Marrying a vicar means brings certain benefits. For one thing, I now have a prayer hot-line to God. Ordinary folks have to use standard delivery. Who knows how long their requests will take – or if they’ll get there at all. But religious folks - well. We’s different. When Rev Scriv dials, red phones start flashing in heaven and it’s all hands on deck.
Bunkum. God does not have a fast-track for dog-collars . But even though we sort of ‘know’ the truth, we sometimes accept such fictions as fact. My mum for example, thinks that her prayers don’t work as well as mine. I’d laugh at this – except I do it too. I know God loves us equally … but in prayer poker, my money’s on the bishop.
This sort of thinking has always been a temptation. When I first became a Christian I figured that all my problems would suddenly disappear. Some do – (and they’re The Big Uns too), but not as I’d imagined. And by no means all.Jesus turned out to be a Saviour, not a new boyfriend. And instead of getting easier, life as a Christian became a whole lot harder instead.
This at least, was my experience. I was different to my family. They hadn’t met Jesus yet and didn’t want to keep talking about Him. There were bits of the Bible I didn’t understand, (Genesis to Revelation mianly). Most of all, despite being converted, I still kept screwing up. I lost my temper, pretty much at the same rate as before. Wasn’t it meant to disappear, along with all the spots?
Didn’t being religious mean that everything was fixed? Along with the whole forgiveness thing, didn’t we get perks? A parking space and a Christian boyfriend. An effortlessly sunny disposition. New me: once a Lada, and now a Lamborgini.
I’m not sure where this came from. But it certainly wasn’t Jesus.
Jesus is pretty clear about who he’s calling. Not religious folks or Holy Joes. Normal, messed-up humans who need a Saviour.
He’s also clear about what it means to follow Him. We’ll be persecuted – just like He was. We won’t fit in the world, no matter how much we want to.
In Christ alone, we find life – but it’ll feel like death.
And that goes for the vicars too.