Too Right May Make a Wrong

Listen...

To the prophet on the edges, living alone and beyond, straining his ear for the Heavenly Wind, knowing that hearing casts him further outside the circle of acceptance. He delivers the words entrusted to him, words of challenge to methods and music, words of defiance tofeasting and fasting. Away with the noise! Be gone sacrifices! Board up the temple! This vanity of Law-abiding worship keeps mouths sounding holy, but seals hearts far from God...

Listen...

To the older brother as he protests the welcoming party for the return of his rebelliousbrother. He did everything right as the firstborn son. He never wasted the family resources on wild living. He never left the father's side or his place in the fields. His brother deserves a reckoning, not a BBQ. He has a very valid point. The father pleads with him but the son still refuses to listen...

"Son, you're missing the point."

"BUT I'M RIGHT!"

"Yes, you are. But you're also so wrong, my son..."

Listen...

To the teacher of Israel, wise Nicodemus, a member of the ruling council, as he banters with Jesus about the Kingdom the young Jew preaches. He is confused, overwhelmed even, at this Jesus who paints such bold pictures with the Scriptures, using vivid colors from a spiritual palette he never knew existed. Nicodemus, a leader of leaders, steeped in knowledge, grave in demeanor, feeling that Jesus is perhaps in error, asks him how an old man can crawl back into his mother's womb to experience this new birth. His theology is well-thought out and robust, so asking the country carpenter that question seemed less ridiculous than the idea that his theology was incorrect...

Listen...

To the best of the Hebrews, the Pharisee of Pharisees, Saul, faultless in righteousness, unmatched in zeal. He is on mission for God to protect the dignity and integrity of Yahweh, to eliminate those who have corrupted the faith. Saul rides with honor until he is struck blind on the road to justice. He who followed God with fierce sincerity, purity of intentions, and rightness in doctrine asks the very Lord he serves...

"Who are you?"

Listen...

To the Rock, Peter, the one who walked on water and made the Good Confession, the restored and commissioned one, powerful preacher and Spirit-filled apostle. He rests on the rooftops, hungry in body, praying in Spirit. His eyes watch the animals of the world and his stomach growls. The heavenly voice instructs him to kill and eat. Three times. And three times, the preacher rejects the voice, because it clearly and absolutely contradicts his convictions and tradition...

"Do not call anything impure that God has made clean..."

Listen...

To the council of Jerusalem, the board of directors ruling at the intersection of The Way and The Temple, navigating the swirling rapids of Spirit-led change and time-tested truth. They meet to discuss their new family members, the Gentiles, and whether they can truly belong without undergoing circumcision, the sign of the everlasting covenant given to Abraham. The Scriptures speak clearly yet the council decides to honor what they heard of God's work among the Gentiles: that he had cleansed their hearts, and given them the Spirit. So they choose the wisdom of following the new direction of the Holy Spirit rather than the precedents of their past...

Listen...

To the King of Kings, teaching with authority on the mountain. Watch the eyes of the listeners as he tells them of a vast number of folks boasting of great and mighty deeds done in his name. He tells them he will dismiss these bold prophets and dealers in the supernatural as workers of evil. The King says though they used his name, he never knew them...

Listen...

...and be humbled. The Scriptures testify over and over to our supreme confidence in our own understanding of the Scriptures, and to the radical new wine of the Holy Spirit which is poured out in different seasons and times, confounding the "wisest" of us, shaking our carefully built structures, and received only by the listening.

Listen...

Lord, to our prayers. Humble us, deepen our trust, open the eyes of our heart, bind us together in grace, and lead us forward in the Kingdom by your Spirit. Amen.