O BLOG THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO

A Model of Abundance

My post today is not about George Matheson or his hauntingly beautiful song, but somehow his song harmonizes and echoes off my experience of reading the blog linked below.

https://www.plough.com/en/topics/faith/discipleship/what-did-the-early-church-say-about-economic-justice?utm_source=Plough+-+English&utm_campaign=519e8386b9-Dig_Image_Test_2021-12-14&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4cbb94afa4-519e8386b9-296385953

My education focused on biblical text.  I still have only marginal interest in church history.  Not that I mean to belittle church history at all, but I am always leery of answers (and their questions) which church history provides which might better have been found in the Bible itself.  Knowing the difference can be tricky, I think, and I err on the side of God’s Word.

I only mention that to explain my limitations, for if I sensed that I had the time and energy to study both, I would.  That surely would put me in a better position to know which questions and answers are appropriate and which are not.

The Bible, of course, tells us that God is love (I John 4).  Sit with that.  God IS love.

I don’t mean to take us down the exegetical road of Bible study here, for there are all manner of doors to open, stones to turn over, and scenic overlooks to stop and ponder which I cannot exhaust, and this post is too short for exploring.  But from this passage, we can quickly and exhaustively begin to imagine all the possibilities that LOVE can be, and to know we fall short of estimating it fully!  And THEN we can add to that evaluation the notion that this mysterious and marvelous insight opens us to God himself most personally.

Suddenly, we are on Holy Ground.

Take off your shoes here!

(Now, at the risk of soiling the moment with the profane, I echo another song, but this one is no church hymn, and not a praise and worship song of any sort, but rather a pop song, a song which doesn’t entirely make sense, a song that lays out a troubled worldview, but a song which somehow embraces mystery, humility, and love.  I am thinking of Tremble For My Beloved by Collective Soul.)

Let us tremble with our shoes off!

I hope, if you are still reading here, you get a sense of reverence.  Please understand that I do.  Right here, I have reverence that passes understanding, and I invite you here to consider with me the LOVE of God.

Back to the Bible:

I have long noted that Jesus answers the rich man’s inquiry about eternal life by instructing him that he lacks something, and that he needs to sell all he owns, give it to the poor, count his blessings in heaven, and come follow.  I have long coupled that teaching for that particular man (a teaching American Christians find easy to marginalize) with the church praxis we find exhibited in Jerusalem in Acts 2 and 4.

Couple all of that with the biblical vocation (a calling) to bear God’s image (to bear the image of inexhaustible love) in the world for lowly, lost, sinners and needy people.  All of this I find IN THE BIBLE.  Not so much in Bible class, but in the Bible.  And yet, my own Christian imagination has remained stunted, needlessly constrained.  Probably because of too much Bible class!

It turns out the initials for Bible study echo all too poetically with that other profanity we sometimes reduce to BS!

And then I find HAT, a fellow blogger, linking me to a bit of church history in the link above, where I read the things my ancestral brothers in Christ have to say about their wealth.

I confess I am frustrated too.  I find I am neither a part of the church depicted in Jerusalem or that of church history, but something new.  The American Church that gets together for BS where we quietly presume Jesus’s instruction to the rich man (Mark 10, by the way) is all well and good for him, but not for me.  Where the example of the church in Jerusalem is all well and good for them, but not us.  A class where the words of our church history forefathers go completely ignored, and where we frequently note that Abraham was rich, yet God did not fault him for it.

I am frustrated by that.  I see that the “health -n- wealth gospel” stretches out on a long spectrum well past the gaudy hair and makeup of those freaks on TV and engulfs us “main line” Christians too.

But I don’t want to be stuck here in frustration.  I want to tremble for my Beloved (a play on Collective Soul, but more than that too).  I am gripped by a LOVE that will not let me go, a love demonstrated on a blog I recently found.  I invite you to take off your shoes, step on this ground with me, and tremble yourself.

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