On the Plains of Moab Blog
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July 26, 2011, 10:44 AM

A Little Later Than Usual

Okay, so I am falling down on the job.  By now, Sunday's sermon is on the shelf collecting dust -- and yet, I still have some stuff that is overflowing the cup.  So, let me come back to that old message.  Christ:  The One & Only.  The first sermon of the new 7-UP series.  What I wanted to say was:  Whatever it is that might be claiming your heart's affections apart from Christ -- don't do it!  Don't go there!  There is no good reason to leave or lapse.  Why?  Because "in these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son[!], whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world[!] He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature[!], and he upholds the universe by the word of his power[!] After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high...[!]"  What else do you need to know?  It certainly can't get any better than that!

But there was another line of reasoning that I used on Sunday, that I fear was far too truncated.  I used an analogy of China's faith-like devotion to communism and the founder of China's current social-political order, Mao Zedong.  At the risk of coming off as a weiguoren (non-Chinese anywhere) -- a term of derision for a westerner who tries to comment on things Chinese he doesn't really understand -- I will try to unpack what I had in mind on Sunday.

You see, before going to China, I did not know that Mao was on public display, Lenin-like.  I found out too, that they have done the same thing with Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.  Very strange!  Here in the United States, and in the west in general -- we don't do this kind of thing with our leaders.  Can you imagine going to Mount Vernon and seeing Washington on ice?  Or Hyde Park and viewing Roosevelt?  No way.  Not in a million years.  We don't do stuff like that.

Now, why?  Why is it different in those countries where communism is predominant?  As I drank in the culture around me when I was in China, it occured to me that there is an inner, spiritual longing in humanity to place their faith in something!  That vacuum must be addressed in some way.  Now, if you take away, or denigrate the existence of God -- that faith must latch onto something else.  The frozen, accessible bodies of past leaders are a good, tangible way to keep the eyes of the faithful fixed on the program.  He lives!  ...Well, sort of.

We do not keep our past leaders on ice.  Our faith need not be directed towards fallible human leaders.  Our leaders, no matter how great -- and we've had many such leaders -- never intended that they be thought of otherwise.  (George Washington, for one, never wanted to be "worshiped" in any shape, form or fashion.)  Perhaps this is a good reason to keep "In God We Trust" stamped boldly on our currency?

Anyway, I thought the message of Hebrews was a great contrast to the "worship" of a human leader or even a human system of government.  The writer to the Hebrews goes to great lengths to keep everyone on board with the program, so to speak.  You serve a living Savior.  He's alive, not dead.  I love the imagery in Hebrews 12 that seeks to close the deal.  The picture is of the saints in heaven cheering us on to the finish line.  "Come on, you can do it!"  "Just a little bit more!"

This next sermon will begin to look at the reasoning behind our encouragement and hope in this One & Only Savior.

More to come!

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