I had an unusual experience a while back. As I was awakening one morning, a song was “playing,” over and over, in my mind. I wasn’t cognizant that I had been dreaming of this song.
The song seemed familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. Here are the words that were going through my mind:
“Lord help me Jesus; I’ve wasted it so. Help me Jesus; I know what I am. Now that I know that I’ve needed you so, help me Jesus. My soul’s in your hands.”
What beautiful words and sentiment. That song kept going through my mind for hours until finally, I Googled it. I found, to my surprise, it was the refrain of a song by Kris Kristofferson, “Why Me Lord.” This song had been a Top 40 hit way back in 1972. I do not think I have heard that song in well over 35 years. Today, of course, a song about Jesus would probably never make the Top 40, or even receive air time other than on religious channels.
I went to YouTube to hear the song again and discovered a video of Kris Kristofferson explaining how he came to write the song, and what it had meant to him. I invite you to go to Youtube.com and search for the “Why Me Lord Story.” Here you will not only find a beautiful conversion story, but also a beautiful rendition of “Why Me Lord.” I promise you that you will be moved, unless of course, you have a heart of stone, or are completely resistant to any message concerning Jesus.
You will learn that Kris’ conversion came about because some thoughtful person invited him to go to church with her. By “conversion,” what I mean is conversion of the heart. This means a realization that God is real, God is good and out of love for us, sent his only begotten son to save us from eternal death. It is also a realization that we are sinners in need of repentance and redemption. It also means a complete reorientation of our lives towards God. If we are not always moving towards God, then we are moving away from him. Conversion is not a one time thing. It is a daily act of the will, or a daily series of acts of the will.
Have you been converted? If so, do you go to church? No, I do not believe that to receive the gift of salvation, you must necessarily go to church. But once you have received the gift of salvation, shouldn’t you honor God’s commandments? One of his commandments is to “Keep Holy the Sabbath.” Christians have, from earliest times, done this by reserving the Sabbath for the worship of the Lord. Have we not even one hour in the week to spend giving him thanks? The average American spends several hours per day in entertainment. Most of these hours are spent in worthless activities, such as watching television or staring at our phones. Is God not worth even a fraction of the time we spend on these garbage pursuits?
Some people say they do not go to church because, “they get nothing out of it.” How much are they putting into it? And when did going to church get to be about us, anyway? Isn’t the primary purpose to give all due thanks and praise to the God of all creation?
Some people say they can pray and worship at home, but alas, they do not. Remember, conversion is a daily act of the will. If we do not put ourselves in God’s presence, we may quickly fall away and be, instead, with the prince of this world. He seeks our destruction though all the various distractions and evil temptations the world has to offer.
Instead of sleeping in this Sunday, how about going to church and giving the Lord his due? You may say the church is full of sinners. Yes, so it is. But Jesus came for sinners like you and me, so we will be in good company.
Robin Barrett is a parishioner of Sacred Heart. Insight is sponsored by the Tanana Valley Christian Conference.