Of His Fold
I had a dream this week. There was a lamb that had been separated from its flock and was lost. I saw it in a dark sedan, with tinted windows, like those used in movies by officials. However, the back seat had sideways sliding windows, and this window was open about 6 inches. The vehicle was stopped in a pasture where the lamb immediately recognized its mother, and suddenly it was a flurry and tangle of legs as it scrambled to exit through the window, as it couldn't wait even a moment for the way to be cleared and open. Those in the sedan had no intention of opening the door. Perhaps they thought the window was closed enough to prevent any sudden departure. But with a kerplop, the lamb hit the ground, running to its mother, exultant, joyous, unashamed of the scene it made to extricate itself in order to be with the one who it was so loved by and had such longing to be with.
Being in that official vehicle, they were giving the lamb the appearance of closeness to its mother, to its fold, but in reality creating distance. That the lamb slipped through the opening was of its own desperation, its own discontentment being separated from Love itself. There was no thought, but instant recognition and it leapt into action.
Like Peter. They were fishing. Jesus, recently crucified, shows up on the beach and asks how they're faring. Hearing they'd had no success, he says, "try the other side." They do, and the nets immediately fill to overflowing, and Peter recognizes and exclaims that it is Jesus, throws on his shirt and jumps out of the boat to race to his friend.
Likewise, in my waking moments from this dream, God showed me I was the lamb and I was running to my Jesus. In all my mess, all legs and elbows pulling myself through the only opening I could find, because I could not wait even a moment for obstacles to be removed or a clear path. I knew where I belonged and I didn't hesitate to dive out of the constructs that were keeping me separate, that had no intention to open the way, that were literally holding me away and apart from the longings of my heart, my Lord and Savior.
I read a book yesterday (yes in one sitting; couldn't put it down) called Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldridge. I highly recommend it. And I want to read more by him. He has a relationship with Jesus and it is so apparent in how he speaks of him. But I bring it up because my dream happened two nights before even buying this book, but it contained the interpretation of my dream! In one concise sentence:
Religion gives the impression of having Christ, while it inoculates you from experiencing the real thing.
I know that is not the most palatable quote for those within organized religion. But consider then this other quote by the same author:
It was religious people who opposed Christ; it was religious people who had him killed. There is relationship with God and life in his Kingdom, and then there is religion. They are not the same.
Come unto Christ. He employs no servant at the gate. There is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved.