Religious clicks signals personal luggage

Jan. 21, 2011 at midnight
Updated Jan. 20, 2011 at 7:21 p.m.

By Gene RiceI felt suddenly distant and alone. It was just a feeling, but it seemed to come out of nowhere. Funny thing, I was surrounded by people.

As I stood in the middle of this busy international airport, I noticed that the volume of talk was very low. There was almost no talking. The dominate sound was the "click, click, click" of suitcase wheels as their owners rushed off to find their gates.

Once at the gate, the loud clicking was replaced by the more subtle "click, click, clicking" of cell phone texting.

Here, people sat in close proximity to each other, ignoring each other as they focused their attention on their lighted cell phone screens.

It struck me that this was a real life metaphor of the church today. We are often so loaded down with baggage from our past, that the "click, click, click" of its wheels has lulled us into doing nothing at all. Indeed the faithful clicking reassures us that our carefully packed loads are still here, even though the luggage is too heavy for us to pick up.

However, the most disheartening part is not the baggage we bear, but the burdens we refuse to share. Determinedly resigned, we pull at our loads hoping the wheels stay on, and we are never required to actually pick them up. And when we do let go of the handle and stop long enough to sit down, we quickly become so focused on our "spiritual texting" that we don't realize our isolation is self-imposed. And like the airport passengers we tend to know each other, only by the depth of our texting - which tend to be more recreation than relational.

And so it goes, but it need not be. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul writes, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone and the new had come."

We do not have to feel isolated from others or burdened with luggage from our past. If we would simply look to Him, knowing He wants to lighten our loads; God is relational and wants us to be in close relationship with Him.

If we look around with our new eyes of God's redemption, we would realize that we are remarkably alike, with surprisingly similar problems. And the good news is, God has provided a way for us to find ourselves in Him.

So, work on your relationship with God and with others and let the "clicks" fall where they may.

The Rev. Gene Rice is pastor of The Church at Spring Creek in Victoria.



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