on pedestals, name-calling, and claiming my priesthood

 I was the one who wore the tight, lay down on the bed and zip'em up, jeans to my big ol' southern-brewed church in those teenage years.I was the above your knee skirts, flirting with the boys, stealing boyfriends, pretending to be easier than I really was, youth groupie. I was one of those Rahab looking kinda gals, you stayed far, far away if you were a good Christian girl. I'm not saying it was right, or good, or justified.


But maybe I missed the scarlet rope in that church that wounded this little teenage heart back then. Perhaps I was busy running or too blind to see it.


They were only human, I know. I don't blame them.


Even when the youth pastor stood me up in front of my peers and began to strangely describe things similar to me, but all the while he kept referring to the "whores" and prostitutes of the Bible. My best friend in the group pointed at me and mouthed "He's talking about you!" Of course he was and I knew. We all knew.


But months later and after a series of other tragic events, later, with my head held high {trying not to cry}, I left that church. Without so much a "Kiss my 'prostituting' backside, Goodbye." I walked out. Just like that.


I vowed I would not shed a tear over "hypocrites." Eventually I went way down into that pig pen of a prodigal life, because maybe, that is all I deserved. I become my own hypocrite in time, without the church's help.


Yet I returned even as the smell of sties wafted over me, but is it still not the same battle I face? Deserving the undeserved? Grace, yes, but accepting it is like a daily salvation.


The bold-faced gorilla of fear and failures sits on my chest at night. And when I write, folks, it does something to me. It not only pulls out insecurities, it makes up all new ones, while also working out my salvation through words. 


Out of left field, when I'm weary need to hit the hay tired, comes this monster. Partly looking like me, but always looking ugly. And I think, "Bury me right here, because I'm too much a mess for this side of Heaven."


And sometimes the hardest thing is opening my hand for help.


Pride wants me to get by on my bootstraps and get it together. But there's a little girl inside who wants acceptance and friendship. No two ways around it, rejection makes a heart faint.


This human-ness, if we look it straight in the eye, testifies of our fallen nature. My return from a prodigal mess in my mid-20's {now in my 40's}, has taken me in and out of my former traditional life. But if there's one thing I've learned, it'd be that yes we are all human, yes we make mistakes, yes we, the church are made up solely by Jesus and not pedestals, but I've learned, we must be seekers of Truth. I must find the words of Life and not wait for some Moses {or pastor or youth director or fill-in-the-blank} to bring it down from the mountain for me. I realize I now am the living tablet being written, so I must listen to the still small Voice to hear what He's saying about me.


We are His temple. Over coffee, or phone calls, or playgrounds, if we have Him, we are the church. And I need this kind of church in you and me, admitting that friendships can be little scarlet ropes of Him. And I try to not be afraid.


Yet there's one place I go to exercise strength and it looks a lot like weakness. I go there. As if running to the tomb, I find He lives more today than He did on that ol' cross. So I cast my eyes to and fro because surely He is in the place and I did not know it.


His Spirit is within me. And when I put up pedestals or name-calling to define Who's I am, then I've replaced Him with someone else. I become one of those who sits at the foot of Mount Sinai as God trembles the earth and waits for a Moses to bring the Word back.


But I no longer wait. Instead, I enter the Mount. I march two feet up the cliff side. I feel the quaking earth, despite fear or uncertainty, I continue to press in for words of Life. I let Him write the words on my heart. I am not deterred from flashes of lightening or men who'd say I'm better off down there.


claim my priesthood. I embrace the one and only High priest. I do not deny him His place. I am not drawn away from the new covenant to be saddled by the old, in order to institute old regimes. If only by the Blood sprinkled on my conscience, I am a priest purely by sacrifice and called out of darkness.


The surest way to remember a man or woman's humanity is to walk up the Mount with them, side by side equally full of Christ. And in doing so, I will claim. I will embrace. I will join others and we'll make up the Parts.


But ultimately, I will take seriously my duties because surely God is in this place and I will know it.






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