Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Gravity of the Supremes

An Inkling
With the media fixated on the same sex marriage cases before the Supreme Court this week, hardly anyone has noticed another momentous case before them – this one challenging the law of gravity.  The Court will determine whether the law of gravity is inevitably discriminatory in its application, bearing more heavily on some than on others. If they so determine, they will certainly rule the law unconstitutional. 
This case is before the Court because of a suit filed by seven people who believe it is unjust that they are considered heavy.  Ike Newton, attorney for the plaintiffs, declared that it is long since time for America to bring freedom for all who have previously borne the burden of extra pounds.
The seven plaintiffs prepared for the Court hearing with a service at their church, where the Reverend G. B. Shaw led a ceremony in which the seven were pronounced “light.”  During his homily the Reverend Shaw declared, “I don’t know what kind of bigoted blindness led the deity to put the law of gravity into effect, but the Supreme Court now has the opportunity to right a great wrong.” 
At a reception following the ceremony, the newly light celebrants were giddy with their new status.  One of the women declared that she can hardly wait to wear a size five dress. 
Meanwhile the Presbyterian Church has convened a study commission, which will consider the Church’s broad diversity of theological positions on gravity, and will bring a report in 2024.
“He who sits in the heavens laughs.”  And the joke is on us.
Lord have mercy,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Simple Truth

An Inkling
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life.
If you were to pick a single verse to summarize the good news, which would it be?  Many choose the verse above, John 3:16.  It is about as basic as our faith gets, and yet it expresses some of the gospel’s central mysteries.
Often we think of “the basics” as something we endure so that we can move on to what really matters.  We begin with basic grammar so that we can move on to competent writing, and with basic math so that we can move on to calculus.  But “the basics” are not lost; they are just assumed.  You can’t work a derivative equation without the assumptions of basic math.
So too with our faith.  We begin with the basic understanding that God so loved…  Only we do not really move beyond that.  We may study complex theological issues about the nature of God, or ethical questions about war and abortion.  And sometimes we lose track of “the basics” in the complexity of such matters.  But if faith remains Christian, then we can never leave behind those basic gospel truths.
In fact, one reason I’m persuaded of the gospel’s truth is that its deepest mysteries are found in its simplest truths.  It is not as if we ever move beyond John 3:16.  And we need not, for there is more than enough depth there for a lifetime of pondering, and more than enough good news there to make life worth living.  Thanks be to God!
Thinking simple thoughts,

Monday, March 4, 2013

The GRAND Stand View

An Inkling
Do you ever wonder how the Communion of the Saints works?  You know, that phrase we slide through in the Apostles Creed?  How does that it work?  I’ve been thinking about that this week, because this Friday is the premiere of Job’s Unbridled Faith.  And I’m wondering if Bob Wendell will be watching.
You may have heard about how Bob and Ed Keating collaborated on writing this musical telling of the story of Job.  They sensed the Holy Spirit moving through them as they pulled music and verse together.  Bob lived long enough to partner in the writing, but not long enough to see it performed – at least in the expected way.
I’ve been practicing with the choir for this premiere, and I can report to you that it really does capture the profundity and mystery of Job, and it does so in a way that is both moving and fun.  “Moving” you’d expect.  “Fun?”  From Job?  You’ll have to see for yourself, Friday at 7:30, here at St. Giles, complete with choir and orchestra.
Back to the Communion of the Saints.  It’s not about ghosts sneaking back into our realm.  Rather it describes the sense the scripture gives us that the community we have in Jesus Christ extends beyond the boundaries of this life.  Death changes, but does not end, those relationships.
So might Bob be watching Friday night?  I’d like to think so.  In fact, I’d like to think Bob would have the best seat in the house, watching from the GRAND Stand.  By that I mean he will watch with the knowing eye of one who sees fully what we can only glimpse in Job, and describe in terms of mystery.  Job’s Unbridled Faith does that well, and Bob will take it in with a far grander understanding than we have as we perform it.
You can see the video trailer I’ve attached, made from footage of a practice last week.  Share this link with your friends.  Tell them you found some folks who can have fun telling Job’s story.  That ought to interest them.  I think there will be a lot of joy on Friday.  And the happiest “Bravo” will sound from the GRAND stand.