Monday, November 28, 2005

juxtaposition

my pastor shannon preached an incredibly stirring and convicting sermon yesterday. it might have been heavier fare than some folks might have been expecting on the first sunday of advent, but i thought he was right on the money. his text was isaiah 42:1-4, where God's chosen servant is described as a bringer of "justice to the nations"--yet "a bruised reed he will not break"--a prophetic word about the loving compassion that would characterize Jesus' justice-bringing on the earth.

the bulk of his sermon was spent identifying the ways in which our lives of affluence do not reflect God's concern for justice--for we eat our fill and go the mall, and forget about the rest of the world: Darfur, Pakistan, India, Iraq. The juxtaposition of our wealth with Christ's poverty, our apathy with Christ's passion, our callousness with Christ's compassion was piercing, to say the least.

i was inspired and convicted, but i am not so sure about the people sitting behind me that morning. the first words i heard one of them speak as i stood up were, "so, how are your decorations changing this year?"

juxtaposition, indeed.

3 comments:

thecuckoo said...

In this op-ed piece, the writer says "Matthew quotes Jesus as saying that 'it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,' but that's never been interpreted so strictly that it rules out getting your kid the Sony PSP that he or she has been dreaming about."

People shop for a lot of reasons. I'm not sure what the solution is, really.

nicapam said...

"...but that's never been interpreted so strictly that it rules out getting your kid the Sony PSP that he or she has been dreaming about."

Maybe it should. I think a lot (not all) of kids dream about stuff like that because they have been conditioned by the media, their parents, or their friends to think they need it.

But I don't think shopping is bad. I just think excess is bad. I guess everyone has a different standard of excess though.

As far as the solution--there may not be one. But if I truly love my neighbor, how can I not let my spending be tempered by my awareness that there are millions of people without clean water or food to eat?

anya said...

I'm all about living simply so others can simply live. But I had to comment on "a bruised reed he will not break." Or more specifically, the following portion of the verse, "a smoldering wick he will not snuff out." I've got this candle on my coffee table, and every time I blow it out the wick smolders and smolders until I snuff it out. It makes me feel so un-Christlike :).