Saturday, May 02, 2009

Someone like You

I've been thinking of a song written by an old friend Kevin Mattson. The gist of the lyrics are his love for his toddler son, and asking God if God loves him as much as he loves his son. The song goes through all the experiences of Love that a father has for a son, with the repeating question do you love me that much? In the end the answer humbles him to tears, for God answers yes and more, then God asks him the question, "would you let that little boy die for someone like you?"

Often it seems we identify God's blessing on us with the righteousness of our cause. We fight for our cause. We see God's blessing and God's will and even God's revelation in the accomplishment of it. In some cases we even see the realization of God's Love in our successful completion of the tasks to promote the cause. There are rare occasions when we are so passionate that our cause is God's cause that we believe anyone who interferes with us is fighting against God directly.

It seems Jesus came for more than our cause. It seems that he came for us for someone like us for someone like you.

Luke 5:27-32

27After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." 28And he got up, left everything, and followed him.

29Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. 30The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" 31Jesus answered, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance."

I think the "over the top" satire pointing to this truth is captured in the Video

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tweener Times

There's nothing left, the adrenalin and the drama are over. The attempts to control or influence things beyond your control or influence have failed. Your hopes and dreams are gone, dashed to pieces in a moment of time. You are only left with the despair and hopelessness of a life misguided. The world you believed in is gone forever, and the world you sought to love moves on without you. The crowds are gone, the crowds you counted on have turned on you. Even asking the question - where are you? what happened? seems silly because you don't know to whom the question should be addressed.  Those you walked with, those who are left, stare at each other and ask "now what?" Is there anything to left believe in, anything left worth living for at all? The enemies who destroyed everything about you - they don't even care. They're not gloating, apathy is a better descriptor - even they have moved on. You would move on also - if you could think of anywhere to go. But where else can you go? HE has the words of eternal life, we know HE is the Holy one of God. 

Its the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. On this Saturday of all Saturdays, we don't hope because the world is a hopeful place where good things happen. We don't hope because the righteous among us prevail. We don't hope in our own strength and ability. If anything Friday showed us that all that type of hope is useless. All of history shows us that destruction and calamity, like that of Friday, comes, and we are left with a  Saturday season - a life of mere existence.  A time when our prayers and beliefs sound hollow - even to us. 

But History, Both worldly and our own personal history and story, also shows us that beyond Friday and Saturday,  Sunday is coming. 

Todays lectionary reading Job 19:21-27a

21Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! 22Why do you, like God, pursue me, never satisfied with my flesh?

23"O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book! 24O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock for ever! 25For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; 26and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, 27whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Self Correction

Its been said that reading and understanding the Bible is like carving a Turkey - Cut along the grain, not against the grain to get the best. I've also found that no matter how finely I carve, Its always turkey - never hamburger, no matter how much I may crave a Big Mac. Very simply; it is what it is. The scripture is what it is, God is God. God's will and word are independent of our perception.

Although the analogy may be weak, it points to the two halves of our relationship with God that Paul Tillich spoke about - God's Revelation, and our Reception of that revelation. Its the reception of the Revelation we need to work on. Often I see people rely strictly on their feelings as the movement of the Holy Spirit and God's revelation of Love, or strictly on the Scripture as a legal document as the source of God's revelation of Love, or The Constitution of the USA as God's revelation of Love. 

Why the focus on Love? Because as best as I can tell, my own reception of Revelation always comes back to Love. No matter where I start, no matter the situation, Love becomes the sole source of motivation, of ethic enacted, and is always consistent with all  I understand of God. 
Have I missed something? 

Below, from today's lectionary, Paul speaks to those of Faith concerning their reception of God's revelation

Rom 2:17-24
[17] But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God [18] and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, [19] and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, [20] a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, [21] you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? [22]You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? [23] You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? [24] For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."