While I really think that the United States of America holds the best possibility for a good life on the globe, I’m afraid we are not impenetrable. It’s a fine idea and the layout of checks and balances, Bill of Rights, and distribution of power seems just perfect. But, you see, human beings are not good. So no matter how well we design a government or society, it eventually will fall apart. It’s not because the system isn’t great on paper. It’s because people generally are not only evil, but also not too bright.
The words of our Lord found in the 10th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel are stark and difficult words to hear. They are marked by a raw honesty about the faith, about discipleship, about what it means to be called a Christian. There is a foreboding darkness hanging over Jesus’ words in this section. It is not all sunshine and rainbows or a prosperity preacher’s Pollyanna dreams.
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Self-righteousness might be the most devastating disease debilitating mankind today. And it will stop at nothing to protect its host, even putting God on a cross. Jesus addressed it more than any other sin. Because, if a person is self-righteous, that is, doesn’t think she is wrong, she certainly won’t be self-reflective enough to see any other error. Self-righteousness afflicts us all; left and right, atheist or Christian, democrat or republican.
We all look with a wary yet hopeful eye toward the future. We hear about the phased plan for reopening our state, for starting the great engine of our nation’s economy again. Every scheduled press conference gives us the promise of some sort of resolution, a way forward. Now these conferences do not seem to usually play out that way. They are often filled with extremely vague and elusive statements and the way forward, the way out of this crisis, the way back to some sort of normalcy is not very clear. We all want it. We all would be doing a lot better if there was a real plan with real dates with predictable results, but we just cannot seem to get there.
The people of God were not a people who stood head and shoulders above everyone else. Their title as His chosen ones did not mean they had the best of everything, that they were safe and secure and lived a fat and happy life free from concern, worry and fear. Rather, their history was marked by slavery, oppression, and nomadic wandering with no place to call their home. They were well acquainted with the horrors of war, disease and struggle.
It is a most pleasurable and painful need of His image: To speak, to sing, to form, to make. Our hands were sculpted to press a moldless form into beauty. Our eyes were crafted to dream color into a dark grey vision. Our lips were shaped to taste the ever-sweeter sensations that we could conceive. We were fearfully and wonderfully designed to create like the Creator.
It’s nothing new, we all have felt the war between what we know is true from the words of God and what the culture says is good and right. Most of the time though it doesn’t affect us directly, usually it is just those other people out there doing something we totally disapprove of. But every once in a while, this battle starts stirring in our own home, among the people we love, even right in the eyes of the little people we’ve known from their first breath.
There’s a phrase that has appeared in Christmas lights upon homes across America, maybe even the world, during the Time of Christmas atleast since I was a child. “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” When I was younger, I always thought it was cool to see these words glittering in the many windows we passed by during the Christmas light tour my family would venture out on every year.