Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Church, monsters and the work of Jesus

… but a dreadful change was coming over her. Her body was writhing into curves and knots where she lay, as if cramps, convulsed her. Her mouth was open. But she could not scream: her hands were clutching at her twisted throat. In her wide eyes there was now no malice, only an agony, and gradually all her body and head were drawn up backwards from the floor by an invisible force, so that from the hips she remained rigidly upright and her legs lay stretched straight out behind her upon the ground, as if a serpent in human shape raised itself before him. …

He looked back, wordlessly calling on the Maker and End of all created energies.”
Friedrich Johann Justin Bertuch, the mythical creature dragon, 1806

Charles Williams, The Place of The Lion


Over the last two days I’ve seen links to an article about a man who at first attempted to make himself a woman and has now attempted to make himself a dragon.  First, blogger, Matt Walsh, linked to the article on Twitter with the sarcastic words, “So courageous. So beautiful. So inspiring,” and a link, … But I didn’t catch the sarcasm and followed the link. Sad, scary and horrific. Then I saw it linked to at ChurchandWorld. I didn’t go there again it would still be sad, scary and horrific. Terribly in need of Jesus’ redemptive work since the person, and he is a person, has attempted, in reality, to erase the image of God within himself.

The road before the Church today has become lonely and dark. It is loaded with questions. Not only how do we keep men out of women’s bathrooms, how do we keep monsters away from children’s reality. And the more important question, how do we present the love of Christ to those who, in their own persons, are opening the door to the monsters. Greater still, how do we hold on to faith and integrity while at the same time withstanding the awful darkness of our culture and that for the sake of those who are caught in the culture.

The real enemies here are not so much the LGBTQ community, but governments, corporations and organizations. And of course leading them and urging them on are the powers, the world forces of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12)  Satan in all of his vileness wishes to damage the image of God in humanity. Against this Christians are called to stand.

Jesus Christ, in his life, death and resurrection offers transformations to such broken hurting people. One beautiful story, told by perhaps the greatest story teller of all, C.S. Lewis, is of the boy turned into a dragon, against his wishes, but because he acted somewhat like a dragon. In The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader,” it is Aslan, Lewis’ image of Jesus, who releases Eustace from his dragon captivity.

After attempting to scratch himself out of his dragon skin Eustace finally understands that it is Aslan who must take away the old skin and make him a new boy again. Aslan washes him and dresses him. And this is a clue, it is Jesus, only Jesus, who tears away the fallen-ness of our humanity. It is Jesus who washes us clean and sanctifies us by his grace. It is Jesus who will be with us on this lonely and dark road. Here is our calling and here is salvation for those who are so broken.

For consider your calling brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen the things that are not, so that he may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by his doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

One can see now, in the word of God, the worst sinner can be forgiven, given righteousness and transformation in Jesus. At the same time our calling is secure in the work of Christ. There is no darkness that can out run the graciousness of God for the repentant sinner. Nor is there any enemy who can cancel God’s work in his world or his Church. In these desperate evil days God will use even our weakness to glorify himself.

1 comment:

Andy Vloedman said...

Viola I am encouraged by a recent article about YouVersion. They report that the verse most bookmarked, highlighted and shared by their 200 million users is Romans 12:2. Perhaps as the world becomes darker more people are looking for light and in him finding life.

Thank you for your faithfulness in keeping the light shining.

Andy Vloedman