lyef & thymes

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A break from the series, for a few words

Was reading some bible and I saw something cool. Spoke to a good friend about it and want to share some more here.

Ever hear someone tell you that the Kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent take it by force? Do you believe that? Do you even believe that it is Jesus who tells us this? I submit that this is a deeply misused verse. On the surface it seems to be telling us that it is the violent/forceful ones who get the kingdom, or that we need to be active in the claiming of the kingdom. Jesus is telling us "the kingdom of God suffers violence, and the violent take it by force" right?

Wrong. There is a deeper context here. Allow me to bring to light the entire passage.

"Assuredly I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater that John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come..."

this is the same speech where Jesus informs us "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Jesus is telling us that the law and the prophets, even up to John the Baptist who he identifies as Elijah, these all received the kingdom through force. Up to John, even Jesus says, up to now, that is how it was done. But to take it by force, born of a woman rather than born of the spirit and entering into his rest, positions you in the category of 'least' in the kingdom.

Jesus is saying that no longer must the kingdom suffer violence, no longer must it be taken by force, but rather we can carry an easy burden, of resting in him. The question I have had since this conversation, and what I really want to talk about here is, why the heck is that so hard to do?

I think it's because resting in Jesus brings us face to face with him, and as much as we love Him, coming face to face with Him is a whole lot like climbing into a steaming hot jacuzzi. It's a little too hot at first to really feel comfortable, but eventually you reach the point where you don't want to leave. I have recently been given loads of time to spend however I like, and I am amazed at the base things I will turn to for comfort before thinking to turn to Jesus. I will watch movies, listen to music, even read my bible, all without legitimately acknowledging that I am called to rest in the spirit.

This poem comes from the reflections I have had on the matter.

The gift of pain (love)

before me the hill,
rising from the city into the sky
onto the horizon,
the threshold,
the crossing over

behind me comfort
ease and familiarity
mindsets, blankets
a sleeping child
dormant and unthinking

before me a man,
a need,
unfulfilled longing
waiting, sweating, bleeding.
long into the night
prayer without ceasing
his mind always on me

the gift of love
the crucified Christ
the man who died for another
the gift of pain
the one who knew no sin
to become sin for me

before me the fiery furnace of love
the life of the spirit calling me forth
calling forth life,
calling for a life.

Before me a choice,
give me every last scrap of you
and you can have every last scrap of me

behind me nothing
nothing to lose,
nothing to gain

Up the hill is the man who gives all
the man who requires all
step after after step
weight that crushes me
the yoke of the loved
passed onto the lover

the gift of pain (love)
before me a choice
cast all your sins on me
then look upon me and be saved
take my yoke and I will carry yours


At 12:27 p.m., Blogger mark said...

Dude, I love this. I think I love it most because you do what a lot of people don't do, and actually look at the wider context of the passage. I think way too often we take a verse out of context and use it to support our own belief system.

The poem's good too, but you don't need me to write that for you to know that I'd like it. You are rather good with words, you know?

I'm going to ink you soon, buddy...


Post a Comment

<< Home