Friday, September 12, 2014

A Short Testimony by Teresa Beem

My love for Christ. 

I don't often talk about my relationship with Christ because it doesn't fit into the pattern of what is accepted by American Protestants (or even Catholics).

To me, I cannot speak about Christ in any way that isn't incredibly intimate… so intimate, so vulnerable that it almost hurts. I will weep. I will leave this earth and go into His presence if I speak of my relationship with Him. And that makes people very uncomfortable. Me too.

But often Evangelicals want to see if I am really "saved" by testing me with, "Do you have a relationship with Christ?" I usually stand there unable to speak because that is like saying to me, "Do you make love to your husband?" It is just so, so.... personal. It seems like something that should be only spoken of in great privacy.

I can hardly even type the word "Jesus" because to me, His name is so precious and so powerful that I feel I am taking on a nuclear explosion with His name. I say "Lord" or "Savior" and occasionally "Christ." But even that is hard for me. I always gulp and tremble with fear before writing any title or name of our Creator, for it is the name above all names. I don't like to say it or write it. For it is fire, it is supernatural.... it is....holy, so very holy.

That doesn't fit with others' experience. I feel very hurt when people think I am wrong for not saying or writing His name often. I don't like to talk about Him casually. I want to only talk about Him on my knees with my head covered. For He is good and for me, that goodness of God is so powerful that it can never be casual.

I am not preaching to anyone, just saying why I don't talk about it much. I can write and speak about theology because it tells about Him but it doesn't enter the place of my personal relationship with Him. Talking theology (scripture, hermeneutics, doctrine) is like being in the gentile area of the Jewish Temple. Theology puts a small distance between me and the holiest thing in the cosmos.

Talking about God directly is like being in the Holy Place—it should be done in whispered tones in extreme reverence. And prayer is like being in the Holy of Holies. It is so holy it is covered in a veil and you don't speak at all unless it is in a liturgical setting.

That's just me. I am not in any way saying anyone must be like that. Please don't think so.

I want to live where my life shows Christ. I want my love to be so poured out that it will say what my words tremble at speaking and at which they falter. I want to love you for Christ. That is my personal testimony.

But, for those interested, here is my little testimony:

(get past the commercial and read the rest to this music.)

When I was a child, I was highly sensitive. I loved my Savior and Lord as far back as I remember. But something happened in my pre-teen and teen years that changed everything inside of me. I saw Christ on a picture of the crucifix and didn't want to hurt Him. I looked around me, and saw all these Christians living in a way that would hurt Christ. I didn't understand. Couldn't they see? They were hurting themselves and I knew that because they were hurting themselves that they were hurting Christ. That made me confused. I didn't want to be like those Christians.

I never thought about heaven. I thought a lot about seeing Christ, but almost never about heaven itself. All I wanted to do was to see Christ. That was heaven to me. To look into His eyes and know that He knew… He knew me. And I would know Him. That was eternal joy and worth anything, any sacrifice on earth. So that I could look into His eyes and He would know that I didn't add to His sorrow. His eyes didn't have to weep or be hurt when He looked at me, the way He had looked into Peter's eyes when Peter betrayed Him. 

All my life—and now as an adult, I have not really considered heaven like others talk about it. I feel guilty and strange because I don't really care one way or the other about golden streets and animals and everlasting life. It's not that I want to reject Christian's  version of heaven. But that is not what I really desire.

This is my greatest heart's desire and that is to kneel before Him and tell Him how thankful I am for all He has done. That is my greatest reward and there is nothing on earth that I wouldn't sacrifice, not even life itself, in order to have that moment. And that moment is an eternity in my eyes. I want that moment to seize up and be eternal.

For me, being Catholic has given me a taste of my desire. Not all Catholic services do the exact same for me, but some have.

When I can kneel before an altar rail, wearing a veil and receive on the tongue, I glimpse what that moment will be like when I see

Christ. I live it now, here, when I am in mass. There is a supernatural holiness I experience in the Eucharist. I am taken to heaven and I get a glimpse of eternity.

My greatest desire on earth is to live where I can go to daily mass and receive that way. To me, that is heaven—the kingdom of heaven Christ brought to earth at His first coming. 

That is all. It was painful to write. 

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