As a pastor, I find people have a way of putting themselves in boxes of their own building. Life rolls by and we build a view of what can and cannot happen based on what we were told and experience, and every now and then we have to take a look at the boundary and ask from where it came? Politics and religion are not to be discussed in polite company. The Middle East will always be embroiled in turmoil. Denominations are dead. I hear statements like these and I want to say, really? Are you sure?
I recently started reading a book that takes on one of these; God’s Politics by Jim Wallis. The book is a conversation partner in preparation for an upcoming worship series focusing on the November election. Response from congregation members by and large has been positive to the series idea, but in the interest of transparency I have received comments ranging from I wish we would discuss something else to the topic is inappropriate for church. With the former I sympathize, while to the latter I say – according to whom?
Borders need to be set. They also need to be pressed. Jesus did this in a relentless way.
In John 9, Jesus and his disciples come upon a man born blind. Before entering the story, a little context. As the disciples are approaching the blind man they already have an idea as to why the man is blind. They think he is being punished by God for his or his ancestor’s sin. The disciples, like us, have a preconceived story about this guy prior to even meeting him or saying a word. Before engaging in a 12 disciple smackdown, however, we might ask – when was the last time I assumed something about someone I did not even know? Welcome to the club.
The story unfolds this way: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Then Jesus lets loose…
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Jesus then heals the blind man. The even more interesting part to me is what Jesus says about works of the day and the coming night. Personally, I find there are times of light and dark. Jesus shows a new virtue, opportunity, or action to take and then the dark of doubt returns. The challenge is to live in the light of what Jesus reveals and stay there.
Jesus hints at this when he tells the twelve in John 10:10, I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.
To find this life and stay there, though, we have to find a limit and press.
(thanks for reading, if you found Jesus in this please like, share, and comment!)