That every promise ever made by the Lord of all our days
May be fulfilled in the eyes of our sons and our daughters.
Isn’t this what we hope for?
That our loves will live and die
Pursuing something greater than
you and me?
What then do we pursue, and what have we been given?
What do we pursue like jaguars,
Like hungry cats;
Like the patient sloth,
Like the prisoner without pardon?
No. No, no!
We are free!
There are no false Gods, save those in our leisure,
Save those that set themselves up as centers of value,
Save the powers to which we acquiesce,
Save thelittle gods in our minds,
Save in the glory we give to everything that is of God
When we do not first give glory to God.
For we still seek powers to save
Even heroes to stand between us and God.
We shake our heads at the problems and wait for Jesus to
Forgetting that we, too, may speak the truth in love.
The epiphanic manifestation of
divine majesty and mystery
is what we have been given through the birth and ministry
the one who teaches with authority.
Emanuel – God with us, the point of the star,
He is the Divine welcome that has received us.
He is the One who proclaimed that God has already claimed us through water and Spirit.
He is the One who calls his
disciples (even me and you) into a new way of being alive,
Into a new way of being alive, together—
Into a new way of being alive by looking
in the mirror,
And asking the question every
“What have you to do with us,
Holy One of God?”
The expectation we put into that question reveals the
answer we can anticipate.
If we ask in fear, expecting the destruction of what has
been – it will come.
If we ask out of a need to
justify our positions over others
We will be told to consider their
needs before our own.
But if we ask in awe of the one
who writes our stories—
Who even writes them with our own hands—
Then we will find that even storms will submit to the one who says, “Be silent.”
Now, for those who may be wondering what that was all
about, let’s unpack it a
little. In our Old Testament reading we learned from Moses that God promisedto raise up a prophet like Moses
from the people who will speak truth or die. While we may infer that Jesus was
the one God had in mind, there were lots of others before him who spoke the
truth about God and very few accounts of spontaneous death for blasphemy.
From this I would say that we need to remember what
prophecy is all about. While we could certainly get into the role of the
Prophet as one that holds the political structureaccountable – which
eventually includes theMonarchy and the Priests – I think it best to start with
the more basic function that Moses had in mind. The Prophet was the truth teller – the one who described
how to live the hope that God has always had in mind for us. Prophets, even in
their calls for destruction, are part of God’s desire
to move us toward a better way of being alive.
And while we know that Jesus was the ultimate expression of
truth telling, we also know that each of us shares that role along with him.
It’s kind of like having a whole community of “whistle blowers” that are not willing to let the sorrows of others go unseen and unheard.
This is kind of what it sounds
like was happening in Corinth, except that it was really more like tattling.
You see all the meat that was available to eat in the city had been first sacrificed to local deities. That’s
just the way the boucherie worked back then (before refrigeration) Think of it as being kosher, except blessed by a different
So, this question about meat is really two-fold. For one,
there were those rule followers
in the group that wanted to
feel justified in their faith. And that usually means
pointing out those that aren’t doing it right – a practice Paul pretty much
dismisses. Secondly, there’s the recognition of
social expectations that were corrupting the Christian faith. So, for us
the question is not about vegan vs paleo, it’s a question of how we live our
faith in the corruptness of the current age.
While there are certainly arguments to be made about faith
and politics, ongoing struggles for civil rights and social justice – and
those are important conversations to have – I think it comes down to a more
basic level here. That is, how does our witness reflect love and mercy and
forgiveness and grace? Is
it a cheap grace that says, “I’ll do what I want and
ask for forgiveness later”? Or is it a more substantial and penitent grace that
says, “because I have been so loved, I simply have to love others in return?”
Ultimately, we have to work out
how to do that on our own, but not entirely alone.
For, our faith is personal, but it is never private.
It always drives us to the public witness of an authority that is beyond our
control. It always drives us into the company of others that may even disagree
over how to love, but always stand in awe of the love
that holds us.
And that’s a good place to be. For thus far in our journey
after the star that led wise men so very far, we have come to know that Jesus –
for all that he might have been – was certainly the manifestation of the power
of God. He was, and is, the Divine welcome that has
received us. Through him we know that we have been claimed by God as beloved,
and we have been called to a new way of being alive together.
How will we respond? Will we wait
for a new prophet or become truth tellers ourselves?
Will we focus on our expectations, or will we do what is necessary to support
those who do not see the church as a means of grace? And finally, will we fear
the loss of things that were never permanent, or will we listen with reverence
and awe to the things God has in mind that are beyond
I don’t know what’s next, but I can tell you what I’ve seen
here before. I have seen a company of believers that are willing to speak truth, compassionately
reaching to those in need, and always looking toward
what God might have in mind. As we move forward together in faith, let this be
our witness, and to God be the glory. Amen!