The gospel goes beyond time…
It is not that I did not understand the importance of the various tasks that keep the city running, I understood, but I sought to go beyond.
You can reproach me, go ahead. But I saw in the gospel, a road beyond, a path that transcended all cultures, all human constructs, all civilizations and conventions.
I felt the gospel to be eternal; I felt politics and culture, including Christian culture, to be in time.
I was made always to go beyond time. -Francis of Assisi.
But how do we live in a culture in time, all while knowing that the truth of life goes beyond time? The Bible says we are to live in the world, but we are not of the world. Paul somewhere says, do not be a product of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Jesus, one thing I am curious about. It is said we are to be a city on a hill and lamp in the darkness wherever it may lay. But how when we are so close to a culture, the middle class culture? Its one of technology, self-gratification, sensuality, idolatry, covetousness, selfishness, greed, instant gratification, wastefulness, exploitation, commercialism, deceitfulness and many other spirits of evil. All of these things contradict the kingdom life, for it is a life set apart. It is a holy life in which God is glorified both in our hearts and our deeds.
How do I renew my mind and heart in this kind of environment, always tempted by this thought or this feeling or that habit? It’s ok, everyone does it and it’s not that bad. But maybe this is again the mindset of the world speaking, and not the mindset of heaven. Perhaps I should think less of the dos and don’ts and think more about allowing the Spirit to take root in my heart.
Doing this or doing that does not automatically make me a certain sort of person, but almost. Actions do speak louder than words, and like C.S. Lewis said something along the lines of, if you find yourself not liking someone, try-performing acts of kindness for them and you just might change your mind. So actions are important, because they are evidence of the person inside. And it’s just that, there lies beyond our actions a person beneath. And it is the person Jesus is concerned with. I think this was a great part of Jesus’ message to the Pharisees. Yes, you are obeying the commandments with your actions, but where is your heart?
I think this is where Jesus wants us to go, and it is there that transformation takes place. It is in the day-to-day surrender to the will of God, not my own. It’s that we find our true self as we die; we die with Jesus. He goes there with us. And this dying thing is not a one-time thing. We must continually let everything die that is not of the kingdom, and it is the Spirit who convicts us of the things that need to die.
Jesus, let us all die. Give us the power to give it all up. Better yet, take the power, and render us so weak that you become our only strength. Take us on the path beyond time. Take us on the path we are designed to travel. Amen.