeah, Isaiah 53, and we sing it in church sometimes, and…

It just hit me: I have become capable of just singing it without being hit by it. The words have become familiar over time. I am not filled with awe and gratitude each and every time I sing this song.

God, please help me to really remember. Please help me to constantly walk in gratitude and awe for your mind-boggling grace and mercy. Please help me to fight against this human tendency to get used to things, even mind-bogglingly amazing things.

We do, don’t we? We get all excited about stuff, and stay excited about it for a while, and then we get used to it and start grumbling about the less convenient bits. We meet someone and fall head over heels in love and can’t wait for the next phone call or the next time we’ll see them… but years down the line, we’re used to that person being around and we get annoyed that they don’t want to watch the same thing on TV or that they forgot to take the rubbish out. We get a fab new job in that wonderful place where we’d dreamt of working, and for a while we’re euphoric and then, years down the line, we’re used to the fact that this is where we work and we no longer appreciate it as we did early on, we sigh like everyone else on a Monday morning and grumble about the traffic on the way.

It’s so easy to get used to stuff.

At my church we have communion less frequently than other churches I’ve known in the past, and I think it’s good because it would be so easy to get used to that too, and this is one thing that can be such a helpful reminder of what Jesus did for us. He said, “do this in remembrance of me”, and I think this is a very different kind of remembrance than when we talk about a friend or family member who died, remembering the good times – this isn’t about a soppy sentimental trip down memory lane, it’s about remembering what he did when he went to the cross, and died for us, and rose again on the third day. This speaks of his amazing sacrificial love for us, it speaks of the need for an atoning sacrifice to pay for our sins, it speaks of the atonement available for all who believe, it speaks of the new life we have once we have chosen to be buried with him in the water of baptism and be raised with him – it speaks of the wonderful gift I received from God ten years ago, and back then I was very excited about it. I still get hit by the awesomeness of it every now and again, but, just as I don’t feel as in love with my husband now as I did when we first met, I don’t jump up and down every day thinking: I’m free! I’m saved! Jesus died for me!

But I’d like to remember more often. I think it would do me good.

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P.S. Reading through what I’ve just written, I’m sure some Christians may read it as a request for advice about how to remember more often. This wasn’t my intention – I wrote this post just in order to verbalise my thoughts and share them.

But I don’t want to totally rule it out, as I may learn something valuable through your responses. I would only ask that if you do offer suggestions, that (1) you would kindly limit those to stuff that, as far as you understand, would not go against my beliefs as an Evangelical Christian (e.g. please don’t tell me to say Hail Marys or pray to St Whatshisname) and (2) you would offer them respectfully, acknowledging that what works for you might not work for me: “I find it helpful to do xyz” and not “you should do xyz”. Thanks.

2 thoughts on “Familiar

  1. Thanks, Meirav for your honest comments. this isn’t telling you what to do, or even suggesting. just what i observe when the same thing happens to me.

    Jewish people are known for doing the same old same old.. Groundhog Day and all that.. le dor va dor..

    So I guess it’s easy to slip into the habit, even when the words are so majestic that really they ought to knock your socks off. In Matthew 13:52 Yeshua said to His followers, “every scribe who is instructed for the Kingdom of Heaven is like the man, a house owner, who brings from his treasure new and old things.”

    I guess He was saying it’s ok to bring out stuff you did before, as well as find something new. We have our parasha for the week.. the Haftorah readings, the commentaries in the Chumash .. our version of Daily Bread if you like.. The weekly readings are so long there’s bound to be something in it for me!

    Sometimes when the bread seems a bit stale I go find a book I’ve not read from my collection of biographies, or commentaries on a short book of the Bible, and give myself a couple of hours to read it through, maybe over a week or so.. 15 minutes here and there.

    Then I email myself (next step from talking to myself) a couple of important thoughts from that book. Or I put these thoughts on my screensaver.

    What else? Read the words of a few amazing songs.. Make myself not sing them! Not easy for the Kosher Crooner, but sometimes things go in more in unfamiliar settings.

    So there’s just a few thoughts. As I said, not necessarily how you ought to deal with this. Everyone knows what’s treasure for them may not be so valuable for another.

    Shalom.

    Like

    • Thank you! lots of good thoughts there – I especially like the idea of making yourself read the words of a song instead of singing it, I think that can help in engaging with the words more thoughtfully.

      My equivalent of your self-email habit is either making notes in a special notepad I keep for Bible reading and related thoughts, or blogging.

      I really appreciate you taking time to share some of the treasures you’ve gathered along the way. Like I said, it wasn’t my intention to ask for advice, I just wrote my thoughts for the sake of writing them, but learning from others is cool too! and I know you’ve been walking this path a lot longer than I have!

      Like

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