Friday, April 22, 2011

Drag that cross across the stage - A modern Easter/Good Friday programme tribute

Come on and drag that cross across the stage
May everybody watching be amazed
At the immense suffering and the pain
Of the Saviour on the day that He was slain

Come on and drag that cross across the stage
Put on the spotlight his act of mercy and grace
Let's celebrate his suffering for it made us free
Oh yes, let's rejoice in that sweet liberty

Come on and drag that cross across the stage
He did it all just for you and me
There is no shame in it, you see
He didn't have any, so mustn't we

Come on and drag that cross across the stage
Let the world know how he quietened the rage
Of sin and shame that bore my name
and put Himself, in my place, to blame

Come on and drag that cross across the stage
Open those wounds and let them bleed
Slash that whip harder till you succeed
In letting the world respond to Christ's magnificent deed

Come on and drag that cross across the stage
Yes, you are sure that even He rejoices
When you make such a happy noise
About the pain He endured all the way

Why don't you drag that cross all the more
Put it up on your shoulders physically
So that we all can very clearly see
That Christ died for just for you and me

Come on, perch that cross up at the back end
So that He can scream in the agony and pain once again
So that we be haunted by those very thoughts
Just in case, of our reference point, we get lost

Let's glorify the wounds that set us free
Let's magnify because we must indeed
Let's make a hoarding, huge, big & gory
We must indeed tell the complete and full story

For our hands and feet are just too weak
To take those wounds entirely
That would invalidate the sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb
If we didn't, it would make the whole episode worthless, wouldn't it?

Gotta tell the story, gotta sing the song
Even if we have only one opportunity to do it all year long
And we also got to tell it right
So that we make an unforgettable deep mark in the mind

For it's that cross that we are to sell to the world
In the very size and shape that it was made
Woe be unto us if we take forward its symbolic meaning
Oh, it would be the greatest treason

Yes, because it implies nothing beyond a piece of wood
That on Golgotha was the centre of Salvation hung
To bleed and die, instead of you and me
Oh it's gory in all its beauty

For what it says beyond the event
Let's not venture there, that's not why He was sent
He came so he could die and go
So we could tell the world that He did that so

What it means in everyday life
Is centred on the piece of wood and its strife
Oh no, we don't take it way anywhere beyond that
We must pay obeisance to the blood & the wood

But before you drag that cross across the stage
Just check the case you exactly make
Whether your plea stops in its embodiment of the wooden tree
Or if it implies what it means, thereof, to be free indeed

The form it takes in your life and mine
Is the more important embodiment than that in wood
It's not that the cross is not that the cross is not important
The importance of the symbolism of the actual act must be sorted

So, actually stop literally dragging that cross across the stage
Make it less of an obeisance to the wood
And more of gratitude to the King
And showcase the praise He deserves, in lifestyle & deed, which is what we should bring

Let's put on a show, if it's our heart's desire
Let's celebrate the occasion in the Spirit and with fire
But don't re-crucify Him every year
Even if it's symbolistic, let's give Jesus a break

He's done the act and we're with Him now
He was never meant to be our psychological crutch
Especially ones that we strongly hold close and claim to depend on
Knowing fully well, and silently endorsing, the weakness that we need to depend on it for

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Let's talk about some REAL Christian Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

One of the most misinterpreted passages that I have come across, quoted at will, whenever it suits fancy. The various understandings coming from this verse are extremely painful. Here are some things to put it in perspective.

Before that, here are a few things that must be cleared first:

1. The passage does not indicate that Christians must be a bunch of "nice & sweet" folk.

2. It does not solely seek to accommodate anyone's personal preferences of what love must be. It is for our growth and understanding.

3. Love is given with sincere concern for the good of the person. Always in the best interests of person, it may result in methods which are non-"nice & sweet".

4. It is defined by the values of God and not in a free-for-all sense.

Love is patient.
Indeed, but not patient enough to lose you to your own folly

Love is kind.
Of course, but it would not 'be so kind' as to let you not revel in pseudo-light/darkness

Love does not envy...
...except share the envy of being in Christ, of course with the envy intact

Love does not boast
It cannot boast of anything except gratefulness

Love is not self-seeking...
...nor does any one become the centre of focus of it

Love is not easily angered...
...neither is it offered over-the-counter to be valued like that

Love keeps no record of wrongs.
It quietly moves past as if they never happened
Love does not delight in evil
It speaks against every bit of it
Love rejoices with the truth... much as it rebukes the untruth
Love always protects...
...but not in a manner that you will always feel protected
Love always trusts and hopes...
...that the right will be chosen, independently, in good judgement
Love always perseveres and keeps on keeping on, never giving up

We often find ourselves not being able to differentiate between a value judgment and a statement of fact, when someone says or does something. Not all people who say what we don't like are wrong. It's not the Golden Rule of Life. It may be so when the entire world actually revolves around you, but till then they can also very well be right. Making value judgments are easy, but we also forget that when we do that we are only doing, ourselves, what we are accusing the other person of doing. The right way to handle it is to talk about it, with reason and understanding, on the basis that either party could be wrong and that the statement or action was indeed the case. Running all over town on the presumption that you are right and the other person is no less a value judgment, even if you are. That's when talking about it with reason and understanding, ego and value judgments aside, brings the real picture into focus.

There is also the correction that we must not be rude. Rude is something that can occur from any direction. Something can be said in utter sincerity, with or without knowing the other person, which can result in the person being hurt. Assuming that the prime reason of saying and doing such a thing was to be rude to you, for no reason at all, would be an assumption, again, based on the fact that you are indeed the centre of all things that must happen, which is not the case. It must, again, be talked over with reason and understanding, putting ego and value judgments aside.

It is also very common to have Christians point out this very verse and tell how "unchristian" our actions are, telling us we must act otherwise. We must understand that while we are supposed to longsuffer and love, when we do it on demand, it is as good as being taken for granted by people who know the loophole. It no longer serves a purpose then. It's like admitting the fault that we're trying to correct and then asking that we be kind about it.Love does not respect the issue. It endeavours for the person's growth and understanding. It is not meant to keep the person fine and happy in the wrong – especially when the wrong is openly admitted and defended.

Love is also not an over-the-counter offer. Christian Love in practice is a struggle for the one who practices it in the sense that he/she fights between crossing the line of sounding rude and offensive when seeking to speak the truth in love. How do you tell someone to snap out of it, when you have given them all reason to and more to do so, and they just aren't going to listen? It is not easy. And sometimes a rap on the head, or any other alternative as closely strong, is just the pill, unless you'd rather have them wallow in their own folly a lot more towards their ruin. How you draw that line is the question. All choices are usually made in best possible known judgment - something that is defined and further defended by the love we profess for the person. That does not mean that we will not be rude, unkind, mean and such. He, very well, just may, all in love, do so that the person makes a step for the better. It, being God's very love, should be a fully God led situation as well.

We must also understand the dichotomic nature of God, whose love we profess. As much as God is for something, he is, as much, anti the same thing. If God is righteous, He is as much as anti-sin. It will sometimes seem contradictory. We like to paint a picture of God on one side of the bargain. If it was not so, He would then indeed be contradictory, and more importantly valueless. He would, then, stand for this and that. He would then have to be righteous and love everybody, sin regardless.

When we speak with love, also, we speak with the truth. We do not encourage people to be out of the truth, rather we encourage them to stay in it. We also correct them when they are out of it. When it is the rap in the head that they need, a rap on the head is what they need – all towards directing toward the truth of Christian Love. Sometimes 'love' does not work. Loving one another in Christian Love is not hippie love when we accept each other as we are and all live happily ever after. It corrects and pushes one towards the Truth in correction, with reason and understanding.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Whatever happened to just, “Go”?

The word ‘go’ has an enchantment to it. When Jesus said, “Go”, he fully meant that we must simply just GO. He didn’t say wait till you have the means. In Luke 10, when he asks the 72 to, “Go”, he didn’t give them a ministry name, get a few sponsors, tell them who to call so that they get to sleep eat well enough and get people to get the places of meeting ready and inform the people to attend the event. They simply went, of course replete with instructions.

This is in much contrast to nowadays where ministry is as less simply ‘Go’ as much as it is branded. It must have a name and must read X Ministries. I shall, of course, withhold my biased opinion of the different words that replace ‘X’ in quite many cases. If we can take the name of the elements of holiness that are used, we must surely be very sure that we are given the mandate to use those names and the grace, means and strength to live up to them.

One dimension of how we have ‘gone’ wrong is when we seek to ensure a comfortable way forward. We, for some reason, should know how things will fall in place well before we leave and must check up on the arrangements thereof till the moments arrived. While I agree that, when we have the option to do that we must, my main problem is that when we don’t just simply go, we lose out on, one, the romance of the affair.

The thing that Abraham felt when he just went must have been awesome. Of course, he had a lot with him and not so much to worry about, but he had no clue where he was going. He just went where he was told to go. I can imagine Abraham, if he was asked to do it today, letting the wind hit his face and feeling the sweet wind of the adventure the Lord would be bringing up on him. Not that it would be very easy in worldly terms, but I thought we leave those terms of reference behind when we choose to follow the Lord. The (truer) intrinsic blessings outdo any possible thing in the whole wide world.

Also, just simply going, paints a rather non-corporate picture of how we are reaching out to the world. It is not a pretty picture, one that is akin to buying tickets to a concert that you want to see or a play or a movie you want to go to. And, while it is nice to attract people with pretty pictures, we must consider what we are attracting them to. Are we telling them to come have a good time and not telling that we have a message implanted in the programme that will tell them about Jesus secretly? When ever did the actual first step to Christ become one that is desired, wanted or is found cool by a person who has not met Him yet? That moment of the encounter when the poverty of the spirit is brought to light and the degenerate heart is confronted, something that acn only be done by Christ himself? Is that moment something that is designed to be enjoyable, wonderful and nice? Does a corporate approach facilitate this entry into Christ?

For generations, the questions have not changed. The quest of the soul has remained the same always. The answer to it is not painted in pretty pictures that corporate ministry only allows. It is a difficult decision when the moment of confrontation comes and must not be ‘sold’ in any easier form. It should be either sold in completeness or not sold at all. The fact that the option must remain open, through the lives of God’s people around them, does not change.

Lastly, as people in ministry, we are not fully polished and round. We also are being worked in by God as He wants to work in other people through us. We cannot present a polished picture because we are not polished people. We cannot seem, in the least, self-righteous. A picture that is rough around the edges is the picture that is one that is only completely true to all of us.

So the question is now, have you just simply gone as yet?

Friday, February 18, 2011

After much deep and profound brain things inside my head...

I knocked clear and hard, a distinct rap that you heard
You let me in, with myself in full, a notion that seemed very clear
I seemed welcome enough to at least sit myself down and feel perfectly at home
I later realised that there must have been something, something much more

The welcome-in seemed perfectly clear, sans the warnings on the wall
You, as well, seemed fine as well with my feet on the table, long and tall
If there was a sign of discomfort at the length of my arms when I stretched them
It was laughed off with what I recognise now a sense of absurd mystic humour

When the strange feelings came along, I was wondering if I should keep singing my songs
But then there was no clear opposition to my rants and my suppositions
It very clearly seemed that we were just one big happy bunch of folk
Who really ought to do a regular weekly lunch of sorts because we rock as much

But now you land me this eviction notice, one that I was supposed to see coming
I wonder now who was supposed to be smart enough or am I just plain dumb?
Did I get it all wrong from the very beginning and were you just being gracious?
It seems so very much, as much as you seem to imply the case is

But, wait a minute. No. That really isn’t the case at all
I just realised not one between us was ever perfect. We both had our faults.
Not that we didn’t admit them, but the journey of discovery were we on.
Our paths met, along the way, something neither of us would have known to call

To turn to the tables over now and take a stand of supremacy
I don’t know where you got these ideas in your heads of such Majesty
You, I nor anyone else is the centre of all the action we see.
We are all walking in progress towards our own notions of perfection.

If you weren’t imperfect like we all are in our many little ways
Then I may agree that we must serve Your Majesty all our days
Then there should have been at least an inkling of the wall
Of your supremacy, which I will straight away ignore

If there was an by-the-way hurt that was reached
I’m sorry for launching you into a time of blues
But if you just came to assert that argument and then straightway leave
I’d rather you sit and reason than you come here, your supremacy and majesty to preach

Here’s something you may as well understand that this is how it is planned
The key to the heart lies on the inside, something that only YOU can open up to the outside
You never know who you let in to get cozy, just like they don’t know for what you might throw them out
No one enters perfect persons and no one leaves with perfection really ever achieved

It’s actually a matter of mutual self discovery, one that benefits and progress all sides involved
But only when there’s an adventure in the soul and when there’s passion to figure out, what more is in it
If you ask to be perfectly gratified, you should hang that that up on a wall
So that everyone can see so that they don’t make the step before they fall