Thursday, August 13, 2009

Put Your Sword Away!

I'm still very frustrated about the experience a family member encountered recently. It seems that while attending a particular church, the "pastor" (or more appropriate: "pester") made it clear that anyone who read or watched "Harry Potter" was inviting evil into their lives.

Why do some put it upon themselves to make a distinction on what particular brand of fiction/folklore is prohibited among those who seek God and desire to follow Christ? For instance - Halloween is bad; Christmas (celebrated very close to the pagan observation of the winter solstice with lights and greenery) is good. Harry Potter is bad; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (chock-full of magic and fantasy) is good.

Without naming names or particular groups of people who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus, I can’t help but notice that some among us are still wielding swords to force the advancement of the Kingdom.

What follows will be some random thoughts and passages in context to this dilemma that have been insightful and profoundly inspiring to me as I endeavor to follow the teachings of God's Messiah - Jesus. In short, he never told us to take things upon ourselves for apart from him we can do "squat." (Greek double negative οὐ οὐδείς)

John 18
10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)
11Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"

“The Cup” includes “it is finished” - what Jesus uttered as he was dying.

Matthew 16
18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades ("Some people call it 'hell' Mhhmmm") will not overcome it.

John 12
31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

1 John 2
13I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.

John 6
14After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

Galatians 2
14When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

Matthew 21:32
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Matthew 16
11How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

What IS the “leaven of the Pharisees?” - It's sad to conclude that it's in a lot of places today. We bear it and we battle it.

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