Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What Code?

There has been a lot of publicity the past couple weeks about the new movie "The Da Vinci Code." I read the book. It was pretty good. But many Christians around the country are offended by the book, apparently threatened by some of its ideas regarding Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and the Holy Grail. Sure this work of fiction is a bit far fetched because it insists that truth about Jesus has been hidden and only a select few know the truth but my faith is not threatened by good fiction story. Jesus teaches that "I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. (John 12:46)" The truth about Jesus is not hidden in the shadows or encoded... Instead it is in the open, light shines upon it, and all are able to know his wonderful gospel.

Be wary of anyone who claims to have special, unique, or privileged knowledge about God. Through God's Word and his Sacraments Jesus comes to us in ways we can hear, see, touch, taste, and smell. He is real. He is in the open. Jesus is light. Bask in the light of Christ and opening embrace the truth we find in him.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Love is Trump

I was playing euchre this afternoon with some friends. Euchre is a fun, fairly simple, and often frustrating game. In the four player version you and your partner compete with another pair to take the majority of "tricks" in a hand. You take tricks by playing the highest card. So aces are beautiful. In each hand there is always a suit that is "trump." If trump is played, the highest trump takes the hand. Then to make it all the more complicated the most powerful cards are the Jack of trump (the right bower) and the Jack of the other suit of the same color is the next most valuable card (the left bower).

Where euchre becomes frustrating is when you are dealt beautiful cards, lets say the Jack of spades, Jack of clubs, Ace of spades, King of spades, and the Queen of spades. It's a perfect hand. It's an unbeatable hand. The problem is however, hearts was called up for trump. A perfect hand suddenly becomes a loser and your opponent ends up with four points because she took all the tricks alone.

As Christians we have a lot of beautiful cards in our hands, particularly if we live our faith every day. Worshiping on Sunday is an Ace. Reading the Bible is a Jack of Spades. Praying daily is the Jack of clubs. We feel pretty good with the hand we got. We are living our faith and can easily sit back and relax.

The thing is Jesus has called love up as trump. The Scriptures teach us that there are many ways God has called us to live our faith. I have listed seven of those priorities on the left column of this blog. But of all those priorities listed only love is trump. We can do everything God expects of us, but if we have no love, we are holding a losing hand. But when we live our faith with love as a priority we win every single time. When we win in our faith we bear fruit for the Lord.

"If I speak in human or angelic tongues, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

In the game of life love is trump. We are saved by the grace of God through the blood of Christ, but as we journey through life as a disciples who believe in what Christ has done for us we first and foremost must make love our number one priority. Everything we do in faith for Jesus must done through the lens of love.