Sunday, April 2, 2017

take the fort

The Word for today:
Luke 17:20-37
mark this: Luke 16:16 --
The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.
and this: Matthew 11:12--
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
I once worked at a church, so it may sound odd when I tell you that I've always been uneasy around "the church."
On the other hand, I love the church. She has been gracious to me. But our relationship has always been strained, at best. We hang together, but by a thread. We are not altogether estranged, but we are strange bedfellows.
I think we're good for one another. Where she is strong, I am weak. Where I am strong, she is weak. We complement one another, and so prove the genius of God's plan.
But the strain remains.
So I've tried to be more accommodating. So has she.
She's tried to listen more intently. So have I.
I've forgiven her, and she me.
I still love her. I pray for her. I won't let anyone say a disparaging word about her. I admire her and wish her the very best. But the strain is showing and it's nearly bursting the seams.
Surprisingly enough, our variance is over Jesus. I don't always feel close to the Jesus I hear her talk about. I daresay I don't always feel that I know the Jesus she knows.
Her Jesus is a flower child. My Jesus is a freedom fighter.
Her Jesus is tip-toeing through the tulips while my Jesus is taking the fort.
She's always sure about what her Jesus would do. About my Jesus, half the time, I don't have a clue.
Right about here you're used to hearing, in Christian thought, some conciliatory wisdom which sews the tear together with silver threads and golden needles. Something that sort of kisses the boo-boo goodbye.
Well, we ran out of thread and kisses.
I love you, church. But I do so want you to meet my Jesus and dump his lame namesake.

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