Everywhere I turn I read confusion and confusing words from the Tribe of Jesus. There is much confusion these days within the Christian Church; confusion about ‘identity’ and calling and place and relevance. We seem to be looking in a mirror dimly and thinking we are seeing perfectly clear. In truth, I see way too much smoke and mirrors when it comes to God’s truth coming from us blessed and cracked human beings.
The confusion is over (just) who we are following and what we are following; whether it is the lines we draw in the sand over our denominations or the teachings of our particular pastor or our particular theological interpretation. I will not mince words here, one of THE reasons I love the Catholic expression of faith is because it is not about me or you or the priest or even the Pope…it is about Jesus the Lord. Yes, I know the Catholic Church is so far from ‘perfect’ but ALL expressions of Jesus on this planet are merely the human face of an Infinite God.
Sometimes I wonder if all the confusion within the Christian community would be cleared up if we spent more time loving and following Jesus all while “fleshing out” his words rather than following each other or the next ‘sexy’ thing.
The Truth is we can only follow Jesus through the Spirit of God for it is impossible to do it on our own. We specks of dust could never follow the Infinite Creator, heck we could not even know him nor even comprehend him without the indwelling Presence of the Infinite – our minds would melt or explode if we pondered this without God’s lavish grace.
And following him is not done begrudgingly, out of spite, fear of hell, or blind obedience. No, it is done because we are passionately in love with him and it is the Spirit who fills us, leading us deeper into the heart of Messiah. And if there is one thing I have learned in 44 years of living: to know Jesus (as he truly is not as we ‘preach’ him to be) is to love him!
Although it may seem like an oversimplification, look throughout all the divisions within Christendom – they come about not because we are deeply in love with Jesus, but because we are deeply in love with and attached to our way, our interpretations, and our flesh. All these theological interpretations – these rules of “do’s” and “don’ts” – actually lead us away from Jesus and into religiosity.
From Baptist to Presbyterians, from Anabaptists to Methodists, from evangelicals to Catholics, from the Mainliners to Pentecostals and all of these blurred lines have come about not because of divine inspiration but because of human perspiration – fighting to the death for “our way/my way” but not for The Way.
Jesus said that he is the way, the truth, and the life. He didn’t say his teachings were the way, or the truth or the life. He said he is the Way. So the Way is not a teaching or a denomination or an ‘interpretation’ – the Way is a Resurrected God-man, Jesus of Nazareth.
And his way, his very being, is the way of love. Jesus was all about messy grace, extravagant mercy, and abundant compassion. His way is not narrow-minded parochialism, smallness, bigotry, anger over the ‘non-essentials’ or the rudeness of rightness.
The greatest sin we Jesus followers have committed is the “lack” of unity Jesus prayed for just hours before his death on a cross. And the confusion this sin creates would start to clear up if we truly focused more on following Jesus rather than following each other.
Not a sermon, just a thought…