Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A conversation expanded. . .

Now the dreaded fear of the chalice has raised the specter of disease or just plain ickyness. And what shall we do? The typical response is to make the distribution conform to our fears. The entrepreneurs have beat us to the punch by providing hermetically sealed bits of cracker and Welches guaranteed untouched by human hand or mouth. Maybe then we will feel secure.  Or will we?

Sadly, our fears are too often bigger than our trust in the Jesus.  Nothing demonstrates this more that the fear of the chalice.  Strangely enough, however, it is the hand into which too many of us receive the host that ought to be of greater concern.  Science has shown us how irrational our fears of the chalice are.  Yet we are never too smart when it comes to fear.  This is but one small way in which we demonstrate our greater fear of our Lord, His will, His works, and His ways.  We may renounce Satan's but we are not fully ready to trust the Lord's.  So we trust our instincts and intellect over God's Word, we force God to forever prove Himself and render faith immune from risk, and seek a faith which is not only neat and tidy but safe.  Such a faith is no faith at all. 

We continue to sanitize the practices of the Lord to fit the sacred cows of our modern day perspective.  We have cleaned up God's loose ends to make Christianity intellectually palatable.  We have cleaned up Calvary to render the cross and sufferings of Christ PG.  We have isolated perspectives that conflict with our contemporary views to the constraints of the age (from abortion to birth control to homosexuality to cohabitation to divorce).  We have a homogenized and pasteurized brand of Christianity which hardly is recognizable in comparison with the Christianity of Scripture and the early church.  We have either tacitly or openly made Jesus but one voice among many who bring us to spiritual fulfillment and the vocabulary of sin, repentance, forgiveness, and faith have become strangers to the voice of the Church in preaching to the faithful or in witness to the world. And we have left God to conform His Word and will to our broken lives and our incapacitating fears. Is it no wonder that the world has little interest in such a bland and impotent Christianity?

Sometimes we act as children who cry out to God over and over again that there is a boogeyman under our bed.  In the end, it seems nothing the Lord does will answer our fears.  Or, could it be that we don't want them answered?  In any case, we refuse to be consoled because we refuse to trust.  There will always be boogeymen under our beds.  There will always be something to fear.  Perhaps that is the safest thing of all -- to keep crying to God to come to our aid without really trust in His mercy or His grace at all.  No one can be safer than when he expects to be disappointed.

Faith, if it is anything at all, is trust -- child-like trust.  It is a risk to be sure.  It is not safe.  It is not clean.  It is not easy.  It is not comfortable.  It is not reasonable.  Faith that trusts in God will seem as wild as God seems -- especially to a people who want Him tame, predictable, and easy.  You cannot look at the cross and find the God whom we know in Christ to be any of those things.  Yet He is trustworthy.  For our fears, this will have to do because God will do no more.  The cross is it.  Everything else seems positively frivolous in comparison to it.  So the cross bids us come. . . believe. . . trust. . . seeing Christ's end is seeing our end and seeing Christ's resurrection is seeing our own resurrection -- especially when our eyes are captivated by our fears.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

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