College was fun. I remember days when walking across the campus I felt like I knew almost everyone. I went to a small school and most of us enjoyed large friendship circles. The manner in which we greeted varied from person to person. Hugs, handshakes, high fives, shouts from too far away, running up and scaring the unsuspecting person, waving, etc.
The greeting depended on the person and the mood. With most people, they would ask, “how was your weekend?”. And the general consensus is that they didn’t really want to know but it would be rude not to ask. So the universal answer was, “fine, how was yours?”. They too were obligated to answer in one positive or up beat word and move on.
The exception were your true friends. These were much rarer. When asked how your weekend was, you could freely answer… and then some. And we would often joke about the silly social structure where everyone asked but most didn’t care. My friends and I decided that, just for fun, we would unload all of our deepest, darkest, most terrifying secrets, hopes and dreams on the next person to insincerely ask.
We never did… but we laughed out loud every time someone brought it up. “hey! how was your weekend?”… “sit down, this will take a while… you don’t have any plans, right? Where should I start…” Can you imagine? 😉
How do we greet God? Public prayers are interesting. It seems a very popular opening is the “Dear God…”. Which to me, sounds like a letter. And the last time I used “Dear anything” in a letter the contents were equivalent of a “to whom it may concern” document.
It just doesn’t seem right, if I’m addressing my friend, I would not say, “dear friend” as an opening. I usually just call them by name. Then we get the formal prayers. “Almighty God in Heaven….” Nothing wrong with that either. But how natural feeling is that? Do we greet anyone else with a name, descriptor AND location?
My starting point of choice is, “Father”. But if I’m honest with myself, that stands out too. I don’t call my father on earth, ‘father’… I call him dad. Most times, I just start talking and don’t really call anyone anything.
The point is that I think its a good exercise to think about our relationship with God. In short, have you prepared enough during the good and restful times, that you can communicate properly during the desperate and painful times? Do you struggle sometimes to address Him at all? Perhaps nothing important is going on? Maybe you feel like you bug Him too much? You have already asked for this once before?
The quick Bible reference for today is, “pray without ceasing”. I’m going to take that literally. Your next sentence to God shouldn’t start with a long proclamation and greeting… because you should have been talking to him just a few minutes ago. Building God up is part of any good prayer, but I hope you get the point in that we should always have the phone off hook (so to speak).
I was talking to my wife on the phone. She put me on hold when someone else called and when she came back to me… we just kept talking. She didn’t have to identify herself again or undergo any assumed pleasantries. Is God different? Allow me to share one way that I approach God when things are not going well…
I throw myself at God. Not because I need to. Not because I deduce it logically. But, because it is the only option my body, mind, and soul instinctually know.
Red light and danger signs with alarms start going off… what is our instinct when that happens? I need safety. I need comfort. I need love. I need compassion. I need someone that understands my side… my perspective.
I leap straight up and into His arms and do not let go.
This is like falling to your knees, crying or laughing… You don’t plan on it, you respond to the momentum in your heart.
Do you know what God does when you jump into His arms? He holds you tight and protects you. (2 Samuel 22: 3-4). When you shout God’s name, there is never the chance of an awkward moment where He doesn’t hear you but everyone else does. When you approach with an arm up in the air… He won’t leave you hanging. That is right. I firmly believe God is a high fiving type of Lord. Sacrilegious? Not according to the Bible.
We are made in the image of God. Our traits come from Him. His joy is in us. He went to great lengths to save us. Maybe a high five is too specific. Perhaps He will have a secret handshake involving the chicken wing or a 3 pointer fade away? Silly? I think its silly to think that God loves us enough to give up His Son and then wouldn’t physically and visibly welcome us to the Kingdom with an expression of affection.
In all seriousness, I think the high fives and other expressions will come later. When I first meet my Lord, I believe we are going to hug. We are going to shed tears. He is going to claim that I was worth it, and I am going to thank Him and praise Him.
God is God and He deserves reverence. God is also Jesus. Man. And He understands weddings. He attends parties. He laughs. He loves. He has joy. How is your relationship with Him? I’m not at all asking anyone to drop the reverence from their relationship… but I also think that we are family. Our God Father and Jesus Brother know us on an intimate and personal level. Lets get to know them. Lets speak to them with love.
Lets speak to them often. Consistently. Thoroughly. Without ceasing. Talk to God about your dreams, your sins, your life. Praise Him for who He is and what He has done. And then… talk about basketball. Talk about boys. Talk about women. Discuss politics. Facebook Him. Tweet Him. Instagram with Him. He is most certainly a rare and good friend worthy of your full story.