This post is prompted by this past week’s round of national politics, the messages telegraphed from the Capitol Rotunda during the State of the Union, and the posturing, criticisms, deceptions, and outright lies emanating from candidates of both major parties in preparation for the upcoming primaries.
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did…” (read John 8:31-59)
JOHN: I love the entire Gospel of John, In fact, if you left my blog this moment and spent the next hour reading through the entire book I’d be just as happy. Chapter 8 in particular is dense with jaw-dropping stories, surprising interactions, supreme wisdom, and challenging statements by Jesus.
A couple of verses (above) got my attention in a serious way this morning, and so I’d like to share some of my thoughts.
First (and this is especially apropos in a political/religious climate where there’s so much strident talk about how other people should act, and at the same time very little evidence of the Gospel of Love in the ones pointing the fingers), Jesus points out that the test for discipleship is “continuing in my word.” There’s a relationship, the Great Teacher notes, between living as disciples and knowing the truth, and then being set free.
Then – and so that the same lesson will be owned by those who don’t even pretend to follow him – Jesus observes that the loud complainers don’t even look or act like children of Abraham. “If you were,” he says, “you’d at least be doing Abraham stuff…”
Here in this country, the United States of America, I’d equate “Abraham Stuff” with “Foundational American Freedom Stuff.” Look no further than the words I quoted in yesterday’s blog:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [human beings] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among [people], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…(from The Declaration of Independence)
“Look, people” Jesus is saying, brows furrowed, hands held out, palms up – a call to reason posture; “maybe if we at least started from this hallowed place we’re all – supposedly – committed to? How about we at least fold the basic principles of being an open-hearted American into our pattern of relating to one another? But, no, if you were real Sons of Uncle Sam then you’d be doing all people are created equal stuff, and Constitutional Bill of Rights stuff. If you can at least have that level of respect for your fellow human beings, maybe we can move on to talk about Discipleship Stuff…”
This our great challenge! To continue in the word that Jesus shares, in spirit and in truth. Be the light! Live into the truth! Hold out the Word of Life! Love without caution! Serve one-another! Not so much to argue, as to be.
Not to argue, but to be.
Maybe I should change my phrase from “Gospel of Love,” to “Gospel of Live”?
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.