I still remember this conversation. I remember where it happened, what was going on, it was a day my relationship with Steve changed. When I was a freshman in college Steve was Professor Hertzog, the man who taught religious history for a one hour class three times a week. In my freshman year, that's pretty much all he was to me, the guy I saw every couple of days up front talking at me. Outside of occasionally raising my hand I had no interaction with him.
The question above happened almost four years later. I was a month from graduating but I still called him Professor Hertzog around people, Pastor Steve when with friends. In the past four years we had moved beyond a professor/student relationship. I had taken more classes with him, participated in school activities, but also had dinner with him and his family, helped him in classes, he became my faculty adviser, when potential churches called my college he talked with me about it, we had some hard conversations about friends and ministry, I even went on a mission trip to Africa with him. And now, just before graduation when our roles would be officially changing (I would no longer be a student) he was really asking for a change in the relationship too.
I was reminded of this in my readings for Advent this past year. I read through a series of sermons by St. Bernard from almost 1,000 years ago. It was interesting seeing the birth of Christ from a much different perspective than our current American twenty-first century worldview. And in it he mentioned how Jesus changes our relationship with God.
In the Old Testament we are seen as God's children. In the New Testament we are seen as the Bride of Christ. Our relationship with our children is much different than our relationship with our spouse (hopefully). The people of the Old Testament followed rules and order and viewed God as someone almost aloof who could only be talked to through a priest, much like a child sees a parent. But in the New Testament it was less about the rules and more about the relationship, being able to talk directly to God, His Holy Spirit being with us and an active part of our everyday lives. Because our roles changed our relationship changed.
This is the heart of Easter. A change in relationship. We are no longer held captive by sin but can be forgiven so we can have a new relationship with God, a direct one that allows us to see His love more fully. I pray this Easter season we would all take advantage of that, see Jesus in a new light, live into our new roles with a wonderful new relationship with Him. Don't settle for less, be the Bride of Christ this Easter season.
Director of Sr. High Student Ministries & Modern Worship