Today one of the other pastors at our church talked about the Supremacy of Christ. He talked from the book of Phillipians and wondered aloud whether or not the average Christian truly wanted to be like Christ or merely admire him from afar.
I think we only want a distant view and actually are wary of Christ like behavior in others. We don’t admire the servant. We adore the powerful. When our President apologizes for wrongs committed by our country the people rise up in protest. “How dare we show weakness” we wonder? And yet when we are weak ...God is strong. Confession, it seems is good for our personal souls but not good four our national health. It’s as if God can’t do His work through the honesty of confession but needs the posturing of power do do His thing. We want Christ in risen splendor but don’t want to see Christ washing the feet of his disciples. We want to be like ‘Trump’ and wonder why someone might trade riches and treasure in for quiet obedience elsewhere.
Perhaps it’s true. We don’t really serve the God who is. Instead we serve a god who anoints our petty little decisions and trades kingdom meaning for today’s riches.
Counterfeit faith is all around us. In the hands of conservatives we must bow to systems of thought that limit the work of a transcendent God. In the hands of liberals nothing becomes ‘truth’ and we are at the whims of whatever is new and trendy.
I think many of us long for intimate relationship with the real God. Many I know find comfort in their political philosophy and link it quite inadequately to their view of Scripture. Christian media is becoming increasingly boorish, often veering radically to the right and playing to people who want to be told what to think instead of teaching them how to think. And I can't decide if I want to vomit or laugh.
Other veer radically to the left. And in that vacuum nothing is valued or treasured. It’s a do good mentality that appears to reject any notion of personal devotion and allegiance and mocks any who hold substantial contrary points of view. It’s a point of view marked by cynicism and sarcasm and is bereft of a true sincerity of conviction grounded in something bigger than we are. It's an increasingly tiring reality that accepts just about everything as 'truth'. And that just doesn't pass the sniff test. Sorry, but it doesn't.
I want to look to Christ. He is the pivotal moment and person of history. Either He is who He said He was or as C.S.Lewis told us He is a liar or lunatic. And if He is the Lord as He claimed He was what does that mean for our lives? I think it means we study His words and His ways and when we do so we realize that He is is not a Republican ideologue nor is He a spendthrift Democrat. He is beyond those caricatures.
Do we know Jesus?
Most people I know don’t know the God who is. They know something about Him but don’t know Him. Perhaps I’m one of them. We know ‘stuff’ about God but much of what we know is made in the image and likeness of our political and sociological perspective and has little to do with the God of the Scriptures.
I dare you. Abandon your self assured points of view and attempt to look at the God of the Bible with fresh eyes and perspective. Who is this Jesus that we talk about? What does He stand for? What does He talk about? Who does He set free? Who does He challenge? What does He embrace? What does He call us to? What and who will He die for?
He doesn’t call us to the Tea Party or to Sojourners. He doesn’t call us to right or to the left. He doesn’t call us to anger or sarcasm. He calls us to Himself. And there we find that this good God transcends what we hold onto and name as the holy grail.
In all honesty I’m convinced that the faith too many of us hold onto is a faith that allows us to remain right where we are. And any faith that allows us to embrace our weaknesses and validate any and all lifestyles and points of view isn’t something worth hanging onto.
Let’s face it. We don’t really want the God of the bible. We want the god who validates whatever we decide to do and be. Guess what? That God doesn’t exist. The God of the Bible is neither wishy-washy nor incoherent. He stands for something. He lifts up the weak and the oppressed. He calls us to holiness through followership. Wealth has little meaning for Him. A life of discipleship means everything. He's beyond both Republican fiscal policy and Democratic social idealism. He calls us to the 'kingdom of God'.