There’s a war being waged out there this very minute. It’s got to be one of the longest in history; recorded accounts go back as far as the Pauline epistles. Even now, a fresh generation of recruits invents new weaponry, draws new lines over extremely battle-weary ground. Language, drinking, entertainment, sexual conduct, worship, and a thousand lesser things (Santa Claus, really?). How far is too far. How much is too much. Definitions of good, bad, right, wrong, wise, appropriate. Each good soldier earnestly considering, deciding, weighing every issue, finally taking their chosen place somewhere along the spectrum of fifty thousand shades of gray.
I think we’re not only preparing for the wrong battle, we’re in the wrong war altogether.
Look at us. On the one hand, well-armed with words like “grace” and “freedom” and “non-issue” and “relevant.” Skilled at squirming away from the lines. On the other, sanctimonious and Pharisaical. Both sides quick to scoff at the idea that any of today’s issues could be answered by the childlike question of “what would Jesus do?”
Consider Isaiah. A reverent man. An advisor of kings. A man of unusual eloquence, absolutely silenced by a white-hot holiness. Brilliant. Blinding. Breath-taking. Final. The beginning and ending of God Himself.
Why do we shudder at the very character of the One for whom we reserve verbiage like “serve,” “adore,” “worship”? Chafe against the only thing with the power to set us free, as if it now inhibits us with distasteful bonds? Or engage in ceaseless striving for a goal that we cannot attain, but which has already been attained on our behalf? Get so caught up in spouting our own wisdom and philosophy that we forget to bow our heads in silent deference?
Don’t speak of your “liberty,” nor babble on of your personal rationale, nor set a snare with the nets of your legalism. Don’t catch me in the cross-fire of license and pseudo-virtue.
It is sufficient to know that He is and we are not.
It is what we cannot hope to be, yet that to which we are called.
“Oh make my mirror-heart Thy shining-place,” wrote George MacDonald, a phrase that has captured my imagination and won’t let go. We are lunar beings; each life having the capacity for no more, no less than reflection. Will we choose to dim the potential for luminosity with our own ambition for brilliance; tarnish the glass with even a hint of soot and grime; crowd its surface with the image of trivial, lesser things? Or will we finally give way and glory in simply casting off the singular radiance of the Son?