“All these people woke up at 6?!” — Phoebe’s stunned reaction, as she drove to school early for a field trip, at the road filled with cars.
I suspect 6am makes everyone feel Phoebe’s statement. At early hours I tend toward morose rambling about the point of our lives.1 Probably because my body wishes I was back in bed, and in those moments I start to debate my life’s purpose.
I look at a world confused and divided. Afraid. A church that is reactive, rather than proactive.2 From this view I suspect some doubt God. A very rational question. And one that can’t be definitively answered. But in the dark I don’t often doubt the existence of God, because of my own existence. I don’t live in 2D or black and white. The world explodes with sensation. My five senses experience so much variety of sight and sound and touch. Yet it all comes together in this moment; like the mystery of pi or – for that matter – the delightful taste of pie! For me this creativity points to a Creator.
Instead, in the dark, I doubt my understanding. I wonder if I am living the creator’s purpose…
“I am just going to say this is the right time, that makes it a fact!” — Phoebe, whose watch was off by three minutes. (When challenged that this was an opinion, not a fact, she retorted “Well, Sponge Bob is terrible, now that is FACT!”)
Near the girl’s school is a drainage ditch. They were irritated when I pulled over and hopped out to take a picture. But I was fascinated by the Quikrete bags piled up — rather than opened and mixed. Maybe this is a great way to lay a drainage ditch… but I suspect it is just an easier way. Not as messy. And it is faster to pile bags, than to mix and then form concrete to the area’s contours.
The church can act this same way. Simply piling up tradition rather than doing the messy of work of following Jesus in today’s world.
During the dark hours I wonder about my own life. Am I declaring my own thoughts as facts and theology — rather than God’s? Am I simply proving my life or am I proving God’s existance?
In these early hours I stand with the expert in the law — wanting to justify myself — and ask “how may I inherit eternal life?” Am I prepared to live Jesus’s answer?
Luke 10:37 – “Good Samaritan” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
This passage is followed nicely by Jesus teaching the disciples to pray. Which, along with a cup of coffee, is what my morning needs. As I pray, the son rises in my life, and I find grace. Enough that I will have ample to share.
Which is the purpose of Jesus. I hope I arise to do likewise…
1 — “tend toward morose” — Not everyone is built like me. But it is good to be self aware and I have the tendency to drift downward into depression. So in these moments proactive steps are needed. I later mention coffee, which is isn’t a joke. I need breakfast, right along with prayer. And if the cycle spirals, then I need to talk with someone… and medication can be a blessing (not a failure).
2 — reactive, rather than proactive — A recent article in The Atlantic challenged me to be proactive — to build and live a social justice theory. On evangelism – which has become a dirty word, but once defined our community – the author writes, “It lacks a model or ideal of political engagement—an organizing theory of social action…The evangelical political agenda, moreover, has been narrowed by its supremely reactive nature. Rather than choosing their own agendas, evangelicals have been pulled into a series of social and political debates started by others.” With a reactive posture, we appear as hateful wall builders; keeping people from entering God’s Kingdom. But the movement of God is proactive — “while we were still sinners”. Our church should embrace the principals of Jesus and pursue them. In this way we will be busy about God’s work, without to time to stomp our feet and roll on the floor each time we hear something we do not like… instead of cries our actions will demonstrate another way – the way of Jesus.