Don’t Stop Believin’

Every now and then I have to schedule fun. Yesterday was my scheduled fun day in which I momentarily put work aside. Some fellow musicians and I were asked to sing backup to the house band at Hard Rock Live for a closed event. We would come out onstage during the finale, a bass-laden cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” In case you don’t know, I’m a rock star.
At any rate, this rock star was journeying to our call time in my fierce high heels with some fellow singers when we got to Universal Studios’ security check. Experience has taught me to give security personnel a heads-up about some necessary medical supplies.
“I carry medical supplies with me,” I told the middle-aged guard at my checkpoint. The point of this was to avoid having to explain what an inhaler and Epi pen are used for. I opened the compartments of my purse.
He stopped, looked me in the eyes and grabbed my hand. “Are you sick?” he asked.
My purse sits wide open and ignored.
“No, sir. I just have bad asthma,” I explained.
He put my hand within both of his. “I’m going to pray for you.”
“Okay,” I said appreciatively, my purse still open. (Okay, I’ll admit it was a little awkward.)
“God, I ask you to touch and heal this woman. Take this sickness from her. Do not allow her ever to experience another symptom of asthma. We ask you to heal her right now. Amen.”
He released my hands. My open purse remained untouched.
“Thank you,” I said. “I’m here to sing today, so it would be great if my asthma didn’t kick in.” I noticed my friends waiting impatiently by the moving sidewalk ahead.
“You’re a great singer,” the guard said emphatically.
From your mouth to my directors’ ears, I thought. “I hope so,” I said, holding my ignored purse open.
“NO. YOU ARE A GREAT SINGER,” he practically shouted. “Do not look with disdain on God’s gifts. Your voice is from God. Your asthma is not.”
“Perhaps not, but He permitted it,” I corrected, not really wanting to get into a theological debate when call time beckons.
He reached his hand into his shirt pocket and thrust something that looked like a warped purple model of a molecule into my hand. “Purple represents purity of heart. You are pure of heart,” he explained. “I want you to have this. And it will bring you luck.”
We were good until that last line.
“Thank you,” I said. The impatience of my friends was now as palpable as the Florida humidity. I had to end this. “Do you want to check my bag?” I asked nervously. 
“No, you’re good,” he said, winking.
Fortunately, my friends hadn’t given up on me. I suspect they stuck around just as much out of curiosity as loyalty. As we rushed to make our call time, I explained about my encounter with the guard. Then once I was out of the guard’s line of sight, I quickly threw the mangled purple molecule into the nearest garbage can.
“Why did you do that?” one of my friends asked. But I had to. I kept remembering a Bible translator friend who talks often about a practice he has observed among tribal members called syncretism, an offense I feared the guard had been guilty of.
Think of syncretism as the end-of-the-week casserole you used to find in school cafeterias, except that instead of leftovers, it employs a mishmash of belief systems. In the case of the guard, it was a little Christianity here, a little chakra there. 
As nasty as that cafeteria casserole invariably was, syncretism is nastier. Why? Because God is a jealous God, and He is one. The god of Buddhism or the god of Islam or the god of Hinduism, for instance, is not the same God as the one expressed in human form in Jesus Christ. 
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
– Deuteronomy 6:4
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
– John 14:6
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
– Acts 16:31
Friends, taste and see that the Lord is good. The gospel needs no additives, preservatives or flavor enhancers. Cling to Christ, and don’t stop believin’. And that’s the finale from this rock star.

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