Thursday, April 9, 2020

Atonement or Passover

On this day when we turn our thoughts to the last supper, let me give you a few points to ponder. If the cross was (strictly) about atonement, why wasn’t Jesus crucified on the Day of Atonement? Why does Jesus celebrate this Passover and infuse it with new meaning? Passover was the first of three great pilgrimage festivals-Pentecost the second, Booths the third. These were mainly agricultural festivals; Pentecost was first or early harvest; Booths late harvest. (Many Jews today celebrate Booths by building ‘booths’ or lean-to’s in their yards). How should we understand the fulfillment of these festivals in relation to one another? How are they fulfilled in Jesus? In ourselves?

 “If you only know what [Jesus] has done for you you have not a big enough God...”My Utmost for His Highest

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Fake News

This morning I read a Facebook post that said a Virginia pastor who said or wrote or posted covid-19 was media-driven mass hysteria intended to hurt Trump had died. I did a little checking; evidently the story is true but incomplete. But fact checking, important as it is, is not what prompted this response. The story is heartbreaking for at least four reasons. 

The first heartbreak is that the death occurred at happened at all. I found this pastor seems to have picked up covid-19 ministering in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Here is part of a story from The New York Post, which I also found on Facebook. 

“As he battled symptoms, he shared a controversial meme on March 13, comparing coronavirus deaths to swine flu deaths, Patch reported. The meme is no longer visible on his Facebook page.
The meme decried the public reaction to the pandemic as “mass hysteria” and suggested the media was using the outbreak to hurt President Trump.
In the comments, the pastor said he believes the coronavirus “is a real issue, but I believe the media is pumping out fear and doing more harm than good.”
“It will come and it will go,” he wrote, according to Patch.”

So the post I read was correct but incomplete, which leads me to the second heartbreak. There will be some-including Christians-who will jump all over this. Some who will be pleased, if not delighted, by this mans death simply because he appears to have supported Trump. I shouldn’t have to say this but I will anyway. This is not the way of Christ. 

Which leads to the third heartbreak. We must-all of us-be very careful whom we follow. Christians by definition follow Messiah Jesus. That means having a world view influenced first last and in between by the Gospels, which show us what Jesus actually taught. Far too many today have allowed their political and economic views to influence their theology. It should be the other way around. Our world systems are about money and power. Christ is not. Think deeply about this before you respond. 

Which brings me back around to the beginning, and the fourth heartbreak. Concerning social media posts, do your due diligence. I don’t care what side you’re on stop spreading lies and half truths. This is not the way of Christ either. You, me, none of us posts in a vacuum. Our words have power and influence. It seems to me far too few of us stop to consider the effect words have. Remember, once the word is released it will, to paraphrase Isiah, not return until it has accomplished its purpose. A purpose which is not always intended.

Finally, a brief word about death. It hurts those left behind. I know this. So do you. But remember-Jesus was dead on Friday but alive on Sunday. To quote some radio preacher whose name I have I long forgotten- “Friday may be here but Sunday’s coming”. Let be so.