Don’t you just love God? All through the OT He gets some heavy criticism from us enlightened superior beings. And to give us superior beings due credit … we really do give Jesus the nod. Because He is the “friendly face” of the God family. And we all have families with the grumpy granddad and the happy-go-lucky uncle. And as families go – one balances out the other – makes being together bearable. Yet we always know who we prefer – and God forbid we should be left alone with the old wrinkly!
We are so enlightened we rarely think God Soft Hands Jesus is God and Jesus all in one. That “grumpy and happy-go-lucky” are One and the Same!
”Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; …”
How often do we skip that bit? Never acknowledging that Happy-Go-Lucky is emphatically endorsing and reinforcing the (much hated and despised by us superior beings) Pharisees?
” … but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.”
Yay! Here is the bit we quote! Here is the friendly face we connect with! Burn the Pharisees! We can ignore the bad boys! Let’s all ignore the Law! Let’s all burn the Law! New Covenant rules! Grumpy is dead – long live Happy-Go-Lucky!!
”But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah.”
And then we read this as endorsing a new chapter – and brave new (loving) world! We can ignore the earthly charlatans and “teachers” – all the pompous (new age) Pharisees with their Pastor and Master and Teacher and Preacher titles! Yay Happy-Go-Lucky! We are free! Freed from all the trappings of “church” and the old-fashioned way! We are not only enlightened and new age superior beings – we have the new Jesus who says so!
(And oddly – are quite happy for Grumpy and Happy-Go-Lucky to be One and the Same right now. How does that work? The ability to split – and then stick God back together again? To ignore Grumpy when we wish – and then” join God and Jesus together” when it suits our own endorsement of our own bible reading?)
And then the kicker. The bit we never really get to grips with. The consequence we never really read slowly. Preferring to think we already “do that” so we are okay!
”The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.”
For what else have we just done than exalt ourselves when we miss something so crucial to Jesus. When we split and stick together God and Jesus as we want – when we want – and how we want?
I need some help here …
Is that not what we accuse the Pharisees of as we bay for their downfall and come uppance? Is that not what we despise in the “old covenant” thinking? The thinking that says I can earn my salvation? The living life on the basis I am saved – so sod you and you and you?
I read this passage and I tremble. The answer is always Love.
It’s just that Love is also the greatest discipline – the hardest master – the toughest choice – the endless struggle to do what is right in my heart and head – the lifetime choice to choose something greater than me – as well as the greatest balm – the quiet healer – the beautiful connection we all have – the eternal union we all enjoy – the individual intimacy and relationship we all crave – the best there ever can be.
Happy-Go-Lucky knew what awaited Him.
He. Knew. What. Awaited. Him.
Yet he still lived a life we hold as a model to be copied even now. Not just for His death. Not just for his “saving us thank you very much”. But as the purest example of love in every moment. Jesus loved every moment of his time with us. In a way we still attempt to emulate today. As He waited for us – all of us – enlightened AND Pharisee – believers AND rejecters – those who were healed AND those who hated – every single one of us – to torture Him to death in agony.
So are we each prepared to accept what that really means?
Because if we stick with our Grumpy and Happy-Go-Lucky theology – who will be “the enlightened superior beings” baying for our own downfall and come uppance?
The answer is always love. It is – also – always “Grumpy and Happy-Go-Lucky” being of One and in One. Because if we prefer one above the other …
I wonder if we have missed the point completely.
Verses taken from: Matthew 23:1-12