A while ago Matt and I developed a draft ‘mission statement’ for this venture: "Vine & Branches exists to help Christians rediscover our tradition, reengage our spiritual disciplines, and ultimately renew our hearts to God, because we believe only those things can help churches, individuals, and families rise to seek God's face again."
I’m going to use my blog posts the next few Mondays to explore what we mean by this provisional statement. Today: renew our hearts to God.
Christians write and speak and even preach about 'the divine' all the time, and it is necessary for us to do so. But it’s easy to get intellectual with all of this stuff. It’s easy to talk about the church, God, and even Jesus as if they were things that we can manipulate or ideas that we can play with.
But that's just a distraction; none of it is the point. The point of Christianity is not ideas or even beliefs. In fact, it’s all worthless unless something else is happening too. Christianity is about love. And while what you think matters when it comes to someone you love, your thoughts or even opinions are far from everything. Love is a good deal more involved than that.
Here at Vine & Branches, we don’t want to change your mind. Seriously, we could care less. What we want to do is help you steer your heart toward the One who hung the stars in the sky, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who calls you “beloved.” To be honest, we’ll probably struggle from time to time with the temptation to intellectualize all of this, but at the end of the day, we want to help you (and us) fall in love with the One who was in Jesus Christ, reconciling the world. We believe the more deeply you do that - and, of course, the more deeply we do that too - the more in line with each other our thinking will be on the things that actually matter, and the less we’ll care about basically everything else.
“I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me.” (Song of Songs 7:10)
Say that line a few times out loud (if you’re currently in a position to do so): "I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me." Seriously, say it out loud right now, or at least pause for a long moment to let those words roll around in your mind. Set a timer for one or two minutes even; I’ll wait.
Is God your beloved? Do you belong to God? Do you believe that God’s desire is for you?
Christianity is not about what you know; it’s about who loves you. And only then is it also about who you love and how you love.