Monday, December 15, 2008

Before, When I Had A Saviour

Toronto, Ontario

The other night I had one of those moments. You know, one of those. The kind of moment that shakes your soul from its slumber like a bear in a wintry forest shakes the snow from its fur. One of those moments that says, “Come back to life,” and inspires you to rise above the dreariness that can so easily cloud your day. What does it for you? Maybe it’s sharing a good conversation with a friend while sipping on a cup of hot cocoa. Maybe it’s an unexpected warm smile on the face of a stranger as you pass them by in the mall. For me, on this occasion, it was a song.

I was walking to work listening to music and the song “The Roar of Love” came on. It’s part of a 1980 concept album of the same name and is based on The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. The performing group is The 2nd Chapter of Acts, an old Christian group. I’ve loved Narnia for a long time. This particular song speaks of the moment when Lucy and Susan see Aslan alive again after they had watched him being killed by the evil White Witch. Overjoyed, they embrace the great lion and then jump on his back and they all ride off through the forest. The song brings to me a deep feeling of happiness.

Of course if you’re familiar with Narnia you’ll recognize that Aslan is Jesus, the Lion is the Saviour of that magical world. So while the song brings to me happiness, it also makes me nostalgic, well as nostalgic as a relatively young man can be. And this is because I remember back to when I too had a Saviour.

I had known about him from as far back as I can remember, decided to have a closer friendship with him when I was still a little boy, and said a long goodbye to him about 6 years ago.

This time of the year you hear about Jesus more than at any time of the year. Of course this is decreasing as years pass, with the increasing religious (and non-religious) pluralism, and Holiday trees replacing Christmas trees, but you still see Jesus in nativity scenes in front of churches, and you still hear about him in the old carols.

The idea of having someone come alongside you to be your Saviour is an appealing one, particularly when you’re facing some difficult challenge. You can reach out for help, and they are there to lift you out of your situation, or at least help lighten the burden.

But eventually I had to say goodbye to my Saviour. You see, when you spend so much time reaching out for a Saviour, you can forget what it’s like to look inside yourself. You forget, that is if you ever knew it in the first place, that you have the power inside of you to rise above every situation that comes to you. When you call out to your Saviour, I think something else can happen. At the same time that you’re calling out, that power within you that is waiting to rise up goes back to sleep, now that you’ve given the job to someone else.

As I write this, I want to say that I recognize and deeply understand that this works for many many people. Many who call on Jesus in this way are sincerely happy and fulfilled.

But for me, I couldn’t keep my friendship with my outside Saviour.

However, this does not mean that Jesus means absolutely nothing to me now. I still listen to the traditional carols and I still make it out to a service every Christmas Eve. But it can be even more than that. You can read the Christmas story and you can see Christmas in a new light. For me, rather than seeing Jesus as someone who was born into the world to die for our sins and therefore make us acceptable to God, I see Jesus as an example. In my mind there is a place for Jesus as an example that divinity and humanity need not be separate. Here is an example of someone who realized the power within him, and with that knowledge he did powerful things.

Whatever your beliefs are this December, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. May you have moments in the coming days that help you realize much joy and peace.