Religious counterculture is a must for our spiritual survival.
A lot of years ago, my brother and I got involved in an old fashioned, ten-year-old fistfight in the back of our car. Our family had bought a sack of McDonald’s hamburgers, and he had been appointed to hold it on the ride home. But he also kept placing his nose over the opened end of it, sniffing the fragrance of the food inside.
That irritated me.
I kept imagining the food getting cold, and worse, my brother being rewarded with a foretaste of those golden fries before anyone else…like myself, of course. One thing led to another, and we wound up in a major scuffle. To this day I don’t remember a thing about finally eating that meal, but I do remember the brouhaha.
Jump for a moment to the land of religion, where folks involve themselves with perpetual issues of social angst, who agonize and bicker with one another over theological positions that Scripture has already settled.
And all while eternal truth and the fellowship it bestows sits in a bag, cooling off.
Smelled? Maybe. Fought over? Certainly. Consumed and enjoyed? For the most part, we can’t even recall. One guy asks if the bag is recycled, and if not, we should no longer patronize the restaurant. Someone else says there’s nothing in the bag at all, and that the smell coming out of it is only psychological. The issue never settles down to meat and potatoes, pickles, ketchup, onions—you know, things actually tasted, savored.
This is the story of the religious marketplace, as we saw in the last few posts. Meanwhile, Jesus steadfastly occupies Himself with the things of God. After he passed the tests of the religious crowd, He administered to them one of His own:
Luke 20:41 “He said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? 42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 43 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ 44 David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”
The ensuing silence was palpable.
His question was a rebuke to their distracted, wayward mindset. But it also demonstrated what filled His holy mind and affections—the mysteries of His own undiminished divinity, the fullness of His pure humanity. As divine He was David’s Lord. As human, David’s son.
One man was engrossed in the biggest hot plate of living Word on the planet—the arrival of God in the flesh, and a New Covenant so big, so audacious, that eternity would never be the same. The issues surrounding His incarnation were the delight of God the Father—the Father’s sending, the initiation of the law’s fulfillment, the tangible evidence of God’s love. Nothing was more strategic for the hopes and dreams of men, the furtherance of the divine purpose.
But these men had become obsessed with taxation, Rome, Caesar, and an independent Israel. Others had sunk into idle speculation and then unbelief toward core Scriptural truths like resurrection. McReligion treats every distraction as golden, every back seat brawl legitimate.
Food itself is indistinct from the packaging and the issues swirling around it.
Yet from heaven’s priority list, the chief point of any conversation is “What do you think of Christ?”
That is, what would you say about Him as the direct result of meditation upon the truth of His Person and interacting with Him—convicted by Him, led by Him, fed by Him, changed by Him, encouraged by Him, corrected by Him, comforted by Him, humbled by Him, or exalted by Him?
In the land of bags and labels, cups, and straws, if you want to be a real rebel, try eating that food.