MY TAKE ON THE END GAME…

Ephesians 2,8-9 & Mark.33-36
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Ephesians 2:8-9 — King James
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Mark 14:33-36 — Amplified Bible
And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be struck with terror and amazement and deeply troubled and depressed. And he said to them, My soul is exceedingly sad, overwhelmed with grief, so that it almost kills me! Remain here and keep awake and be watching. And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and kept praying that if it were possible the fatal hour might pass from him. And he was saying, Abba, which means father, everything is possible for you. Take away this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what you will.

Close to the End

Close to the End

Many are worried about what happens after they die.
Nobody wants to go to hell.
I think that the fear of hell
is what drives the truck,
not for all,
but for most
conservative Christians.
People who think of themselves as theologians,
biblical scholars,
Great Christian Leaders
have promulgated the notion of the
trickstery, sneaky ways
God works which are so
un/in/dis-human
that we indeed all are sinners
on the brink of the eternal fires,
with little recourse,
or hope.
Claiming that “being saved”
is based upon some act—
coming forward,
or holding an unseen entity
in a metaphorical heart.
Scripture tells us things,
actually many things,
that can be taken by the
ignorant,
or cynical,
or wounded,
in ways that are truly detrimental
for the human soul.
We are given formulas,
creeds,
altar calls,
professions of faith to make
that are supposed to move
us from damnation to salvation,
but I think it is all smoke and mirrors at best,
and spiritual make-work at the least.
Not actually helping us,
yet harming us
if we are governed by the fear
of a hardly avoidable hell,
and a disastrous end-game.
First, let me say that I do not
believe
in a fiery and eternal hell.
So, for me,
the above is truly make-work
for the most part
and what is avoided is actually shadows.
I actually believe the writer in Ephesians
who says that salvation cannot be by our own works.
“Not of ourselves,”
and
“it is the gift of God…”
Seems to state it as clearly
as it needs to be stated.
I think that at this juncture,
the faith the writer
or Ephesians
wants us to be saved by
is not what we think it is—
IT CANNOT BE OUR FAITH,
BECAUSE IF IT WAS,
OUR ACT OF COMING UP
WITH THAT FAITH WOULD
THEN BECOME A “WORK,”
AND WOULD NOT,
COULD NOT,
SAVE US!
I believe that the faith that saves us,
if saving is needed,
is the faith Jesus had in
the one he knew as Abba, or Father.
It is that faith-in-the-garden-faith
when he chooses faith
in God over his own fear.
It is Jesus who holds the New Covenant,
and it is Jesus who holds the faith that saves.
That moment in the Garden,
when we find Jesus reaching deep for his
faith-in-the-garden-faith,
that moment,
is the exact moment
we mean when we say we are
“saved by faith.”
It is this faith
to which we can cling
should we feel the need for salvation—
from anything…

BREAKING CHAINS, RECEIVING SALVATION

 

Braking Chains

Breaking Chains

Acts 16:16-34
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Miracle after miracle,
excitement upon excitement.
Living on the brink of destruction.
Teetering on the edge of disaster.
Living on adrenalin.
WOW, right?
Reading the Book of Acts
is like reading the history of a tornado.
It’s what happens when you see the vision,
have the dream,
feel the urgency and the newness —
get a fresh look at God.
Those, who were brought up in church,
paid attention in Sunday School,
believed the sermons,
went to church camp,
had love and forgiveness
offered to us daily in all the courses of the meal,
don’t get it,
usually…
If you look at the songs in our hymnals,
they are not always,
but generally,
about that two-thousand-year-ago event
and its impact on those long-past disciples,
or else praise and glory
for some theological mis-representation
of a mis-perceived Gospel truth.
While the more modern praise songs
seem more about the power of the now,
but the personal non-communal
and maybe just a trifle selfish
relationship between Jesus-and-me.
But the story of Jesus is
always fresh,
a new story,
a surprising
turn in our lives,
an event of cosmic proportions,
chains breaking,
soul-deep earthquakes
with
tsunami-like
ripples to entire families
and communities.
The story of Jesus is always about salvation,
but not from some fiery and far off hell.
It is about being delivered.
It is about our need to be saved from
our present day hells, prisons, chains.
The story of Jesus is,
in the end,
about our need for a vital
sharing of the Gospel to those without it,
who need that deliverance-form-of-salvation.
I’m not talking
foreign-land-missionary-proselytization here.
I’m talking offering hope to the
in-our-own-time hopeless.
Understand that the possibility of
liberation from oppression—
whatever that oppression is.
This, to some, is
more compelling
than any notion of an otherworldly Jesus,
but when combined with
an encounter with a real-time Jesus,
you me,
they who have had the dream/vision,
and shown what Jesus actually represents—
it can also be the kind of mind-boggling,
bolt-of-lightening-strike enlightenment
that has tornado-like ramifications.
Where in your life,
your soul,
your imagining
has that bolt of lightening struck?
How were your chains broken?
From what prison have you ben set free?
How?

That’s where the tornado-event is formed…
where we start,
and love has a chance to begin.

DISCIPLING: PROCLAIMING, HELPING

 

On the Way

Follow The Dream

Acts 16:9-15
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

A dream,
a hope,
an urge,
some kind of goad,
and disciples are off and running,
map in hand,
supplies laid in,
and doing what they do best—
telling and sharing the story,
mixing it up with the folk,
where the folk gather,
and baptizing any who ask.
How it’s done.
What it is.
Living lives that follow the dream.
Then,
just being real.
You do know,
and I know you do,
that God has called each of us
do to some part of the Gospel work.
Listen to this!!!

GOD HAS CALLED US TO BE US
NOT TO BE SOMEONE ELSE.

I think that being our authentic selves
just might be
the hardest task we have been given.
There are no excuses, here.
No,
“If I was like Paul…”
Or,
“If I could be like Lydia…”
Or,
“I’m not a minister,
a trained chaplain,
or even qualified.”
When God calls us,
God sees us as we are,
God sees us how we are,
and
God calls that person,
not the fiction
we think we should be,
because,
in the end that fiction
is just an excuse.
So
what is
your dream,
your hope,
your urge?
What kind of goad,
is it that will set you,
who are called to be disciples,
and that would be you,
you know,
off and running,
map in hand,
supplies laid in,
and doing what you do best—
telling and sharing the story?

An invitation to share the story —