Wednesday, May 28, 2014

J-word Overload

Like any good geek dad I'm reading the Narnia books to my kids. This is partly because they love it, but it is also selfish on my part since I love the books too. I sometimes get so into the book that I get frustrated when they interrupt or fall asleep during a good part. Then I have to remember that I am a grown up. For these little ones I am THE grown up. I'm their prototype male figure--the paterfamilias. I also have to remember that they are very young and will likely get to read these books again someday. It is not important that they "get it" right now.

Anyway, one thing I love about the books is the way C.S. Lewis captures the effect a glorious being has on those around him. Between the lines of the book you get a sense of wonder/awe/sanctity/magic that accompanies Aslan (the fictional creator of Narnia, as if you didn't already know that). Last night I tried to help the kids understand that this is the way I feel about my Creator. Just like the animals all listen and get excited and quiet and energetic and peaceful around Aslan, my maker is the one who makes me feel those things. My oldest just stared at me contemplatively, dimples raised.

But when is the last time Jesus made me feel those things? When is the last time that just saying his name made me take a breath and feel...anything? Yes, I've had good times of worship and prayer and Bible study, but those were anchored in things about Jesus. I know I should be moved by Him. I know it probably seems like semantics, but there is a specific thing I'm going after here. When I hear the name of my Savior and Master, I should feel something. Too often I can say the word with hardly a thought at all. I don't generally listen to much Christian Music on the radio, but when I do the name is used rapidly and repeatedly. In my reading I come across his name quite a bit. As a preacher I use his name daily in conversation. I'm worried that it has somehow become too common.

I had the thought that I needed a J-word detox. Not that I need a break from him, only a break from the casual use of his name. I considered a fast from the use of the J-word to help me consider it more deeply over a month or more. I'm afraid I would have a lot of explaining to do to my church. I could try preaching exclusively from the Old Testament for a time, but our focus is the Gospel and it is hard to imagine a sermon that would leave out naming him to which all scripture points.

So maybe I won't fast from using his name in public, but I really would like to recapture some of the wonder I feel like I need to have over the mere name of my Lord. Do you ever feel like the church is guilty of the gratuitous use of "Jesus" in our music, prayer, t-shirts, ties and breath mints.?