THIS IS JESUS

potentiality #29

potentiality #29

Matthew 5:38-48
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

This is the Gospel.
This is at the heart of what Jesus was/is,
the code by which he lived/worked/died.
This is Jesus…
It gave him the power
by which he healed people.
It was his focus/paradigm/mode/plan
for life.
From heaven to earth,
it was his guiding vision,
his roadmap to the cross,
his singular message,
his exegetical tool for
interpreting scripture
and his plan for building
what he called the Kingdom of God.
I think that if Jesus could make a commentary
on how we Christians,
liberal/progressive
or
conservative/evangelical/fundamental,
were doing in the
building-the-Kingdom category
it would be pretty grim.
We just do not get it at all!
OK,
so let me ask,
when was the last time you actually
forgave,
offered grace,
gave or offered love
to your enemies?
Not just the ones with atomic bombs pointed at you,
or political foes,
but the ones
who picked the scabs
off those sensitive
little areas
you pretend are healed?
I believe that our commission as Christians,
ALL OF US,
the real Great Commission,
is less to “save souls,”
and more to offer love.
But we don’t really want
to offer love to those on
the OPPOSITE SIDE
of our righteous opinions,
do we?
We want the kingdom
for our kind
our liberal/progressivekind
or
our conservative/evangelical/fundamental kind,
with all of its love and grace,
but we want that
Old Testament rule of revenge
for our dissenters.
Yet, we can’t have both.
We do not really want
to follow Jesus
because there is
a cross at the end,
and we can’t seem to see beyond
the cross to resurrection.
I guess the question is this:
Do we want to live in the hell
of anger and non-forgiveness,
or the heaven
of loving?
How we answer to this
question is really
our own
focus/paradigm/mode/plan-for-life,
our own guiding vision,
our own roadmap to our own cross,
our singular message,
our exegetical tool for
interpreting scripture
and our plan
for building what Jesus called
the Kingdom of God.

CHOOSE LIFE

Choosing Life

Choosing Life Hidden by Our Fear

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Matthew 5:21-22
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

So, WOW,
Choose life
so that you and your children can live?
If it seems a little harsh and Old Testament-ish, it is.
Yet
there is something about the statement that rings true.
How do we define,
or think of life?
Is it just
inhaling/exhaling,moving, thinking, seeing, speaking,
or is it more
and something else entirely?
It seems,
and you do know this,
that being alive
is more than simply taking up space and breathing.
Being alive has
to do with quality also.
In the Deuteronomy text we are told to walk
in the ways of God or die.
In the Matthew reading we are told just how
much our angry words matter.
In the Genesis creation story
we learned that God uses
words to create and give life.
In the first verses of the Gospel of John
we are informed that Jesus
is the Word (Logos)
that is the life God
breathed to create all things.
But Matthew apprises us that
our words can also murder.
The temptation in times
of stress when we
do not find comfort
in what is going on around us is
to lash out in anger—
this is especially the case
in our present political environment,
where our disagreements
seem much more significant,
and the fires in our bellies
are burning out of control
and we are ping-ponging
between depression and rage.
But
fear, rage, indignation, pain, shock,
our inner and conflicting feelings of hopelessness and purpose,
are not excuses
for us to act out what the scriptures
describe as choosing death.
And while we may not physically die
or cause others to physically die,
we will surely cause severe
damage to our own souls/spirits/emotions
and the
souls/spirits/emotions of those around us to wither.
God throws down the gauntlet
and says
“I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life…”
Jesus,
the Word that is God,
says
what you do to those you deem insignificant
or whatever, you do to me —

How will we choose?

LETTING THE LIGHT IN

How The Light Gets In

How The Light Gets In

Matthew 5:14-16
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

How many times
have we heard someone say,
or said ourselves:
Love and light,
be the light,
shine your light
holding you in the light,
let your light shine…
But in this text,
Jesus tells us that
we are the light of the world,
and have you ever wondered
just what that means?
What it means for us
to be the light of the world?
When we remember that
Jesus kept
explaining that
he is us and we are he,
we find it hard to comprehend.
It seems just wrong to be akin to Jesus—
maybe sacrilegious?
But consider this,
we are not elevating our own selves,
Jesus is trying to lift us up,
and in the process
attempting to show us
the rights and obligations we
have as ones
who are on his plane of existence.
We are broken.
We are wounded.
There are cracks in our facades.
Though it is something we do not like to admit,
We are by and large afraid
of being different,
of standing out.
Still,
it seems that God gives us light
to shine and share
regardless of what we think we are,
and no matter what
we might do or think
of ourselves
God finds us to be
lights gleaming in the wilderness
and it seems
we are living examples
of the chorus in the Leonard Cohen song, “Anthem…”

“There Is a Crack, a Crack, in Everything,
That’s How the Light Gets In.”

And so
let us pray that in spite of our
brokenness
we can let the light get in
so it can make us,
with all our cracks and chips,
shine with
Christ’s holy light
for the world to see.

WHAT GOD REQUIRES

Not The Expected Offering

Not The Expected Offering

What God Requires
Micah 6:6-8
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

God wants none of our holy intentions.
God wants none of our piety.
God wants none of our self-righteousness,
or our righteousness, for that matter.
God wants no sacrifice.
God does not want us to light candles,
burn incense, sing extra loud,
pray good, fast, or dance.
God is interested in our souls,
insofar as they are in bodies that
are cared for and healthy.
But what God really wants is for us to
be just—not just legal,
and with either the letter or the spirit of the law, but just.
God wants us to make sure that justice is done.
We are to insist that mercy is always the first concern.
I see this as the mandate for our own time.
I am not writing about politics.
Though politics is part of it.
I am not writing about demonstrating.
Though demonstrating is key.
I am not writing about sending letters to our nation’s leaders.
Though how can we not?
I am writing about each and everyone of us, ALL OF US,
becoming not just beacons of justice,
not only arbiters of mercy,
but watchers and rectifiers and doers and bringers
and proclaimers and standard setters
of justice and mercy in our communities,
among our friends and to the strangers among us.
It is no longer enough to promote sanctuaries,
but we, each of us, must be sanctuaries
for all who seek justice and mercy and grace:
this is what God requires…