About six months ago I was at a youth retreat (my original post following it can be found here), and the speaker shared three simple principles that have been on my mind the last week or so:


Communion: n. the state of being united as one with another (co-union)

1. We were created for communion. That’s what Eden was. Adam and Eve, they literally went on walks with God, the creator of the universe and igniter of the stars. God and man enjoyed each other. The thing is, because we were created for communion, if we don’t find it with God, we start looking for it in other places. For instance, the communion within a family, a marriage, is intended to be healthy, a reflection of our communion with God. But take God out of the picture, and you start looking for that communion in extramarital sex, same-gender attraction…We seek satisfaction from the pacifiers: friends, school, career, extracurriculars, achievements, escape–but pacifiers don’t meet the real need, and you’re always left still hungry, even if the baby stops crying for a while. In Eden, God came looking for us, but we hid because we knew we’d done wrong. But even when I’m hiding in the closet from my heavenly Father, I don’t stop being his daughter, his little girl. Because I’ve been born again, I don’t have to remain beholden to sin. I’m just holding onto chains already broken.

2. My sin violates communion. So when I became a Christian, when I was cleansed of my sins, I had communion. That’s one kind of communion, the communion that means I won’t be separated from God forever. But what about the sins I committed today? It fractures communion. It breaks it. It puts a wall between me and God. Jesus came so that communion could be restored, but sin breaks that. Yes, he forgives, he cleanses, and he has defeated sin. But let’s face it: I don’t have a perfect relationship with God. There, I said it! And when I’m feeling that gap between me and God, well, it means there’s a fracture in communion.

3. Communion can be restored by confession and repentance. Not in an endless cycle kind of way, but in an oh, so this explains why I’m having this problem kind of way. Real quick:

Confession: admitting your sins to God (I work with kids, and we explain it as basically tattling on yourself) Repentance: turning away from your sin

So basically, the thing these three key ideas revealed to me in a new way was the direct relationship between my sin and my closeness to God. Sounds basic perhaps, but, well, it’s easy to miss, isn’t it? In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with everything imaginable thrown at us, in a world where certain sins are culturally acceptable and even celebrated, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. And it’s easy for some sins to seem less than others. And it’s easy to make excuses, to justify and rationalize until the situation becomes to convoluted with “technically”s and “well, at least…”s that you’d think we’d realize that the fact that we feel we need to provide all this justification of our own only proves the case that it’s not right at all. It’s easy for some sins to seem small. It’s easy for habits to not be counted. Maybe that’s why, at camps and retreats, we can feel so much closer to God, in such a purer way. It’s because we’re not just away from distractions and obvious temptations, but away from habits. Habits like breaking your parents’ rules or snapping at your siblings. “Oh, it’s nothing. It doesn’t really matter.” I’ve realized that maybe that explains some of the distance. That, well, maybe there are some sins in my life that need to go. Oh, not the big, weighty, abstract things–it’s the small but real disobediences fracturing communion and sowing rocks. So may you, as well, find what causes fractures in your communion. May you offer it as a sacrifice on the altar and watch it burn. May you experience the purifying freshness of his Spirit and his grace falling on you like rain and may you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi.



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Breanna Joy

Once upon a time, in a far-away land, there was born one chill wintry day a lass who would come to be called Bre. She grew up whiling away the time upon myriad pursuits that would one day shift from pursuits to passions; creative, curious, and mischievous, she loved to read whatever she could manage to get her hands on (in particular novels, those of plot complex, world intriguing, and characters remarkable) — and read she did! She devoured words with so fierce a joy that she grew skillful in wielding such words as her own — story, journal, article, post and poem alike. For other arts, she also nurtured admiration. She loved in her heart the beauteous sound of music and the power it held over emotion and spirit. And she would work with her own hands to sketch and to paint and to correct and to create. One of her deepest passions was the stage, where she would take on a character as if an article of clothing, and live and breathe in another’s skin. In addition, the stories of times past and cultures distant enraptured her fascination, and she dreamed of one day venturing to explore these unknown lands. But these, these were nothing to the true heart of her soul. She found for herself a motley band of what can only be called friends–though some of whom were, truth be told, far more than that to her. They changed her being and resided in her heart. And so she lived, and loved, and dreamt. She dreamt of adventure and beauty and song and story and love and laughter. But far beyond anything else, did she strive with love toward her God. For this was her own great quest, or, if you will, her part in His own great story: to love those in the world, as He had loved her, when she had not loved Him–indeed, when she had turned from Him, hid from Him, rejected Him and ignored Him–He loved her enough to die for her. And so, because of this great love that now burned like a fire inside of her, a blazing beacon, she strove for a life lived in a beautiful harmony to Him who gave her a second chance. As she grew, she became confused, and doubting, and weak, and afraid, and unclean, and she would forget, and go to the world that was pressing at her to give in, in an attempt to satisfy her emptiness, though it would always leave her wanting. But always she would return, and be whole and filled again, made complete and beautiful in her soul. Storms would come and battles would rise; she would be tried and tested in many ways, and even so the story continues, but know ye this–He held her and led her all her days, and in the end, He would bring her to His own happily ever after.

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