How do we deal with the hard realities of our world? Do we pretend that everything is o.k. and drown ourselves in pleasures like basketball or the Super Bowl? Do we over indulge in food and drink? We do go to great lengths to escape hard reality. We do accept easy answers to hard questions and quick solutions to big problems. We do pretend that some big problems are not real and shut our eyes to the fact that a few people have the power to blow us all into non being.
When we have tried all the little tricks to help us cope, where do we turn? Hear the words of verse five of “How Firm a Foundation,” “The soul that on Jesus still leans for repose I will not, I will not desert to its foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake I’ll never no never, no never forsake.” Get your hands on a United Methodist Hymnal and read all the verses with their words of assurance. In verse four, we read “my grace all sufficient will be thy supply.” These are not words to hide from the truth about the mess we are in; they are words about an ultimate victory for truth and the Kingdom of God. The picture of Jesus hanging on the cross does not present a picture of victory. However, we know that he is the victor, not Roman power or Hebrew Religious authority. In a way, he is still hanging on the cross seeming to be ignored by the power of money, success, or political power. He just looks irrelevant hanging there. He has nothing to say to the real world. So it seems, but somewhere in the world, a cup of cold water is given in his name. Somewhere, someone is speaking up on behalf of helpless people who are being mistreated. Somewhere, doctors are risking their own lives to save the lives of children. Somewhere, people are heard singing “We shall Overcome.” We must be careful here. Jesus is not the Incredible Hulk who, when he gets mad, becomes a strongman who throws things and people around. Jesus is Jesus and stands behind his teachings. His power is the power of love and his Gospel is peace. It is a mistake to try to make Jesus into our image and use him as a weapon against our enemies. He is the “Word made Flesh.” He is the law lived out…..Love God with all your being and all your neighbors as you love yourself. What do we do in this hard time? WE rise up and follow Jesus. One closing thought, you cannot follow Jesus and exclude anyone.
Talmage Boyd Skinner
Talmage Skinner is a United Methodist minister (retired) who attends the 11:00 a.m. worship service. His meditations based on hymns and other sacred music will appear periodically.