What’s it all about Alfie?
“Are we meant to take more than we give, or are we meant to be kind. I believe in Love, Without true love we just exist…”
It was a Thursday, four days after our baby Micaiah’s death on Monday, that we had a tiny graveside burial. We didn’t make a fuss about it or invite any relatives from far away even though grandparents had asked that we please have them. It was just our children and a handful from our church; after all -he wasn’t there -he was with Jesus. It was there I made the suggestion… Dave was the song leader of our small group in those days and we had our church service the next night. “Maybe Dave shouldn’t lead worship tomorrow night.” “He has to get up there sometime,” was the reply, “It may as well be now.” And so he did, weeping the entire time.
One of the most common definitions for grace I hear used is “unmerited favor,” but grace is so much more. Grace is the state of being we need to live to rest in agape love. Grace is a place of constant worship, or abiding joy. “Grace” derives from the Greek, charis, and in a secular context to the philosophers referred to having favor and loving-kindness. Loving-kindness.
Burt Bacharach used to sing a song titled Alfie.
What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?…
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there’s something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Churches that operate by fear or intimidation are spiritually abusive churches and cults. You can tell if they are spiritually abusive because their doctrines and dogmas rule more than love rules. They have services that leave you feeling beat up instead of built up, condemned instead of convicted, and weak in the faith instead of strong in the faith. They emphasize outward conformation instead of inward transformation. They emphasize the work you need instead of the rest He gave.
There can be no true love without grace. There can be no love if we are incapable of showing “unmerited favor” to each other. Not the kind of grace that says if we don’t all believe the same doctrines we can’t serve Jesus together, but the kind of grace that says we all are weak, fallible humans who will stand before a loving God someday laughing (or crying) over all the wrong doctrines, dogmas and opinions we hold.
The single most important thing – the Truth we all need to hold as our common flag or banner under which we abide –
Jesus – without sin, crucified, risen, seated with God as God, our mediator; the way, the truth, and the life. The One who sets the captives free by his grace and love and holds us gently in His capable hands.
If we continue to get stuck on the particulars of doctrines without thinking about others first, what they need, who they are, what they have experienced to make them who they are- we “take more than we give.” If we turn to gospel of Christ into something we have to sell like a cheap magazine, we take more than we give. Can we love others just for the sake of Love and let love be our principle witness? Maybe as the song states, “there’s something much more, Something even non-believers can believe in…” His name is Jesus.
“You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift.” Ephes. 4:5-7 The Message
Note: What’s It All About Alfie?
We were in Hobart Freeman’s Faith Message, a hyper faith cult that took (documented) well over 183 lives due to its divine healing only teachings. (It’s unknown how many instances like our child were never linked to the cult.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobart_Freeman This blog is part of a book project I am completing sharing how the true and lasting grace of God can heal and deliver from the devastating effects of spiritual abuse; as well as an encouragement to the church to train how to minister effectively to hurting people, without judgment, bias, or manipulation, but as Jesus did. In Love.