Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rome, June, lights, and everyday faith.

The month of June has been a massive tangle of ups, downs, ins, outs, and every other imaginable direction. I feel like all month I've been riding an emotional "wanka-vator". This month has included a birth, a vacation, my daughters birthday, my late grandmothers birthday, the passing of my husbands grandmother, more headaches than I can count, and just your everyday issues. 

My headaches have been out of control the past 2-3 weeks. I have one more often than I don't. Although it was this time last year that I was in ICU with my head, so perhaps there is something this time of year. Who knows? It does make it difficult to think and accomplish any sort of task that requires much though. When I get a bad headache I feel like part of my brain is frozen and slowly unthawing. I honestly look at people sometimes when they're talking and  have to try to make sense of the words they are saying. Almost like they are speaking a different language. So, in part, these headaches have kept me from writing much. 

             So, let's move on. 

       In Sunday morning bible class we started a study on the book of Romans. I'm very excited because Romans is my favorite book. I feel as though there is so much packed into it and it addresses such a wide range of topics. On top of this our teacher is also leading a more in depth study on the book for those interested in digging deeper. As part of the digging deeper group we are to read some assigned material. I'm so excited about all of this because I want to dig into God's word but you can only get so far without someone to lead you.

      Last night I tried to do some of my assigned reading. I waited until the kids were in bed. After retreading the first paragraph 8 times due to the kids,who were supposed to be in bed,  interrupting for various reasons I wanted to get in the car and go sit in a parking lot so I could focus. Finally the 9th try worked and I managed to get in a decent amount of reading. The papers I was reading was basically talking about the importance of knowing what life was like for Christians and Jews in the very beginning of Christianity in Rome. The idea being that we need to understand lifestyles, circumstances and daily life for this period in order to really get a good hold on what the letter is saying. During my reading I marked a few things with question marks, underlined some, and marked the papers up with poor handwriting. However there was one thing that stuck with me above the others so far.

       This section that grabbed my attention, is a group of theories on how Christianity debuted in Rome. The last theory basically states that Christianity moved to Rome as the people did and lived and worked together with other foreigners. I'm not sure why it captured my attention, but it did. I think it is natural for us to bond with people in similar circumstances. When we travel and we see someone from "our neck of the woods" we feel a bond with them even though we may never have met. Or if you travel and find someone else who is a foreigner, even if you aren't from the same foreign land, you have something in common.....you are both strangers in this place. Common circumstances can be a great bonding agent for people who would otherwise never even speak. In Rome the groups of foreign people formed their own little communities within communities. I imagine we would do much the same. In many ways we do.  After all, none of us really belong here, do we?

       I guess what struck me as interesting about all of this, is the idea of Christianity being spread through everyday people in the flow of life. What I mean is, wherever life took these people, they took their faith with them. They were able to spread it through daily life.  Too often we think we must go to a far away place to be missionaries. Or that we must fit a certain profile to share our faith. While we do need people to travel to far places and share the news of Christ, we also need people here, where you stand. 

        America is often compared to Rome, and not in good ways. Yet, there are many parallels. I suppose that is why so many parts of the book of Romans are so relatable. 

      Now think of the possibilities. If we all start sharing our faith in our daily lives and just lay it all out there. Perhaps we could attract others who know they don't belong here and help them find their way home. 

        Life can stink. People get hurt, die, are lonely and so many bad things happen. But so do good things. Remember, we may be residents here but we are not citizens.  We are allowed to grieve, be sad, and upset. Yet let us be the ones who show our faith through the circumstances. Let us be the ones who are bright lights in dark places and perhaps we too can be used by God to change the lives and hearts of others in everyday life. 

         So though this month has been.....less than perfect, I hope my light can still shine and my faith will only get stronger through every day life and its problems. 

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