Today is Transfiguration Day in the lectionary: “Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!””
I found this verse tucked-in quietly one verse ahead of the lectionary suggestion: “And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”” Mark 9:1
God stands for something good. God stands for love that is unconditional. God is known by all as a God of Goodness.
I tell all who coo over our cute grandchildren that I reckon being a granddad is God’s reward for being a parent. And I have no idea whether I am speaking to “saved-still-sinning-believers” or “not-saved-sinning-non-believers”. Because all reply with a laugh, a nod of knowing, and a word of agreement.
But that “Good God” is not enough.
The bible. Used by all sides like a baseball bat. To hit the “ball of debate” out of the park. The creeds. Used to load all the bases. Religion. Used like a team bus to keep the saved safe as The Team travels though this sinful world.
The Team is everything – always identified today as “Christian” – complete with a “broad church” because the church is not the building – the church is “the people” and the people is the Team – and the Team has become God and God is the Team.
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
And the Team must make this fit the Team lifestyle:
“Power– Team God is power Big Power! “Death” – Team God will take us after death – we’re The Team! “Some standing here” – the “twelve” – the “originals” – old school. We are The Team. We came after them and we know so much more than them. Like this “coming” malarkey – that is the second coming – when The Team finally gets to meet the Owner/Team God.”
And like magicians The Team makes the “Good God” vanish and the Owner/Team God is now all this smoke and mirrors … now a secret even The Team can’t know.
Transfiguration Day. The ultimate smoke and mirrors. As far from “Good God” as can be imagined … “for they were terrified” … they almost saw the Owner God! Bigger even than the Team God.
The scary Owner God who demands we go to church if we are really on the team. The Owner God who judges that we cannot love like Him until we die. The Owner God who demands we love the sinner but not the sin. The Owner God who made all of us sinners – even our cute grandchildren. The Owner God who demands we must judge ourselves and others – or how can we be on The Team? And that is what the bible says. And that is why the creeds and church. For The Team.
And a new Code of Ethics for the New Team. “The Owner God loves me. The Owner God forgives me. The Owner God asks only that I believe in the Team God. Because the Team God looks after the team. The Team is everything and everything is the Team. The Team God is the Owner God but not really. And this Team has only winners – no dead-wood-doubters allowed. Because The Team looks after its own – The Team is family – The Team provides so that you don’t need to. The Team is The Team!”
The old bible was written for the Chosen People. The new bible was written by the new Chosen People for The New Team. The creeds were for the New Team. The New Church was for the new “Chosen People”. And that same Owner/Team God selection process makes me uncomfortable.
I wonder why we make God so … “Do I really need all that “stuff” in my life?”
Why isn’t my Good God ever enough?