Monday, March 16, 2015
Letter to Crowd
Lent Letter to the Crowd
“Now at the Passover Feast, the governor was accustomed to
release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted.
They said, ‘Barabbas.’
Pilate asked, ‘What about Jesus who is called Christ?’
They shouted, ‘Let Him be crucified!’”
I’m an avid sports fan; and I’ve seen many collapses of Biblical proportions over the years.
I’ll never forget the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies. In first place since opening day and up by 6 ½ games with 12 to play, they went into the tank and finished second to the St. Louis Cardinals who went on to win the World Series over the New York Yankees in seven games.
If the Phillies blowing it so the Cardinals could knock off my beloved Yankees wasn’t bad, I thought I’d lose my mind when the Boston Red Sox became the first team in MLB to lose the first three games of the AL Championship Series and then win the next four over the Yankees in 2004.
That collapse may have only been rivaled by Greg Norman folding to Nick Faldo on April 14, 1996 in the Masters after beginning that last round with a six stroke lead.
I’m not even going to mention the unthinkable collapse of the Packers to the Seahawks in the NFC title game in 2015. Paraphrasing Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “How can we lose a game, let me count the ways!”
Truly, your collapse of affection and affirmation if not allegiance when it came to Jesus ranks right down there with the worst of them.
You were hootin’ and hollerin’ and singin’ your hosannas for Jesus just a few days before you totally dissed, distanced, disowned, and dropped Him from your lives.
You exchanged His life so devoted to God on your behalf for a notorious criminal and let the state pull the trigger for your corrupt clergy.
Maybe you just expected Him to shatter and smash the Romans; and because He didn’t, you disbanded your fan club.
Maybe you were like so many of today's so-called believers who are so willing to adore and idolize everybody but the real thing that you acted like a crowd or mob or hear or mindless drones so easily seduced away from any show of support when the rubber is the road.
While I may be wrong, that’s what I think.
I’ve lived long enough to know people can be really fickle with their affections, affirmations, and allegiances; especially when they don’t get what they want when they want it.
Crowds will turn on the objects of their idolatries quicker than George Steinbrenner changed managers; or as somebody said about crowds, mobs, herds, and mindless drones, “They’d be happy with a religion that would validate them as chosen, extra special, and better than everybody else. They want religion that makes them feel good about themselves whether true or false. They want to be comfortable with who they are more than challenged to be something better.”
That’s why icon Barbara Streisand was right: “Americans love to build up people so they can tear them down.”
Today’s hero is tomorrow’s goat.
That’s because you are so easily swayed by the moment than eternal context of things.
You live for today because you have no clue not to mention trust about what happens after all tomorrows are exhausted.
That’s why you’re called sheep.
You get into trouble without being led by the Good Shepherd.
You have no mind of your own and can be easily seduced then led into peril by bad shepherds.
Maybe that Gruber guy was right who said it’s easy to trick Americans; because, collectively, they are stupid.
Indeed, I've seen Democrats and Republicans and union members and so-called believers of every persuasion who follow whoever's in charge without considering what's really right and really wrong according to Jesus by the book.
I’ve reached a very sad conclusion.
Dyed-in-the-wool Democrats and Republicans and union members and religionists without exception would vote for Satan itself if it were their favorite idolatry’s nomination.
So I’m not surprised at how quickly your adoration for Jesus turned into damnation.
I’m not surprised at how America and its three branches of government have dropped Jesus by the book from any of its equations for life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
I’m not surprised at how American churches have turned their backs on Jesus by the book in favor of idols enabling their navel-gazing.
When you don’t get what you want or you’re challenged to be better, I’ve seen how you turn your backs on teachers, politicians, pastors, churches, and former objects of your fickle fondness.
That’s prompted me to say soberly, “If I were to die on a Sunday after services, there’d be ham and cole slaw in Fellowship Hall on Wednesday and then people lining up on the following Sunday to be on the Pastor Search Committee so they could get the kinda pastor that they’d really like; you know, as Dylan sang, ‘an errand boy for wandering desires.’”
So it wasn’t surprising how quickly you helped kill Jesus.
That’s why I’ve never trusted you; and I don’t need to trust you.
I’ve got Him.
He is all I need.
He is all anyone needs.
As David sang, “God alone is my salvation! God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I shall not be shaken. I shall not be moved.”
If you think I’ve been hard on you, it’s because I’ve often been a part of you.
I’ve often gone with your flow.
I’ve often just been a reflection of you.
I’ve often forgotten or at least acted like I’ve forgotten that He will separate the sheep from the goats in the end.
I’ve often forgotten or at least acted like I’ve forgotten Obadiah’s warning with striking symbolism for American Christians who have been so blessed for so long and so increasingly and shamelessly disrespectful so recently: “’The pride of your heart has deceived you…Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down,’ declares the Lord.”
I’ve often forgotten or at least acted like I’ve forgotten His promise through Paul, “Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord!”
I’m hoping you and me and the rest of the crowd, mob, herd, and other mindless drones catch on before it’s too late.
I’m hoping you and me and the rest of the crowd don’t collapse when it comes to the final score.
If it means leaving the crowd for the remnant, the minority in America and around the world who still esteem and embrace Him by the book, so be it.
I’m with Paul who left the crowd for Christ so long ago, “I consider anything that I suffer now not worth comparing to the graces to be mine in the end.”
It’s a good thing that He’s more merciful and forgiving than we are; because if it weren’t for Him, heaven would not be crowded.
Part of the Family
Blessings and Love!
Revised Version of Star!