Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hot or Cold?

today's Gospel reading from the RCL is John 12.20-36.


   running path
    ~two stuggle
     to uncap beer

We began our Holy Week series of services in our parish last night. The preacher for the week, our rector, laid out his stall in a brave and unambiguous way. He said he could understand those who came to church every week, and those who came not at all, but not those who came occassionally. Christianity either matters completely or not at all. There is no in-between.

Later chatting in the vestry I remarked that what he had said reminded me of what CS Lewis wrote about in Mere Christianity: Jesus is  either the Son of God or he isn't and is therefore either a complete fraud or delusional. There is nothing in between, none of the good man & great moral teacher half-way house.

Look at what Jesus says in today's Gospel. He promises eternal life to those who follow him. This is not simply moral teaching. It is either true or not true. If it is not true then nothing that he has to say means anything. If it is true then he is who he says he is and what he has to say is the most important message that anyone could ever hear. You either worship Jesus or walk away; there is no luke-warm in-between. You either believe it or you don't.

I said my rector was brave because there are so many people today who treat their church affiliation very lightly. They drop in every few weeks or so when they feel like it and have nothing better to do. Inevetibly quite a few of them will wander in at some point during Holy Week. And there's a danger that some of them will become offended and say to themselves 'fine, if that's how he feels, then I won't come at all.' I hope the do come - this message is, after all, for them. And I hope that isn't the way they react, that instead they will say to themselves 'what is it that I believe? And if I do believe that Jesus is Lord, why is it that I am so casual in the practise of my faith?' Jesus in today's Gospel said that he was to be lifted up to draw all people to him. He thought that doing that was important enough to die for. We should think it important enough to live for completely.


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