I audibly laughed this morning when I read 1 Samuel today. OK, let me back up and give you some context. Saul has just been anointed by Samuel and selected as king. There is a very brief celebration, as the sweep of the Old Testament narrative is laid before the people – how they were brought up from Israel of out Egypt, rescued, and set up as a people. They have finally made it. They are now a kingdom, complete with a leader.
I laughed because I thought “They are now a kingdom, complete with a leader…..wait, what does that make us?” It appears we are without a leader. Instead he has been replaced with a baby, who has a Twitter account, and worse yet has access to his smartphone. Word to his staff: Treat him like a teenager, and take it away.
With Saul dissension begins almost immediately. He is unfit for office and God’s judgment reigns. I pray that we in this country have the courage to call out those who are clearly guilty – so many of which are impeachable offenses. We seem to have less of a spine than our “leader,” acquiescing to mediocrity and infantile rants. When are we going to learn our lesson? It doesn’t need to get “Old Testament bad” for us to wake up, does it?
It is not time to “Speak Out!” I keep hearing this. What does that mean? It is time for us to move to action. That could mean with our pocketbooks. It could mean rallying in our churches, synagogues, and mosques. It could mean a number of things that could mean taking back our country without an armed uprising. It starts with VOTES.
LOVE must win. LOVE will win. If I know the Gospel to be true, love will stamp out hate. This starts in us.
In Luke, Jesus is betrayed and arrested. The denial of his identity and a rejection of the Lord is soon to follow.
My doctorate, my work at the Church Development Institute in Seattle, my consultant work have all looked critically at church systems, learning processes and models, in order to help churches identify themselves more realistically and move forward in faith.
I find it interesting that 1 Samuel and Luke are Utopian visions shattered by unfulfilled expectations. “Having a king” was going to save us. In both stories, it turns out, the “savior” cannot live up to expectations, because each person seems to have a different way by which to deliver the goods. False hopes.
Often churches do this too, don’t we? “If we could just discover the next miraculous program to start, it will save us.” “That new pastor will save us.” Or worse yet, “Her VBS ideas will bring in the children and that will save us.”
It turns out, God does not call us to the Utopia of the church, but to action through faithful service. We are called to follow the King (as in THE KING), knowing full well that the church is not the kingdom itself, but a reflection of God’s grace here. Not everything will be perfect. And knowing that, we can move to a place in which the world is better with us, and in which we can reflect the gospel light.
It is as the Great Ends of the Church declare, our job as Christians is the exhibition of the kingdom of heaven on earth.