While growing up, my life was surrounded in tradition, family, religion and community – and the most prominent tradition was church. We went to the very large, very traditional church much like the one my mom went to as a child. An immense building, with stone pillars and statues with an echoing presence, even when the pews were full – but it was the foundation of the tradition inside the heart that made the biggest impressions, in the long run. It was the morning prayers. The traditions, I so often called rituals, imbedded deeply in my heart and my memories.
For many years, the words and prayers that I learned as a child, the traditions that formed these memories, would replay in my mind. There was a time, in the dawn of my early adulthood where I made a conscious effort to drown what was so deep in my subconscious. What I see in the mirror now was so different, not so many years ago. The thoughts of a God that was “bigger than life itself” were left in the parts of my heart and mind that I had closed off for many years.
Years ago, I believed that the God I heard of as a child, was a god that I wanted to deny in the memory of my adult mind. But from my child’s mind, it was the God that was “bigger than life itself”, but unapproachable – and yet, I know that there was a yearning, somewhere in the recesses that I had closed off.
When I look back over this journey from darkness to light, I can see all the times when the God, who is bigger than life itself, reached deeply into the recesses of my heart and mind – and over time, He grabbed on and held tightly. He not only reached down, He reached deep.
I am grateful for the awakening that the Lord has so graciously given me. When I look back, it was like I was drowning in the traditions that made up my childhood, yet somehow they spoke to me through the years, as I so adamantly tried to drown them out. I am grateful that the God I know is truly the God who is truly bigger than life itself, because He created life itself.
Tradition or love, as this journey today so eloquently asked. Love was the answer. The love of a mighty God who brought me home – who forgave me of all the times I dismissed His existence and denied Him – the love of my heavenly Father who spoke to me through the years and never gave up on me.
And it is that love that is so dear, and is my new tradition. The truth that dwells deep in my heart and mind, and it is the love of that God who so graciously gave life to one that was dead in so many ways. And, it is the truth in me today that builds a new church, not of stone and walls, but of faith and hope and a mighty God, so much bigger than life itself.