Sunday, December 05, 2010

Thus, I Give Up the Spear

"And he piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the rage and hate felt by his whole race. If his chest had been a cannon he would have shot his heart upon it."
-Moby Dick (paraphrased)

The army crested the hill, letting out a collective sigh of joy. After months upon months of journeying, their destination was finally in site. The trumpets began to blow, announcing their arrival to any and all within earshot. The standard bearers raised their banners higher, the great red and gold crosses flying high. The large siege equipment rumbled behind them, shaking the ground they walked on. Weariness left them as each gripped his sword and spear a little more tightly in anticipation. Jerusalem was now in site.

Often the obsessed focus on things that have little eternal significance. But by definition, obsession cannot easily release its grip on the point of focus. In the middle ages the church's focus on religious places and objects eventually led to the crusades -an armed invasion of Jerusalem and the surrounding Holy Lands. What was the purpose of this? It was rooted in a belief that objects and icons, places and things could bring you closer to God. Where did this belief come from? Certainly not from the one object in their possession of any worth...the Bible. Yet the obsession was real enough, so the armies marched on.

Churches today have similar tendencies, if less militaristic. Some focus on the emotion of the moment, longing for the next high and feeling altogether uncontent without it. But how much of life is spent on a cloud? When Peter, James and John wanted to stay on the mountain of transfiguration, Jesus said that the work was in the valley. They wanted to hang on to the emotion and spiritual high they had experienced. For too many churches, they have traded their knowledge and teaching of how to live a Christ filled life in the real world with the shallow teachings that make them feel good. The tough lessons of Jesus are thus avoided in this emotional form of Christianity.

Other Churches still latch on to material things. Others works. And the list goes on, but Jesus said to obsess over Himself. The rest follows. Obsessions lead to many things, and unless it's the Biblically prescribed form of obsession, the pathway always ends in destruction. Many, many years ago it took the form of the Crusades... none altogether successful even by their own reckoning. It is something to be mindful of as we live our lives and participate in our churches. We must watch for these things early, because as I've already stated, obsession is blinding, and once in the midst of it, it is hard to see anything else.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Your last sentence is well stated and yet I wonder, am I blind to a truth because of an obesssion?! May God grant us wisdom and mercy. © 2010. layout by Chaotic Soul :: Converted by Randomness