Sunday, June 29, 2014

What is it that we do…?

The average Christian seems to approach the life of grace the way the average driver purchases a new car. She finds the best vehicle she can afford, buys it, and drives it. She seldom cares much about how the thing works. She just wants it to do what it’s supposed to do, get her to her destination. She knows how to fill the gas tank, maybe how to change the oil or the wiper blades, or replace a burned out head light. But as far as everything else, that’s someone else’s job.

So Miz or Mister Jody B. Christian finds the best church they can afford, one that they think will get them where they want to go—heaven, of course!—and invest as little as they can get away with in fuel (offerings), lubrication (sacraments), and bulb replacements (bible studies). As for the big stuff—how does salvation really work? and what does it mean to be ‘saved’ anyway?—they leave that to the ‘professionals.’ After all, ‘we pay them enough.’ Tell me this isn’t true, so I can sleep nights.

We live in a labyrinth of faith-based pitfalls—if it isn’t the end of time itself—and we find ourselves inevitably detached from the sources of true spiritual life, egged on by false advertising hawked by bold-faced liars in microphone-laced black gowns. It’s neither their fault nor ours, we tell ourselves, and try to keep our ‘happy faces’ afloat on message boards while we avoid confronting false hopes and falser lives. Our churches, arks afloat in a flood of our own filth, we pack to the doors, us animals by twos or sevens.

Yet the Lord Almighty, Giver of life, who seeks not the death of anyone, but gave Himself for us, came down for us, dove deeper than our fall to rescue us, to raise us on high with Him, to present us spotless, faultless, fully formed in the Image and Likeness before which all creation trembles in awe and wonder, there He stands, not behind our wall, nor hidden behind a temple veil, but in our midst, among us, even as one of us, His hands full of lightning flashes that heal anyone they touch, earthing themselves in us.

What is it that we do when we do nothing?
We may call it worship or alms or fasting or prayer, but like withered fig trees we may be rooted, yet bear neither leaves nor fruit. The wind may blow through our bare branches and the sounds of faint fellowship may be heard, but we produce nothing, save nothing, not even ourselves. Nor do the gracious plentiful rains that soften the parched earth around us avail us any, for we gave up to others what was only sent to ourselves, and we missed Him as He passed by.

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