Let’s hear it for the clarity of the Living Word! All we need to do is to sit down and read a bit each day, thoughtfully, prayerfully, diligently. And our Lord and Father will speak to each. And we will know. And we will be united. Let each hold up our Lord and Father for all to see!
Doing it God – doing it right now!!
“Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’”
We are taught to test a calling, a teacher, a truth. I wonder how often we see our Lord and Father testing our calling, our teaching, our truths.
“Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you.”
So far so good. Unless “you” is “me”. Unless that commandment was written for my hard heart. What shall I do then?
“And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.” Mark 9:41-50
Ahh! Yesterday’s verses! Hard heart – cast it out. Cut it off – throw it away. Grow another one – a soft heart. A loving heart! Gotcha God! Thank you.
But wait a moment – what’s this …
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’” Mark 10:1-12
Now how does that work …
“hand … cut it off. foot … cut it off. eye … tear it out. No longer two, but one … what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Is that just “wives”? Or does that apply to “hands” and “feet” and “eyes”? If my wife causes me to sin, do I “cut her off” … or do I stay together … Getting confused now!
And then I read these words – said to the dusty peeps away from the “testing” – said to the dusty peeps who were not seeking loopholes – but always seeking a simple truth.
‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’
Wife – another – adultery. Husband – another – adultery.
Forget the hierarchy. Focus on the sacred. Forget the instruction manual. Focus on love without condition. Liberate always. Entrench never. Unconditionally.
The dusty peeps get it straight. No testing, no packaging, no fluff. And (I guess) chew that over amongst themselves in the following hours and days.
Now add the gospels together, those three years of “ministry” … Layer upon layer of chewing things over – day after day of Jesus demonstrating “practical theology” – again and again! Not just the sitting and pondering – but all the walking and talking – all the doing and acting – all the responding and reacting – ALL THAT Love in Action! – ALL THAT God in Action!
What an apprenticeship! What a demonstration of making “disciples” – not just in these few verses – but through each of the gospels. So how do I use that today? How do I make it “relevant”?
Well, I wonder if I “chew” things over enough. But I also wonder if I prefer the campfire to “practical theology”. I wonder if I prefer to be an armchair supporter. Watching the action on my widescreen 3-D bible, along with instant replays and commentaries – all available 24-7 in the comfort of my own expensive (and paid for) “executive box” high up in the stadium.
I wonder if my “testimony” is that of an armchair fan. I wonder if my offering of disconnected passion is what disconnects me from so many already taking each day by the scruff of the neck. Already out there on the pitch doing “practical living and loving”. The ones I am taught to call unclean and unsaved. “Them” out there looking back at me in my fandom regalia, my rehearsed chants of adulation, my nit-picking critiques of “their” performance.
And – now I think about it – I wonder why I am so often taught to teach this as the preferred way of “making disciples”:
Come and be a fan with us. The view is great. The seats are comfy. You can be assured that we handpick our membership. Which means it is only for people like you and me. But for an additional charge (obviously) we promise you a social life more jam-packed than it’s ever been!
And – now I think about it – I wonder sometimes …
Am I confusing “making Pharisees” with “making disciples”?