Then who?


On the run up to Christmas, our doorbell is working overtime. Online shopping and one delivery after another. A complex distribution process organised by people just like you and me. Another delivery arrives, the packaging is opened, the goodies checked, and the parcel is hidden away for wrapping.

This morning He grabbed “the wrapping” and waved it under my nose.

”When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, Jesus said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.” They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.”” Luke 21:5-11

I wasn’t allowed to check the goodies inside, nor to read the whole passage. There were no ponderings about end times, no insights about “The time is near” (which – as I type these words – is the first time I read that far into these verses this morning).

Just ”… how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God … “ That was it. This morning that was all we read. And He rolled so many images around those two words: “adorned with”:

Making it pretty. Making it sparkly. Made to be a showpiece. Made to be a “wow”! All made by us for Him. Just a little more here, and a little more there – a little more stuff here and a little more sparkle there. Getting it perfect … for Him!

Showing Him how much we care. Doing God justice. Adorning this special place where He lives. Because this is The Temple! And what else would we expect of such a holy place? Isn’t it only right and proper to worship Him with our hearts and minds and add a few pretty things along the way?

The Temple. The result of a complex worship industry. The perfection of rules and regulations. A perfection of ritual. A perfection of pretty things. All organised and delivered by people just like you and me. An example of how brilliant we are.

And then the killer question:

”How much do you still adorn me, Paul? How much do you drape around your faith? How many pretty things do you still add for show?”

And as I reflected this morning, I saw some stuff I hadn’t before: Finely crafted words. At least an hour of facetime a day. A calendar of church stuff. A mental account of prayer time. A mental account of giving. A weighing up of how much I stand in His way or not. How good I am at hearing Him. The packaging around my goodies – with me still counting. Me looking at my pretty adornments. The ones I bring to Him. The ones I make and drape.

And I wonder – who really loves these adornments?

Because for someone who chose the simplicity and wonder of one single egg, one single life, one basic birth place … how much “adornment” does it take to impress God Soft Hands Jesus?

And if the obvious answer is “none” …

Then who?

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Then who?

  1. Just ”… how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God … “ That was it. This morning that was all we read. And He rolled so many images around those two words: “adorned with”: Making it pretty. Making it sparkly. Made to be a showpiece. Made to be a “wow”! All made by us for Him. Just a little more here, and a little more there – a little more stuff here and a little more sparkle there. Getting it perfect … for Him!

    As I read your post I was struck with just one thought… rather a “cart before the horse” thought…

    “Are the trappings, per se, ‘wrong’?” I ask…

    No, not necessarily. The surroundings, the details, of the original Temple, circumscribed in tremendous detail by God to Moses, were designed to make a proper “nest” for the tremendous Shekinah to abide upon the mercy seat of the Ark. They were the “wrapping” of an unspeakably precious gift.

    Eventually, however, people became far more enamored of the wrappings, than of the gift Himself. Temple worship took on a life of its own, to the nearly utter neglect of God Himself. “What does God require of thee, o man… but to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God?” Man becomes vastly more fascinated with the practice of religion, the practice of worship, sacrifice, and Law… than with justice, mercy, and humility.

    So, do we do away with the wrappings and trappings? I don’t know. Does that enhance the gift, exalt the gift, or lessen it?

    Perhaps the issue is balance. To use wrappings to identify that “These Contents are Special and Precious”… rather like a “fanfare” or “herald” announcing a dignified and noble personage arriving. But if we get all focused on the trumpet player rather than the Noble, we rather miss the point.

    Dunno… just thoughts…

    Grace — LM

    • “Eventually, however, people became far more enamored of the wrappings, than of the gift Himself.”

      Might I be labelled a sceptic if I was to venture the thought that “eventually” is not applicable to biblical times only. That the “far more enamored” approach is alive and well and lives in most of us quite happily in different shapes and sizes.

      I guess also that these verses and His taps on the shoulder are primarily for me. It certainly resonated when He lit up that one verse today.

      Love sharing thoughts! 🙂

      Thank you LM

      • Might I be labelled a sceptic if I was to venture the thought that “eventually” is not applicable to biblical times only.

        Exactly. No skepticism involved. I agree completely. My point is, and was, that we are ALWAYS “distracted” by the shiny tinfoil. Given enough time, we enshrine the packaging and forget the contents.

        Hence, these days, we argue. snit, and moan about the “forms”… how much water does it take for God to notice? What kind of music does God REALLY like in service? What version of the Bible does God speak? etc. etc. etc. Rather than “Do any of these debates bring us closer to embracing God? Or do they drive us further away?

        Couldn’t agree with you more! Grace — LM

    • Ruth, that is the most wonderful phrase I have seen in a long time: “my worship ADD”! Pictures and images flying everywhere with that one!! Thank you so much 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s