(Part two of "The Minister's Sugar Cubes"- Jan. 2011)
The minister took both hands & ran his fingers through his short white hair. He loosened his tie & slid the loop up over his head. The tie fell to the floor. He took off his jacket & threw it onto an empty chair in front of him. Perspiration pooled on the skin beneath his shirt.
"Repent", he said queitly. "Repent of your "knowing", your certainty, your security. The Kingdom of God is near. Will your wisdom save you? "
He lowered his head.
"Repent of your hatred for one another, your judgment, your pride. Will the currency of common righteousness save us? Its absolutely worthless. Have you no fear of God? Wake up! We are the poor ones. We are the wretched & naked & blind. We are the ones unwilling to share the good news of His peace with each other, let alone those we ostracize."
He moved through the congregation, looking as many in the eye as would meet his gaze.
"We go barefoot, blistered & bitter. We offer stale water from the well of our own self righteousness. We hold out dirty cups all day long & wonder why no one will drink. Why be martyrs for one another when we already have a Saviour? Who do we think we are?!"
He began gesticulating with his hands & grew louder as he made his way to the front. The congregation sat dumbstruck.
"Quit fighting each other! Don't waste your time waging war against flesh & blood... Your neighbor isn't the enemy. And even if he were, Jesus told us, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful! Don't judge... don't condemn... forgive, and you will be forgiven! Give, and it will be given to you"! He also told us, " I came into the world as a light, so no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears my words but doesn't keep them, I don't judge that person. For I didn't come to judge the world, but to save the world. "
The minister turned his back on the congregation & got down on his knees.
"Repent of your knowing."
Most people got up & left, but some lingered.
Slowly, one by one, the few who remained began to crowd in around him.
Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:36-38, John 12:46-48