Those damn mysterious End Times.
These chapters are haunting.
They speak of a coming judgment, a doom really. A winnowing, a separating. In these depictions, there are no binaries. There are those who are chosen and those who are not. The chosen enter eternal rest, the others, eternal fire. There is no in between.
Is this a real thing? Is it metaphorical? Is this really how the mind of God works? How He sees people?
This is unsettling. I want to see the good in all people, find a way to be as inclusive as possible. Yet when I read this account of the end times, I almost feel the opposite attitude. Take as few as possible into eternal life; or at least, make it really difficult, put stringent requirements that must be me, so stringent that only a few will be able to endure the trouble it takes to get there.
Why is this how God works?
Christ, is this you?
If I’m to follow You and be more like you…what do passages like this mean for me?
For the first time I can remember, reading the Gospel is disturbing.
I’ve grown up with this story; the characters and truths are embedded in my psyche. I have loved and studied and referenced and drawn comfort from these stories, these verses, these red letters.
This time around, the red letters say different things. Frightening things. Disturbing things.
My anti-binary sensibilities see a very distinct binary between those chosen and those not.
My self-advocating, self-care promoting clinical self sees a calling to give, to sacrifice, to abandon my own well-being. For the sake of a cause. For the sake of another. For the sake of the Christ.
In this chapter, Jesus predicts the betrayal of his disciples, that moment when they become afraid and leave him. They deny his name and their relationship to him because they are afraid.
This makes me think of when Jesus says, “He who endures to the end will be saved.”
And another place where He says He will honor before the Father those who stand for him, but will deny those who deny him.
And I’m thinking of the martyrs.
And Cassie Bernal.
And Jim Elliot.
And the missionaries.
The people who chose death rather than to verbally compromise or second guess their faiths.
This is disturbing to me. I used to think I would be one of those brave ones who would never deny Christ. Now though, my thoughts are different. I think…what good am I if I’m dead? Is it more important to pay lip service to the Lord, or to be around to serve my family?
Dying rather than compromising just doesn’t make good sense.
I don’t think this argument comes out of fear; I don’t want to be afraid. I want to be brave enough to do what is asked of me.
I am disturbed at the course of my own thoughts. I favor the logical and sensible, whereas once I favored the radical and the spiritual.
Oh god, have I become my mother after all?
If I’m to be like Christ, and follow Him more closely, I see that I must rely on Him more than my logical intellect.
This is disturbing.
If I’m to align my life to that to which He has called me, I see that there is a great price. Grace may be free, but it costs everything. I don’t believe that I get to sustainably hold on to anything. All is transient and unpredictable.
This is disturbing.
Christ my rock, my only hope, my only center.
Him alone I can trust.
Invisible whispering God.
My troubled soul.