Saturday, March 24, 2012

In Search of Jesus
Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you touch it? It is everywhere and all around us. It is the misery and suffering that invades so much of what we call the “human race”. Today, right now, there are countless beings suffering with intense and excruciating pain, both inside and out. Women, children, boys and girls, and men. Some will die before you are done reading, while others with continue to writhe unsparingly in the throes of affliction and despair. For millions there is no healing, no easing, no cure.

It is not God who is blind to this living tragedy, it is us. And most disheartening is the way God’s own people have marginalized the plight of others if not ignoring them altogether. How can it be spiritually acceptable for some to eat cake while others have no bread? Is that a reflection of the God we serve? Or is it a reflection of the god we serve? While millions argue about the nature of capitalism, millions have no water. And when that discussion is active in the body of Christ, well that is a tragic irony and a disgrace to the Savior.

And to what can we attribute such a monstrous expression of self centeredness? What reason can be given when God’s own people, gifted with eternal life and every spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ, decide to be militant about their own elevated financial circumstances while walking around millions of Jericho bound sinners lying wounded, naked, and bleeding? What possible reason can be offered for such a display of mockery toward the faith of Jesus?

There is no excuse, but there is a reason. The western church of Jesus Christ has left the teachings of Jesus and now espouses the teachings and practices of the culture in which it lives. And after many decades, the teachings of Jesus will seem so radical that the church will reject them in their literal purity and attach a more convenient and comfortable metaphorical interpretation. And though that may appease our petrified consciences, it still is accompanied by the screams and groans of those who still suffer, still cry, still are beaten, still bleed, and still lie dead in their sins. And if you listen with His ears, those screams are not muffled echoes of years gone by, but they are ever present calls for help.

Where is God in all of this? But the more crucial question is where is the church in all of this? How many tears ever fall for these people, to say nothing of sacrificial action? While the church argues about economic systems and the ghosts of the founding fathers, sinners by the millions fade away into eternity. And millions more are captives of an existence that we would not allow for our own pets. And yet we claim to follow Him and His teachings. We are not just stretching the truth, we are grievous liars.

Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you touch it? Does it even move us momentarily only to fade away by the bright lights of our own lives? No, it is a fairy tale which has no more response than does the stories from Grimm. The words of Jesus have become stories that are not even as entertaining as the words of Grimm. And while we can laugh and enjoy the ride called “It’s a Small World” at Disneyworld, others are on a reality ride of lamenting whose destination is eternal suffering. Can that even be true anymore?

We have created a spiritual calling that includes national allegiances, moral crusades, and all kinds of love of money issues. And it is most ingenious how the words of Christ can be read on a Sunday morning gathering without the slightest hint of conviction or the recognition that we are not doing them. Our god is our statement of faith, our church membership, and the talisman of our former baptism. But His words are like a pleasant wind that will pass as quickly as the final “amen”.

Matthew 25:34-36 - Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."

Mk.10:21 - Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

Luke 14:12-14 - He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Luke 16:19-25 - There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.
In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.

Lk.19:8-10 - And Zacchae'us stood and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have defrauded any one of anything, I restore it fourfold."
9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost."

Ah yes, stories about Jesus. So enriching, so comforting. He was so wonderful, wasn’t He? It is most unfortunate about those poor people, I mean really. Democracy and freedom would bring them peace and prosperity. That is what they need. Let me write my building fund check and see God bless me. God lives to bless me. I hope those who suffer find some relief. And the mother in Darfur whose infant dies at her dried up breast, well it's those Muslims who created that mess. Tisk, tisk.

Prayer requests? Please pray for my friend who will be traveling on her vacation. Oh, and pray for my automatic pool heater which is making a weird noise. I think I need a miracle. Ok, church is over. Let’s hurry in order to beat the line at our favorite steak house. Hopefully we can eat and make it home in time for the kickoff. By the way, did you see the way that girl was dressed today? And brother Adams died his hair. I guess he wants to look younger. This new church building will be spectacular when it is finished. Maybe the air conditioning will work a little better than it does now. Remember, we need to get Obama out of there and return to the good old days. Oh Look!! The parking lot is almost empty at the steakhouse. God is so good.

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

In search of the one called Jesus.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! I mean, just... Wow.

I have thinking to do..... much thinking. Nay, I have repenting to do. You described me, only I didn't realize it before now.