Friday, September 3, 2010

Expectations - Caedmon's Call

That boy had the highest of expectations
And he heard that Jesus would fill him up
Maybe something got lost in the language
If this was full, then why bother?

You know that we all try to blame someone
But our dreams won’t rise up from their sleep
And the reaching of the steeple felt like one more
Expensive ad for something cheap

This was not the way it looked on the billboard
Smiling family beaming down on the interstate

Dressed up nice for the congregation
Scared somebody’s gonna find him out
Through the din and the clatter of the hallelujahs
A stained glass Jesus sings


At this bizarre, wonderful, God-send of a mostly likely almost over job, church keeps coming up. When I had to leave early for a church-planting slash campus group meeting, they asked why. When they wondered about the "My Grade's Fatter than Yours" shirt, I explained it was from youth group. I forgot about the cross dangling around my neck all week. It's much easier to be up front about my faith than I thought it would be.

But I do wonder a little what they think of me. They don't seem to treat me differently, they don't seem to care when I talk about church. Which is not to say church a believer makes, but I can't imagine that they're all ambivalent towards religion. Regardless, knowing that they know I'm a "church person" is a pressing motivation, to work harder, to be more upright and honest, to smile more. I'm not trying to pursue righteousness just for God anymore, but now also to be a testimony.

Which is sobering and scary. It means leaning on grace because I just can't be good enough. When we were on our "Boston" missions trip, one outreach we did was to write "JESUS" on whiteboards and walk around the neighborhood asking people to write the first thing that came into their heads when they read it. At one point I got to hold the whiteboard, and suddenly I felt painfully conspicuous, walking around with the name JESUS across my chest, people saw me coming from blocks away.

And I remember thinking, "Is this a little bit what it means to be an image bearer?" I was talking with Danielle about it in the car ride afterwards, as she has a similar revelation. We felt the judgment, of people watching our presumption. We had no anonymity, we were defined by that name, Jesus. And to think that this is how I'm supposed to be walking around every day, as though I had the name JESUS in big block letters covering my body, and how will my actions match up?

We fall so short of expectations. Fortunately reminding us that the work is God's.

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