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Sunday Sermon. Welcome to the Battlefield.
A Church built upon a pyramid is symbolic of conflict.
Let us start out with a prayer.
Probably one of the shortest prayers ever. Probably one of the most important. However we view life we should be thankful to be a part thereof. Each day there is some reason to give thanks without limit. We could add to the prayer, persons, places and things that we a thankful for and we could direct it to something that we are thanking. But let us just leave it be.
Let us direct out thoughts to Jesus. We can leave his deity/divine status for another occasion. For most of us recognize that Jesus walked the earth and is not some great conspiracy theory.
And for now let us not even look to his message. Let us search our minds of the history that we understand and ask our selves, where did Jesus keep returning to? Well we know he liked mountain tops and seashores. And we know he liked to retreat into quiet places. And we should know that these are very important to the other place he continued to return to time and time again.
For me, I find refuge in any kind of "house of worship" and that includes very much so the great nature of our earth. Personally I like synagogues, and temples and churches and mosques and even Kivas. I like to drop in on the cool little places in airports and hospitals that are set aside for all kinds of religions. I find peace in these places and have never felt like I could not worship my God in any of them.
But our friend Jesus did not go to the synagogues for this purpose. He went there to do Battle.
Should we deny conflict at the cost of truth?
Hardened legalistic hearts
Yes Jesus prayed there and yes He taught there. But mainly what He did there was challenge the hardened hearts of the religious leaders of the day. He challenged their near caste system and He challenged the notion of putting a law above love.
He healed on the Sabbath in one such place and He attacked with vengeance the money changers outside another. He withstood being questioned by those who could have him killed for wrong answers and He spoke with authority that they had never seen before.
He corrected their application of scripture and He answered their hypotheticals meant to trap with direct and revolutionary fervor.
And ultimately He forgave sins in such places which lead to the only possible claim they could make against Him in order to crucify Him.
Do you mock those that go to war in the fields of the soul?
Does conflict make you sick not matter the cause?
Why did a man who preached love and tolerance do this?
We see men and women nowadays that lead wonderful peaceful lives of loving and caring go to battle in such places. Almost like a moth drawn to a flame. Why did Jesus who was the epitome of love do such a thing.
There is no nutshell answer. But we can learn from such conduct.
Please do not confuse this with the physically violent acts of war. Please do not confuse with the missionary types that go door to door or overseas to do battle with the materialism and lack of faith.
This is the intentional act of engaging those who despise you for what you are. It is not for the faint of heart and it is most assuredly not for a young disciple with little experience. It is not restricted to a given religion or faith. And it is not just about belief or faith. It is about stemming the tide against spiritualism and a way of life that is not strictly empiricism and hedonism. The battles often seem innocuous and inconsequential and filled with rancor and personal attacks. Well I have to tell you that it is personal and should be. That should be a major point in fact. And the little seemingly unimportant skirmishes are designed to prevent major conflagration and conflict without resolution.
It is in these small one on one fights to the finish that understanding is gained. Communication established and open lines of familiarity and same language are founded.
We so often go about our business and live and let live that what we are actually doing is creating barriers between ourselves, because in our day to day we never get to the heart of the matter of what really matters.
Is there peace in this church or a commitment to truth?
Let us learn to go where we are needed not just where we are wanted.
I cannot stand on a street corner and convert people to my faith. I just cannot get the hang of quoting some type of scripture and proclaiming that my interpretation is right and yours would be blasphemy if different. God did not give me such gifts. But since I can remember and before I understood I went to battle for my beliefs. A couple of times I have asked that this mantle be taken from me as I just love my love and peace.
So if, for you this is not a calling, then so be it. I would merely suggest that not everybody is meant to play soccer, in fact most are not. But everybody can be a soccer fan. And we can all take away from that field of battle some important lessons of the human condition and our relationship to our God.
I read some of that old testament stuff, the mayhem is horrendous. The waste of vengeance is palpable and shocking. But I take away from that certain helpful truths and understanding. So how much is it to ask that people nowadays do not just shun those that confront and criticize how the battle is fought but pay attention and learn from these confrontations that here are words yet in Somalia or the Sudan are lives at stake.
Let us hash out these differences here and hope that a greater understanding arises that may someday prevent those who would use faith in vane as a call to violence.
Start a new page in your life.
We must all strive to understand conflict
© 2014 Eric Dierker