Noise. So much noise. Noise all around. Of this and that. Of them and those. Conspiracy theories abound here and there. Division and discord sowing seeds of discontent. And ministers and pastors challenged to think: What will you preach this Sunday? How will you respond to your congregation? How will you soothe the furrowed brows of your flock?
Which means going to the bible for just the right verses.
Where would we be without the bible? Like the verses that prove I am in this world but not of this world. My verses are my evidence that my saving has elevated me above all this “worldly noise”. That bible and that teaching and my saving.
A saving that puts me in (loving) disagreement with others who have been saved by their own (false) god, in (loving) disagreement with those who have been saved by the true God, and always in (loving) disagreement with those who have not been saved by any god. Like me before I was saved. That is a lot of (loving) disagreement.
Yet this “noise” this Sunday?
As many are for as against – whether saved (or unsaved) by the right (or wrong) god (or not saved at all). This noise affects the money we all are left with to pay the bills and feed our families. And that is in the bible as well. Jesus might not have had anywhere “to lay his head” – but he had those around him who took care of that stuff I was taught. Ladies in the main. Even back then money was a factor.
Just as back then “noise” was a daily assault on the ears.
If not Rome then Jerusalem – or the noisy neighbours – or the tax collectors – or the unclean ringing their bells everywhere they went – or the indwelling demons rampaging here and everywhere – or the Temple sellers … or any number of those calling out to be heard … And then the conspiracy theories – the Chosen People all waiting for the True Messiah!
Was it this one or that, did this one fulfil the
bible scriptures or not. And just when would this earthly heavenly Empire be given to them? Who was the One who would bring them all their just desserts?
Not that we do any of that today. We have the bible with The Whole Story! We have the baby and the cross. The bible says so. The bible says a lot of things. Enough to support almost any belief at all. I was taught that as well. That there is “biblically correct” and those who aren’t. I was taught that those who hear God correctly will know.
Yet I look around and see those who “hear God correctly” teaching many different beliefs which are all “biblically correct”. All of which have Love at their heart (allegedly). Yet which teach a “biblically correct” Love. Which teach that “Love is not enough (on its own)”. Which is why we need Rules. Except all these rules are additions, appendices, covenants and commandments – not to mention the clarifications and interpretations needed to remain “biblically correct” (as culture, context, language, technology, and science changes over the years).
It’s why I am both confused and saddened by that teaching.
Love is unchanging. Love is the same across all noise and all culture and all context and all time – now and for ever.
Love is not sex and sex is not love. Power is not love and love is not power. Nor is Love only a binary choice. Nor is Love “biblically correct”. Nor an “in and of” insistence that “conspiracy theorists” (of the wrong conspiracy) are dangerous.
If I had a flock or congregation and was asked what I would say to reassure them in these turbulent times – it is this –
Those of us who are saved are the biggest conspiracy theorists going. Any of faith have been – and still are – the cause of ceaseless global division and conflict. We of faith live a life only of belief and faith. Of something never proven to the satisfaction of all on this earth. That no matter the science or logic others bring to question our belief and faith – we will reject it every time. And we are proud to do so! Because we are steadfast in our commitment and certainty – when we are tested we are found to be true! Which makes us THE Conspiracists!
And if I have learned anything of faith it is this –
Telling someone their belief is incorrect and unloving can change both them and me – just not how either of us think. It usually builds the walls between us ever higher. I change and you change because I have to convince
you me, just as you have to convince me you of why “I am right and you are wrong”.
Read the bible – it teaches that same thing over and over. Just as it teaches our differences are to be valued. Just as it teaches Jesus was “biblically correct” (as we now call it) in mixing with those who were “biblically incorrect” (then). And what is this teaching?
That Love – and only Love – is enough.
Just as this “noise” is of love. Love of those of the same belief. Love in “protecting” us from our own
incorrect different beliefs. Just as “we” do if we are Good Disciples.
That is of love.
So I would say that whilst we ALL continue to teach and believe that “Love on its own is not enough”, then we have all missed the point. Of the bible and God.
Because when we believe and teach that “Love is not enough on its own” we are teaching that Love is of Transaction and truly Conditional – we are teaching that Sin Wins! That we cannot Love – are incapable of Love – without God (of transaction and condition). And that “not of Love” is why the bible – is why the bible teaches in every verse that “not of Love” is never the answer.
Love is me and who I am. I am is Love and Love is I am.
Love is not out there – or just to be found in God – or somewhere in the taught correct biblical verses of the bible. I am is me. And I am either Love or I am not. The bible says so. It is not about right and correct.
It is about Love.
That is what I would say this Sunday if I had a flock or congregation.