Believers in Exile – How Much of ‘It’ Do You Want?

Easter! What does that word suggest to you?

In December, I was at a party sponsored by a gay couple when a gentleman approached me and said, “You’re the minister, aren’t you?”

I nodded. In all earnestness, he continued, “I’m not religious … not into this religion stuff, but I am spiritual.” He paused. “But at Christmas and Easter, I kinda wish I had a little bit more of ‘it’ in me.”

I smiled. “I’m sure there is more of ‘it’ available for you. Do you have any idea what ‘it’ is?”

“I can’t explain it,” he responded, “but there’s something during those times that makes me feel different.”

I agreed with him that things seemed different during the holiday seasons, and I’d like more of it, too.

“Can you describe the difference?” I asked.

It was obvious that he wanted to talk about it. For the next few minutes, he expounded on the Christmas season and the peace, the love and the hope he felt. Whenever I injected any religious connotation into the conversation, he seemed uncomfortable.

The expression on his face changed when he realized that, in his own way, he had told the Christmas story and the reason for the difference in the seasons. I couldn’t decide whether he was embarrassed because he did know something about this “religion stuff” or because he was talking about it.

I have not seen him since. In fact, I don’t even know his name, but with Easter just days away, I remembered our conversation. I wonder if he’s feeling more of “it” now that we are celebrating the death and resurrection of the Christ.

Unfortunately, he no longer associated the good of the Gospel that he had cherished with the organized “religion stuff.” Nevertheless, it was clear that the faith he had experienced in childhood and youth was still an important ingredient in his spiritual well-being. Is he a struggling believer in exile?

It seems to me that there are three unasked questions. The first is, who or what is “it”? The second is, if you want more of “it,” how much more do you want? The third is, how do you get more of “it?”

Individuals have found a variety of ways to identify what my unnamed friend referred to as “it.” Some call it their Higher Power. Others speak of it as “Spirit.” The one who makes the difference in my life, I call “God.”

I have reflected on his statement that he would like to have more of “it” and on the idea that I wanted more of “it,” too. It is impossible for us to get more of God. There is nothing we can do to make him love us more, and there is nothing we can do to make him love us less.

Perhaps we have been asking the wrong question. If we can’t get more of him, is it possible he would like to give us more of what he offers — life, grace, peace, and love?

Everything he offers is available to believers in exile this season and all through the year.

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Marvin G. Baker is the moderator for Gay Christian Fellowship’s Let’s Talk @ LIKEME Lighthouse.

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