“And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[a] Matthew 2:15, referencing Hosea 11:1
More and more I find the bible and these “fulfil” verses an irritation. Verses picked like pearls and arranged as a neat phylactery of fact.
I have been to many places where I am “welcome” only to find I remain “welcome” by excluding those not like us. Just as I am a “Chosen People” if I wear the taught phylacteries of fact.
We watched the film “Churchill” the other evening.
A depiction of a grumpy old man losing control of winning his war his way. Overruled on the planning for D-Day by “his” commanders, his own wife and advisors – and eventually even the King himself.
It took the passion of a young “ten-a-penny typist” to finally make this historical figure of fact wake-up “and smell the coffee”. It was a depiction I had not been taught. There was much to despise in this figure I had never been taught in school (and culturally ever since).
Whether this depiction was factually accurate – for me – was not the point. For me the point was to “smell the coffee” on my unquestioning acceptance of “a historical figure of fact” I had been taught-accepted my whole life.
Just like Matthew 2:15 – just like the Bible Story taught as “this is the Word of God”. Which makes it something I should accept without many questions or reservations. For that way is to disbelieve – that way is to eternal separation and damnation – that way is not to be welcome at all.
Unless I find a church where such questions are tolerated – perhaps even encouraged.
Just not here – not this church – we don’t need this “disruption” – we don’t need this false teaching – we believe and hold onto our beliefs in a sinful and secular world – we are in this world but not of this world – so we wish you well in your search for the “right church”.
Because I see Jesus not dying on the cross, not being a beautiful perfect baby child, not even doing the “resurrection stuff” we can’t yet comprehend.
Which is the stock taught answer for much that makes no sense in the bible.
We can’t yet comprehend – but will when God reveals it in His own good time. A time that is different from ours. Ways that are not our ways. Ways that are sin-free-time-free-question-free-human-fraility-free.
I never worshiped my Dad. I never “served” him. And I never knew him either.
Not until the last three months of his life – our life together. When he became a human being just like me – just like you – just like all of us. When the title “my Dad” became real. The real of someone who was real to me. Someone with a past-present-future but mostly a present that we shared in the moment. A moment without airbrushing – his or mine. A present that was of the past and future – but neither left unchanged by these moments. A present that was free to be “the moment” without any adornments.
A real that is a gift I carry with me years later. A gift that changed and changes me.
I was taught an airbrushed God. I was taught a prefect Jesus. I was taught the bible is its own evidence of a real God.
That teaching was of a God from whom I became more and more distanced. A God taught as I was taught Churchill – a teaching to be accepted rather than questioned – a teaching that allowed me to be “welcome” – an acceptance that allowed me to “fit-in”.
Yet the same taught bible is of one who never ever fit-in – who was never “accepted” – who was not “welcome” at all.
And today “we” are not the crowd following him up and down mountains without an energy bar in sight … “we” are not the outsiders and unchurched who saw in him what the churched and faithful didn’t …
We are the church – we are the insiders – we are the ones the bible describes so well.
And we are the ones who deny that Sunday after Sunday after Sunday.
Unless I find the right church?