A Better Story

30 years ago, I completely walked away from Christianity, and spent a little over five years as an agnostic.  It was a fairly anti-climactic leaving, to be honest.  

I remember saying out loud, "There is no God," and then feeling kind of disappointed that nothing happened. 

You see, I had grown weary of a faith that sucked the life out of me.  The story of faith being perpetuated by most of the Christians I knew wasn't a very good one.  I wanted a better story.  I wanted to know that God was more than a disciplinarian--that faith was more than rule-keeping.  

The do's and don'ts of the Christianity I'd come to know were too much to carry.  It was a checklist faith that lacked joy, hope and inspiration.  

I remember the first time I came back to church after being gone for so many years.  My wife led us to a Presbyterian church near the apartment where we lived when we were first married.  I heard the pastor preach about grace and peace.  I heard him express how much God loved me.  And it broke the walls around my heart.  

I discovered a better story, and it changed my life.  

I was reading today from the Gospel of Matthew and I read one of my favorite passages of Scripture.  It's where Jesus says to those who are listening to him: 
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The people Jesus was talking to were burdened with rules.  The religious elites in first-century Judaism were firmly convinced that the only way to God's blessings was by keeping the law to the nth degree.  

Jesus offered something more.  Jesus still offers something more. 

If your faith has become a set of checklists... If your faith community is more obsessed with right behavior than with real relationships... If you have come to see God as far away, angry and ready to punish... 

There is a better story.  

May you live into the hope and joy of the greatest story ever told--the story of how God is saving the world through his Son, Jesus.  May you discover the true rest, the true happiness that comes from freedom in Christ.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you now and always.  


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