Heeerrreeesss Jesus! A Perfectly Good Halloween Story
We provide a recap of the Sunday sermon to encourage you in the faith each week but it's not the same thing as being here.
Salvation is a horror story.
It begins with a violent death, a mysterious disappearance of the body, and now the deceased goes around knocking on the door of hearts asking to come in...
to destroy lives!
To completely disturb what was once known as normal.
It causes you to run away, hide, scream, fight back, act out, retaliate, and even become violent in response.
But when the resurrected Son of Man knocks at the door, like any good horror movie, we know that death is about to occur.
And this makes for the Happiest Halloween of them all.
Words to Describe Love
Our words to describe love are cozy, comfortable, warm, affection.
They do not match up with the words of Brennan Manning who describes the love of God as “furious, vehement, and aching."
GK Chesterton speaks of this "furious love of God” that has a enormous vitality and strength and that seeks union with us.
Rich Mullins describes the love of God as a “reckless, raging fury."
These words bring up the imagery of ax murderers and redrum…which, ironically enough, my spell check keeps trying to change to redeem.
The man at the door has a serious longing - one that has raged for millennia.
It started in a garden with a betrayal. It made it way to a crucifixion murder. It leads toward an apocalyptic destruction.
The longing is love.
Told you. Love is scary. Because in love, everything changes.
The Gospel is About Love, Right? Then Why is it so scary?
Whether we care to admit it or not, love is always a scary proposition.
Love demands giving and receiving and at least one of those is challenge for most people.
People may not mind that Jesus loves them - but the offense comes in when it is time to love him back.
Love is also transformative. People don’t like change.
We can tolerate change when it is around us - our jobs, culture, environment.
We flat out rebel against the change that happens in us.
When we are loved, the calluses of the soul begin to soften. Those calluses were our defenses against the pain of living. These calluses have been growing thick since the first emotional hurts pierced our hearts as youngsters.
These hurts are what cause us to keep the doors locked.
And when the un-dead, destroyer of worlds comes knocking and asks to come in, we hesitate to unlock that door.
But like any good horror movie, sometimes he just kicks the door in.
The Need for Fear and Trembling
Yes, I understand that I am stretching the original Greek here a bit, but I’m also comparing Jesus to an ax murderer. Give me a little leeway for Halloween, please.
Redemption, Salvation, and Sanctification are not always accompanied by warmth, coziness, and comfort.
As if often the case in most horror movies it is the shear terror of the situation that brings breakthrough for those who are being attacked. The hero or heroine of the movie - the one that survives goes through many transformations and finds a hidden truth about themselves during the course of the movie.
It took fear and trembling to bring it out of them. It was being in a perceived state of weakness that transformed in to their strength.
Jesus attacks the sin in our lives and it scares us. It terrifies us.
He doesn’t let us keep secrets. He makes us confess and repent. He terrorizes the sin tucked away in our souls so that it might be vanquished and the truth about ourselves will be revealed.
The truth about ourselves is often times the thing we run away from the most.
The Truth about Us.
We are loved beyond our calluses.
The shields we put in place to protect us are not they healthy places - they are the wounds.
We shield the places that hurt.
Our sins, our drugs of choice, our actions are meant to re-route potential threats away from the places that need healing most. But we are not smart enough to differentiate between that which causes pain and that which brings healing.
We re-route all traffic away from those open wounds. We build fortresses to protect that which is killing us. It keeps others out but it also keeps the pain locked in. We hide behind the locked door.
And the infected wound seeps poison into the rest of who we are and how we operate.
20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years of wall building and the pain persists.
For this reason, we long for love but won’t allow ourselves to have it - love is a risk.
If only we had an ax murderer to tear down our door.
Sometimes Jesus knocks and politely asks to come in. Sometimes he takes out his ax and gets to work.
He demolishes the illusions of sin and the fake barriers that we thought would protect us.
With fury he sweeps out the decaying tombs our souls and breathes life and healing into the places that we were comfortable with as they rotted away.
He stops at nothing to terrorize the pain until it flees - never to return.
And it is here we are forced to make a choice.- run away, rebel, fight against the ax murder.
or surrender and work with him to destroy the pain that eats away our lives.