The Gospel is the antithesis of the US Government. The US Constitution, which disallows an income tax ( and yet here we have one, and an IRS that takes 25%+ of your income off the top, penalizes you if you don’t have health insurance, forces the poor to buy something they can’t afford, and persecutes those who stand for right, good, and reform).
The Gospel of Jesus on the other hand condemns sin everywhere for all time, and imposes an incurable fine.
And in the next breath, rakes it’s hand across the table, forever wiping it all clean, flinging it into the abyss. Forgiving it all, for whomever will believe.
The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Darn, Jesus always knew how to split the horns of the dilemma, and to set things right. The poor in spirit, the weak, the humble, sinners… All will get in while Pharisees and TV Preachers stand amazed, then gnash their teeth in bitterness.
That is a hard thing to grasp, for a finite human being.
Whenever I struggle with Gods grace, I’ll see something simple and elegant, and I’m reminded of how simple, how clean, it all is.
The flight of a hummingbird in search of nectar, the rhythmic, punctuated path of a squirrel foraging for nuts, the song of birds early in the morning…
“For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ “
When I was younger I often spent a lot of time hiking, reading and praying in the forest, at the beach, etc.
It bothered my Grandmother at first, that I didn’t find communion with God near as much in the church as I did in His creation.
But later she came to understand. One day she asked me, ” You see and hear God all around you, in the things He has made, don’t you? ”
Yes, that was it exactly. It was hard for me to see God in a freshly starched shirt, but not in the flight of a Red-winged Blackbird. I hear His voice in the thunder of the waves, the music of the brook, the haunting cry of the Owl.
Oh, I heard the eternal truths proclaimed in the Gospel, The Psalms, loud and clear. And some of the rituals speak to me still.
Communion touches me deeply. Somehow, time stands still, heaven is open, and I hear Jesus words at the last supper. In the breaking of the bread, and the sharing of the cup, I feel touched, renewed.
I can’t explain it really.
“He was the Word that spake it; He took the bread and brake it; And what that Word did make it; I do believe and take it” -John Donne
John Donne said it best. For all the ways we’d like to imprison Jesus’ institution of the cup and bread, unwind and dissect it, it remains a divine mystery.