The Road

Everything

As long as people of our Christian faith are merely coming to a service, listening to a message and leaving, they will never come face to face with their personal questions, failures, shame, and curiosity. They will continue to deny the need for a savior and life transformation. They will continue to believe that they can pick up the mantle of Christianity by saying some cheap prayer and going about their business. Authenticity is not just a best practice, it is a requirement. Jesus spoke directly to the obstacles in the hearts of men and women, and if we cannot emulate that, taking an honest look within, we can never even begin to see His footsteps, let alone follow them.

The biggest liars derailing an authentic community are ourselves, believing our lives to be complete, without sin, and the process to be over. We are always to be on a path towards Christ, which includes conviction and confession and then celebration. If we continue to skip the conviction and confession we are celebrating our own spiritual deaths.

We must know that the road to Jesus is paved with humility and love. Putting others first; sacrificing and the giving up of one’s life for others. The first will be last and the last will be first. Obedience is better than sacrifice; if you have an offering to the Lord but strife with another, first seek humility and harmony, then you can please the Lord with your offering.

But mustn’t we also know, then, that the road to destruction is paved with fear and pride. That they are one in the same, just as love and humility are. That it is not the poor who fear being poor, but the wealthy who fear being poor which drives their ego towards pride, and then greed, and then judging others. In this same way it is not the unsaved who fear hell, but the saved who live under this fear that drives the ego towards pride, and then self-righteousness and then the condemnation of others. This is what the world sees that the tower of pride we build has blinded us to. We talk so much about how a Holy life should be lived, but instead, lay our foundation on our own ability to accept, create, and control God, and in practice we don’t even believe He is real.

This is in direct opposition to the road to Jesus.

In the Face of Uncertainty

Everything

In the face of uncertainty we often forget that we are not yet in our forever home. We, in fact, are not even close to home. We are far from the feeling that we have arrived, and that we can rest, and that all is right in the world. We are far from the notion that we are safe, and it is a time to lie down in the green pastures and bask in the peace that is promised.

Where we are now, we have the charge of toil, and testing, with a promised companion, but without the relief we so desperately seek. Let us not forget that all things here will end. We can no more hang on to the homes we live in as we can the flesh we embody. We are here as aliens, and much of what we encounter is foreign and strange, and difficult to understand.

Our companion serves as a guide in this foreign land, and will lead us to our promised forever home, but we must not become distracted by the troubles of this world, lest we lose sight of our guide. Rather, let us fix our eyes upon the one who gives life, let us be vigilant, long suffering, and steadfast in our faith. Let us remember why we are here. Let us remember that our presence here is to ease some of the suffering around us. Let us not believe the lie that we are here for our own comfort or glory.

Instead let our hands and feet be tired from lifting others out of despair. Let our hearts be saturated with the burdens of our brothers and sisters of faith. Let us lean into the promise we are given, and the truth on which we stand. For we were not promised a life of ease, rather a new life at the end of this temporary one.

The Lamb

Everything, Liturgy and Devotion

It can be hard to filter out the noise in the celebratory season; take a moment today to remember and consider the Lamb that entered in history so that we might be reconciled to the Father.

“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

— Luke 1:30–33 KJV


“And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!”

— Luke 2:4–14 HCSB

Merry Christmas!

Now the theological traditions, both Christian and Jewish, have tended to behave like bankers when it comes to forgiveness. That is, they spell out the conditions under which forgiveness is possible, sible, typically four in number. Forgiveness requires an expression of sorrow, the intention to make amends, a promise not to repeat the offense, and a willingness to do penance. If someone meets all four conditions then they have earned forgiveness. We owe it to them the way the bank owes us the deed once the mortgage is paid off. A deal is a deal. But a deal is not a gift, and a gift is not a deal. Then what would it mean to forgive someone? It would have to mean something uneconomic-like a gift-something unconditional, something unaccountable, something mad. But the New Testament turns on just such unaccountables-like loving your enemies. If you love those who love you, what good is that? It makes perfect sense. Even the mafia does that. The unaccountable excess of love is felt when you love your enemies, when you love the unlovable-those whom it is unreasonable to love-which is the madness of the kingdom, which follows the nonprinciple of nonsufficient reason! Just so, the unaccountable excess of forgiveness ness is felt when we forgive precisely those who do not meet some or all of the four conditions, who are not sorry, do not repent, and do not intend to mend their ways. That is, genuine forgiveness is offered unconditionally, not subject to meeting any or all of these four conditions, exactly the way Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of the Roman soldiers. Just so, we often speak of things that are unforgivable-the Holocaust, say, or the atrocities of American slavery or of apartheid, or the several attempts at genocide we have witnessed in the past century. But would not such unforgivable things be the very subject matter of genuine forgiveness?

John D. Caputo. What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (Kindle Locations 856-866). Kindle Edition.

Liturgy and Devotion