Somehow in our human endeavors to find both ourselves and each other, to be significant, to be appreciated, to be known and loved for who we are- we sell out. It seems so much easier to let the sense of self be defined by where we shop, or by our family name, or by what we earn or don't earn, eat or don't eat, believe or don't believe. In all of this, I think the urge that drives this is so basic and so important- so central to the human heart that it seems we must either belong to this "something other" or die. It only leaves us to choose which Other?
I notice this so much more in myself lately, when many of the associations that I have allowed to define my life are in conflict with who I really am. When my heart says, "Stand up for justice for the immigrant 's child." or "Speak out against oppressive religion." or "Defend the battered that no one else believes." Why is it that to do these things puts me in opposition to the safe, the "good", the familiar? Why does it feel like death to do so?
I can't have both. I can't have both my own "safe" circle in which I am clearly one of the "right" ones and the Fire of the Living God leading me. I can't be both faithful to the Spirit within and to the comfortable and easy way of defining my life. Cocooned by comfortable convenience I suffocate, I silence the Spirit that cries out, "See the marginalized! Hear their cries! See how the self-righteous take no chances with their status? See what your indifference costs the poor?." I choose the "Other" that is Christ, and the suffering follows.
So if you see me gathering with the gay or leaning toward the left or eating with sinners, remember who I am. I am the same person you have long known who loves Jesus and takes Him seriously. The one who can no longer be defined by a political party or an institution or a family name or a nationality. I can find no safety there from the demands of Christ- love those who hunger for the love of God.
It's a costly worship. As with David in 2 Samuel 6 as he brings the Ark of the Holy Presence into his home town, its every six steps and then a blood-letting. As with David's joyful dance, despised by those looking out the windows of his own home. Defined by those who love themselves and their human dignity, David was an embarrassment. Defined by the inner sense of Whose He Is, David responds, "I am willing to be even more foolish than this!"
Help me, Lord! Help me always dance for your honor, when everyone else tells me to be more dignified! Costly worship. Valuable only to those whose lives are in His hands.