Feb 5, 2009

come back

Does anyone out there remember the TV ad "Come Back To Jamaica?"

I ask because a lot of people around me are drifting in a variety of ways.

Don't see the connection? Hang with me...

Think about that infectious jingle, "Come back to Jamaica, make it your own, come back to Jamaica, your new island home." I can still sing it - I hope someone made some good coin off of that because twenty five years later it's still rattling around in my brain... next to the theme from Small Wonder (that crazy show about a robotic kid living in a human home), but that's a whole side topic we won't get into.

And then there are other songs like it. At the local rec center last week I was walking by a kid who must have been about ten years old, and he was singing the song "Kokomo" by the Beach Boys. Again - this is a kid who wasn't even alive when it came out, and yet somehow he's picked up on the easy listening stylings of this tune from the 80's. Must be listening to some of the tunrs mom/dad has been playing around the house.

I think these songs have appeal (especially during the winter months) because we yearn for the chance to "recenter" our lives. Whether things are going great or you're feeling like you're in a losing battle, the idea of going someplace warm and slower paced where everything feels "different" seems appealing. It's why people like going to the movies or tuning into their favorite TV show each week - it gives you access to another world beyond the one you've been living in.

One of the first parts of God's Story in the Bible tells how Adam and Eve, the first people He created, decided to go their own way in sin (Genesis 3). When they realized they had done something wrong, the first thing they did was hide. But God didn’t let them stay hidden. He looked for them and let them know how much He loved them.

While we may not physically hide our head somewhere when we blow it, we might feel like doing this relationally with God and others. And yet those are exactly where we can find that "Sabbath" in our lives - the kind that gives perspective to our lives. And if we can't find it legitimately, we'll look for it in an artificial way.

Maybe this is why they say that the back lot of a strip club is fuller than the front, or why two people having an affair and feel they've taken every precaution of being found out freeze when there's a knock at the door, or how after someone makes it to their car after taking a ream of paper from work they sigh for a moment at the steering wheel before turning the key.

That's the Holy Spirit of God doing His part to remind us and guide us into Truth... and every one of those moments is an opportunity to "come back" to the Lord.

An important part of being a follower of Jesus is knowing deep down that GOD SEES YOU PERFECTLY, even when you and others don’t see you that way. Yes, He will convict us of our sins - from the outright socially unacceptable ones to the hidden attitude issues many Christians can "get away" with. But the amazing news is that He's not out to ground you down to the ground... rather, God is all about letting the real you—the masterpiece He created you to be—come out from hiding.

So I want to invite you to "Come back to Jesus" and "Come back to Church." I wish I had a snazzy little jingle of my own to help you remember that in those moments of sin and doubt, but it would seem like God has a better idea:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
- Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)

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