Saturday, April 23, 2016

It's Not A "Belief System"

I was listening to Krista Tippet’s show on the radio tonight and she had as her guest, Craig Minowa, frontman for the band, Cloud Cult.  I was struck by a couple of things in the interview. First off, he referred twice to his mother’s Lutheranism, as her “belief system.” Perhaps he didn't mean to disparage her; in other parts of the interview it sounded like he really loved her.  However, the phrase “belief system” has nothing to do with what happens in church on Sunday.
Let me explain: When God brought Israel out of Egypt it had nothing to do with a belief system. Rather, it was God’s faithfulness that did it, as Hebrews tells us.  It was God alone that had faith, even after forty years in the wilderness the Israelites were “sons in whom there is no faith.”  But what God did then has no comparison to what God has done for Jews and Gentiles in Jesus.  It's on the same lines to be sure, but it was something even greater than God’s faithfulness (although he is always that). This time, God the Father “enfaithed” his son, and we are justified by that “enfaithment” or establishment.  This is the meaning of what it says in Romans 3, that we are justified by the faith of Jesus.  Craig Minowa’s mother doesn't have a “belief system,” rather she's been created in Christ Jesus to do good things that God prepared in advance for her to do.  We are the branches and Lord Jesus is the vine. One more thing, on the program Craig Minowa said that all human beings are “gorgeous.”  He said (to paraphrase) if you could just free people from their shells, everyone would see that everyone is “gorgeous.”  He's  right on that score.  We all are gorgeous.  God said so. He looked at all creation and saw that it was "very beautiful."    But God's beautiful creatures fall into abysmal sin; “all we like sheep have gone astray,” though we are still and always, “very beautiful.”  The beauty, however, makes it all the more terrible that we can do the things that we do, “O how the mighty have fallen.”  God didn't give up on us though, rather, he gives his all, "once for all" sending his only begotten son into the world because he loved murderers, and betrayers, and cowards like us.  He had promised many years before, “I will give you (plural) the faithful pities of David."  This is the poetry of Isaiah but it means that the same faith and love that raised Jesus from the dead and gave him the victory on the cross would be given to us.   Minowa’s Mom and all those who have been placed in communion to “mutually encourage one another” on Sunday morning are there because of the power of faith but it’s not their own faith. Sunday in church is all about grace and where that grace will stop nobody knows, all we know is that the dominoes are falling and nothing and no one can stop the righteousness of God; he makes right what is wrong.