This post is by student souler Richard Brown.
Those who know me well, will know that I’ve struggled with my relationship with the church broadly but I’ve stayed because God has pushed me to keep using my musical gifts. I’ve flittered round from church to church where I have been “called” not really stopping to think too deeply and just do my job.
But God’s invitation to us is to stop, rest and lay our burdens down:
Matthew 11:28-30 New International Version (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Mark 6:31-33 New International Version (NIV)
31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognised them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.
In some ways our current situation is an enforced rest period because much of the busyness of our daily life has had to stop.
In this season of Lent our usual worship practices have suffered an unexpected death, but with that comes the excitement of walking into a new life together.
For some theologians like Pete Rollins, the trappings of the church and religion and have needed to be stripped away for a long time.
So, the challenge for me and perhaps for you is:
How do I talk to God when the trappings of the church have been stripped away?
I suggest the starting point to is to know yourself as intimately as God Knows you:
Psalm 139 New International Version (NIV)
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
To Paraphrase Psalm 139:8, God has known me in the depths of my anxieties with the church and in the death of my ability to worship because of these anxieties.
We are invited to Know God… but how can we possibly know the God who became human without knowing our own humanity first?
For those who have a great prayer life, that’s awesome but I’m wanting to encourage anyone who may be wandering and wondering in this time.
I’m hoping to take that invitation to rest, to know God and to know myself. To ultimately find my voice, my God language if you will.
Do you want to join me?
Student Soul is a church for students and young adults in Ōtepoti/Dunedin, New Zealand. We're committed to inviting young people into a life of daring creativity and radical freedom in Jesus.
15 St David St (upstairs)
(03) 474 9470
© Student Soul 2023