Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Following the Real Jesus

Where can I begin?  Well...

In the beginning there was coffee.  And Jesus.  What a combination.

I started drinking coffee when I was eight.  Surreptitiously...  A snatched mug of steaming hot coffee poured on the sly from Dad's coffeemaker and drunk behind the garden shed.  I had always loved the smell, and wanted to see if the taste matched that toasty richness.  It did.  Mmmm...

As I grew older, I was sidetracked into the world of instant coffee, believing for a while that it almost tasted the same.  It doesn't.  Soon I gave in and accepted that I was a fresh coffee sort of person.

In the last decade, my commitment to coffee has grown in depth and perception and by now, my ideal cup of coffee really needs to start with freshly ground beans.   I can both smell and taste the staleness of old beans in the pre-ground vacuum packed bags of coffee; every mouthful reeks with the flavour of rancid coffee oils.

Real coffee just tastes... well, real!

You might see where I'm going with this now.  Or you might not.  Anyway...

A slow understanding of Jesus began to seep into my subconscious around the same age at which I first tried coffee.  

Church I knew and understood; Jesus was something different.  I began to see how people behaved when they really loved Jesus.  Whether it was my dad giving the town drunk a ride in the car when he was in need of it, overhearing my parents counselling people day and night, or listening to missionaries staying in our home tell stories; I could see that Jesus was the reason for all of this.  

As years passed, to some degree I was sidetracked into believing that church was where it was at.  Listening to only Christian music, reading my Bible and praying, attending Christian groups and having Christian friends, never missing out on a church service, it all added up to the appearance of a great Christian person - me!  Instant Christian.  Freeze-dried, but tastes [almost] like real coffee!  I was stale personified.

Time spent away from home studying the Bible began to unlock the myth of religion that I had bought into; and in the decade or so since,  I've seen layers of religiousness peel away in my life.  The real Jesus is there, and and I do know Him!  He was there all that time, just hidden underneath my self-righteous protective layers.  

So what does this real Jesus look like for me now that I'm following him, and not just attending church?  

No more religious, self-absorbed Christian bubble, no more working hard on that Christian appearance and making sure that I'm following all those rules.

I still talk to God, listen to Him, and read His word; and just for the record, I do meet with other Jesus-followers regularly.  It's called community.  Around the outer edges of our community are many people who aren't following Jesus.

Once a month, we're at the Big Feed, an afternoon of eating and talking with the homeless and hostel-dwellers in our town.  We have crazy conversations with these people about faith and God, and there was a considerable amount of surprise for all of them when they realised we were spending time with them because we wanted to, not because we were being paid for doing so.  We listen to their stories and pray with the people who ask for it.  

I'll finish this off with a quote from the real Jesus.  This is what following Him is all about:

"You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'"
-Matthew 22.37-39

No matter who we are or where we live, a life of following Jesus looks the same: loving God, loving people.

Some people call it "ministry"; I prefer to refer to it as following Jesus, because that's just what it is.  And all of us who believe in Him are called to follow!

And where does coffee come into it?

Well, if you love people, you give them real coffee!


  1. This was awesome, Erin! I confess, I find myself following into that trap of "following the rules" and I have to pull myself back and realize that that is not what I need to be doing.

    Thanks for another wonderful reminder. :-)

    Enjoy your coffee! I love the smell...can't stand the taste. *grin*

  2. If we lived closer to each other, I'd invite you round for a cup - of tea, not coffee! :)

  3. Erin you make a great cup of tea too...

  4. Thanks, Greg... can I just say for the record that there is no condemnation for those who are not coffee drinkers, or real coffee drinkers... ;)

  5. Good Blog, Erin. I, too, have had difficulty in finding the real Jesus because of the "user friendly" version found in some religious circles. It is sometimes easier to accept and embrace the latter because in the back of our minds we know what is at stake if we don't.
    Keep on "grinding out" the real, desire the fresh & liberating presence of the real Jesus and you will never have to find someone in need of Him. Because just as you are able to smell the fragrance of fresh, real coffee, they are able to smell the fragrance of the real Jesus in us. You knew I would respond, didn't you?

  6. Yes, Dad, I did! Thanks... I appreciate your comment. Hope your trip to Romania goes well! Praying for a safe journey for you. :)


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