It’s a snowy day and I’ve had a little too much time to think while I was throwing shovels full of snow to build a temporary fortress around my driveway, so now that I am thoroughly thawed, I’m letting some of the thoughts I’ve had over the past few weeks thaw out as well.
In the midst of doing the question and answer series at “The Church in the Heart of Princeton,” I grew increasingly aware of how much some people had invested in hearing a particular answer to some question. More than one person said to me afterwards that they “felt sure I would say such-and-such” while someone else was expecting the exact opposite answer. Fascinating.
It made me think more and more about why we feel like we have to be “right” when it comes to understanding things of faith. Personally, I don’t get that desire. It seems to me that many Christians want to have a place of honor when it comes to debates about matters of the faith. (I can’t help but think about all the people rooting for “their” side the other night in the debate about Creation versus Science. My vivid imagination could see people throwing popcorn at their screens when one side said something disagreeable. Ludicrous.
Some time ago, I began reflecting on the death of this guy I am doing my best to follow in life. I noticed that even in death, he found himself stuck between two thieves. Sure, someone gave him a placard that identified him as King, but seriously, Jesus was on a cross between two thieves. Not much glory there. no claim to being right when your public execution includes public humiliation by association.
I’m not going to quote Scriptures here since the story itself so much more important to me – not the minute details. I do know that at least one of his cohorts on the cross encouraged Jesus to save himself and them. The other seemed to be resolved to his fate and simply wanted the other thief to leave Jesus alone. Eventually, Jesus says something along the lines of joining him in paradise that day.
I can’t help but wonder who was going to join him there.
Was it the one thief who knew and acknowledged Jesus’ ability to save? Was it them one who simply wanted to die in peace and not be forgotten?
In our world today, and most especially in the church, we find many people on both sides of Jesus. Both of them want the deliverance of being right in there cause – color of the church carpet, sexuality questions, abortion or how to arrange the silver on the table for fellowship meals – its all the same.
However, it appears to me that Jesus prefers to hang out in the middle and offer paradise.
I would apologize to some of the people whom were disappointed with my answers. But truthfully, I think I will stay right where I am.
I think we could use a whole plot more people willing to hang out on a cross between two thieves.
And yes, I’m not quite home on this thought, but I will save more reflection for another day.