Once you have begun with the ending in mind – once you realize the fragility of life -you are humbled and have a sense that there is something greater than yourself. Like Luke Skywalker hearing the voice of Obi-wan Kenobi telling him that the “Force” is with him, you begin to realize that the Big Bang might have been the Big Word by a creator of intelligence. We have been given an internal guidance system that propels us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us – a Golden Rule from a master designer.
So someone says to you, “You should find a church, or join a bible study.” Perhaps you are hesitant to begin by seeking out a church initially. Which one do I chose? How can I know? Is one church the master of all truth? Why are there so many?
I like to tell people to begin reading one of the Gospels. Get to know Jesus the way the early church wanted people to get to know Jesus. What was he like without the filters? Perhaps begin with chapter three of the Gospel of John, “There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”
Like this man named Nicodemus you become a seeker too. He could think for himself. He came out of a tradition of belief but wanted to know more. He came in the dark because he didn’t want a lot of people to know at first.
I realize this runs counter to some of the guidance that suggests that you join a church as a first step. It’s a little like choosing a counselor or therapist; some people go to one, don’t like them, and then give up. You have to do a little searching. A spiritual coach or spiritual director might be a better beginning so you can sort out what you are in it for. Some people choose a church because they feel “comfortable.” I think that is a terrible reason to choose a church. So back up and go to the Word first.
Beginning with a relationship is something that Jesus understood quite clearly when he said, “But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things?”
A number of years ago a friend, who was a Vietnam War vet, struggled with injuries he sustained and needed to start exercising. He proposed that we jog together at 5:00AM. I hated the idea but I loved him and wanted him to be well. We jogged for two blocks the first morning – but it was a beginning. Begin someplace that makes sense.