In my last installment of a morning cup of kava with Eugene, I shared some quotes from the open pages of his book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society, that moved me. Today, I wanted to share some of this thoughts about his chapter on Psalm 121 and Providence.
The great danger of Christian discipleship is that we should have two religions: a glorious, biblical Sunday gospel that sets us free from the world, that in the cross and resurrection of Christ makes eternity alive in us, a magnificent gospel of Genesis and Romans and Revelation; and, then, an everyday religion that we make do with during the week between the time of leaving the world and arriving in heaven. We save the Sunday Gospel for the big crises of existence. For the mundane trivialities – the times when our foot slips on a loose stone, or the heat of the sun gets too much for us, or the influence of the moon gets us down [this was in reference to pagan worship that was taking place when Psalm 121 was written] – we use the everyday religion of Reader’s Digest reprint, advice from a friend, an Ann Landers column, the huckstered wisdom of a talk-show celebrity.
This was a great chapter! It helped me put my faith under the microscope a bit. One of the most common epidemics in the life of Christ-followers today is some sort of dualism, or categorizing or compartmentalizing our faith, life and etc. It’s what Eugene was talking about, having two types of religions – a Sunday religion and an every other day of the week religion – that we use to “get us through” life. As I said, earlier, we don’t merely leave it with our faith, but it spills to all of life. This thing belongs in “this box” this thing belongs in “that box.” This goes on and on. So we continue to live a life of dualism, or put things in our nice boxes the whole time being frustrated because the boxes don’t suffice! Oh, that I would live with a consistency. Oh, that even in a world, that has no many ups and downs, our faith would have a consistency. Oh that we wouldn’t turn to the canned substitutes of this world but turn to the God of all time, Monday through Friday! I dream and pray to that extent for you and myself, that we would see this God afresh and the faith that He gives would break us out of the boxes, dualism and limits of the substitutes!
Faith is not a precarious affair of chance escapes from satanic assaults. It is the solid, massive, secure experience of God, who keeps all evil from getting inside us, who guards our life, who guards us when we leave and when we return, who guards us now, how guards us always.