Saturday, March 29, 2014

Faithful one hundred percent

I know your powers of endurance—how you have suffered for the sake of my name and have not grown weary. But I hold this against you, that you do not love as you did at first. Remember then how far you have fallen. Repent and live as you lived at first. Revelation 2:3-4

I am not called to be Horton the Elephant.

So Horton kept sitting there, day after day.
And soon it was Autumn.  The leaves blew away.
And then came the Winter…the snow and the sleet!
And icicles hung
From his trunk and his feet.
But Horton kept sitting, and said with a sneeze,
“I’ll stay on this egg and I won’t let it freeze.
I meant what I said
And I said what I meant…
An elephant’s faithful
One hundred per cent!”

And while I just read that we are called to faithful endurance, it’s not an endurance just for sake of the endurance. I can be looking down the feet and counting footsteps rather than looking upward and catching a glimpse of He who goes ahead, the flash of white, a turned head, the look.

And as I read and reread this passage, the church at Ephesus is not being commended for not tolerating wickedness and “putting to the test self-styled ‘apostles.’” Really what He whose face was ablaze like the sun at its height said was, “Yes, I know who you are, that you work, work, work and are ever so strict about doctrine and behavior, and it is absolutely worthless.” All of this suffering and holiness is nothing. His call to Ephesus is to repent or to lose their lampstand. And how have they turned to the own path? They have lost their first love. Somehow their faith had turned into a to do list chiseled into stone, and a them against us fight.

So in class yesterday, as we were starting to read Fahrenheit 451, the temperature at which books burn, we read this quote: A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind.  And I asked the kids to think about what book was a loaded gun in their life? That blew to bits the same old, same old? Think about when you read it...What words stuck… the setting when you read it… who you were at the time… And they had great answers. Wow. That made me so grateful for books.

And my mind was swirling with books…Little BearThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or everything else by Lewis, The Idiot by Dostoevsky …I could list books all day. But one that pierced my heart over and over with its bullets was The Bronze Bow.

“Daniel, he said. I would have you follow me.

Master! I will fight for you to the end!

My loyal friend, he said, I would ask something much harder than that. Would you love for me to the end?

I don't understand, he said again. You tell people about the kingdom. Are we not to fight for it?

The kingdom is only bought at a great price, Jesus said. There was one who came just yesterday and wanted to follow me. He was very rich, and when I asked him to give up his wealth, he went away.

I will give you everything I have!

Riches are not keeping you from the kingdom, he said. You must give up your hate.” 

And because I had lots of time on the plane to Carmel-by-the-Sea, I read and reread the John letters and the Jesus to His disciple passages in the Epistle of John. John does talk a lot in his letters about not sinning, about not be of the world. But the big thing is to bear fruit–fruit that will last– and to love one another. Once again I am reminded of what is true and good and of eternal value. So be it.