Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On the Road to Emmaus

In the Wizard of Oz, the dramatic tension breaks when the curtain is pulled back by Toto, revealing a rather ordinary old geezer behind all the pyrotechnics and bluster. The shivering dread of the Wizard melted, and after some explanations, turned into familiar friendship-- no more curtain, no more distance.

I fear too many Christians have a Wizard of Oz relationship with Christ. He's not a real figure to them; only a scary voice that sounds strangely like John Hagee, infused with ultimate cosmic power and somehow projecting from a lifeless symbol screwed to a cross and hanging on a wall. But what about that guy walking on the road to Emmaus with a couple of disciples, or that fella making breakfast for his buddies after a morning of fishing? What about the reality of the old hymn:

And He walks with me,
And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.

We presume a lot in the American church. We go to altars with tears and foreboding, confess all that's not right with us (at least in summary form), invite Jesus into our hearts (?), and then press cruise control and go on with life, eternal life insurance now safely in hand. I don't know how we convince ourselves that all this works, when the first time God gets a little too close and a little too real, we're scared witless and want to run away. Let revival break out, Ichabod be replaced by Ebenezer, and those who worship brass saviors on sticks will howl the loudest about emotionalism and excess.

We have a real God, not a fake wizard. He was dead, but is no longer. Although we remember him until he comes again, he is not relegated to live only in our memories. We ought to be walking with him and talking with him now. As excited as the first disciples were to see him alive again, to know that the passion wasn't the end, but only the beginning, so too we ought to be excited, enthused, and passionate about walking with and knowing intimately a living Savior. Does knowing Jesus, the King of Glory thrill your heart and capture your imagination? If not, personal revival is needed and, thankfully, can be found somewhere along the road to Emmaus.

7 comments:

  1. "Depart I know ye not."
    "And so because ye are neither hot or cold."
    "because thou hast left thy first love."
    "...he is cast forth as a branch and is withered...and they are burned."
    I fear, too, we "presume a lot in the American church." My concern is, "how safely is this life insurance in hand?"

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  2. Painting with a wide brush, I would have to say that the ease of life in America has a great deal to do with the complancy of our faith.
    It seems in communities where the hope of better things to come causes individuals to hope for the life that is promised, faith flurishes.
    In America the slogan "Life can't get much better than this" Is sadly fostering the demise of of the individual to feel like they need anything other than what they have.

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  3. Amerikan,
    In Jesus' words about false prophets (Matthew 7:15-27), I think we can see if we're willing, that there is no insurance policy except to have an active relationship Christ. Simply put, his friends get in, and those that are not don't. I sure don't see this Willy Wonka, buy a magic ticket, Christianity preached in America.

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  4. Larry,
    You are so right! I call it the fat, dumb and happy syndrome. It clogs the spiritual arteries, and enervates faith in Christ.

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  5. I'm not a hell, fire and brimstone preacher but so much in the church, today, leans towards being visitor friendly with a whitewashed Gospel. Because we don't want to ruffle any feathers, upset anyone or be accused of being judgmental..."That's not a loving Gospel." We want everyone to come back with their $$..forget about their soul's condition.

    We have a carefree, milktoast church because we have preachers who cower behind the pulpit. Or worse, are caught in sin while standing in the pulpit. Where are the Charles Spurgeons, the Jonathan Edwards, the William Booths of today? Where are the men and women who dare preach what I call, "eternity's preaching?"
    Just like Matthew 7, so is Matthew 25 a part of the Gospel.

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  6. I wish I could take the credit for saying this:

    "People ask me about going to Israel and say, 'Don't you want to walk where Jesus walked?' And I always think, I'm walking where Jesus is walking right now." T.L. Osborne

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