The planned display of the crucified chocolate Jesus sculpture during Passion Week has melted down. The gallery that was to display the work relented to pressure from Christian groups calling for a boycott of the businesses that supported sculpter Cosimo Cavallaro’s work.
Good, right? Christian effort was able to quash the display of what is an obviously offensive portrayal of the Lord. Sunday, we can gather together in our sanctuaries secure in the knowledge that we protected the name of Jesus. He will smile on us and bless our gathering.
Or, will He?
Is the Creator of the Universe, the Savior of Humankind, our loving Lord this easily defamed? Through the centuries His name has been subjected to every conceivable defamation, every incorrect portrayal, every curse and damnation, and yet through it all He remains our Lord and Savior. If this is true then we have to ask ourselves if we’re devoting our energies to the right things. In other words, are there things in this world that He finds more offensive?
“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.”
“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,”
“I was a stranger and you invited me in”
“I was sick and you looked after me,”
“I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Are these the images that offend our Lord? His name and image are glorified and lived out by His Church…by you and me. A statue of Jesus made of chocolate is bound to be forgotten weeks from now. Then, how will people see Jesus through us?
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,
“Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver. “If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or just plain silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver, “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.”
He is good and He is the King and he most definitely is dangerous. Next Sunday morning I’m willing to bet you will sing the praises to the first two but how often have you considered the third?
I’ve been reading Mark Labberton’s new book The Dangerous Act of Worship for the past couple of weeks. Well, maybe reading is too active a verb. Savoring, contemplating, worshipping, repenting; these are far better descriptions of how a reader will encounter these pages. The book is constructed on the idea that we have lost the danger of worship by turning it into an hour of safety and complacency rather than a way of life. Labberton reorients our thinking to worship as life and how our recognition of God and His place in life must translate into a renewed concern for biblical justice.
I’m going to post further on this book in the days to come. I would encourage you to pick up the book and read it. Join me in a conversation about its ideas and together we’ll kneel at the altar of justice and danger.
Technorati tags: Worship, Faith, Being the church, Missional Church, Christianity, Mark Labberton, Social Justice
Those who know of the Sines know the depth from which this provocative video comes. While many know Isaiah 58:6-7, Christine reminds us that there is much more to the passage that requires our careful meditation. Who knows, there might be a call for you in here. Peace be with you.