Friday, August 18, 2017

What The World Needs Now

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don't need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last till the end of time.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don't need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh listen, lord, if you want to know.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some, oh, but just for everyone.

[Jackie DeShannon]

     Everyone has heard that old song, I’m sure. It was a paean to a particular kind of love, but if freed of the romantic gloss, its proposition still holds true.

     Yesterday I watched The Case For Christ for the second time. I’ve been eager to do so ever since I saw it in the theater. That second viewing proved as compelling as the first one, and considerably more illuminating.

     The core of the movie is, of course, the young Lee Strobel’s campaign to “debunk” the Christian faith by disproving the historical accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. His campaign began with his indignant reaction against his wife Leslie’s embrace of Christianity. It ended when the evidence he had amassed persuaded him of it as well. Throughout the movie his investigative fervor keeps tempo with his anger that Leslie has elected to “cheat on him with Jesus:” a thematic element of staggering significance.

     I didn’t go to see the movie for educational reasons. I’m about as well versed – pardon the choice of words – in the evidentiary basis for Christianity as anyone who’s not a seminary graduate. Being a capable logician and scientist, I’m also aware that an irreproducible phenomenon will always admit of more than one explanation. Therefore the truth of the Biblical accounts of the Resurrection can never be definitively proved. But that’s in the nature of all human knowledge: except for propositions in entirely abstract formal systems (e.g., mathematics), we can have confidence, but never certainty.

     What’s most striking about The Case For Christ is its gentle emphasis on love: God’s love, Man’s attempts to love, and the ways in which they contrast. As archeologist-turned-priest Father Marquez (played by Miguel Perez) says early on, the Sacrifice at Golgotha could have been motivated only by love: the willingness of God incarnate to suffer the worst tortures flesh can bear in a demonstration both of His love for Man and His divine credentials. In contrast, human love is often jealously possessive, sometimes insanely so. It bristles at any sort of competition, often seeking revenge for being “cheated on.” Divine love, obviously, isn’t like that.

     Indeed, the great wonder of love between humans is that that we routinely do succeed in extending it without (much) jealousy: first the love of a child for his parents, then the love of a husband for his wife; then to the love of a parent for his child. It is in that familial process that we find the best temporal parallel to Divine love: the love of the Father for His children.

     Religion can be blamed for many ills. The clerics of the world’s many Christian denominations have gone beyond the teachings of Christ innumerable times, asserting authority in matters on which He never pronounced. Indeed, much of the conflict among the denominations arises from exactly that source. Like politicians, clerics are loath to admit to error and reluctant to surrender usurped authority.

     Christ didn’t ask much of us:

     And, behold, one came and said to him, Good master, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting? Who said to him, Why askest thou me concerning good? One is good, God. But if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He said unto him, Which? And Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [Matthew 19:16-19]

     And Saint Paul, notwithstanding his frequent excursions into Levitical prescriptions and proscriptions Christ never commanded, hit that nail squarely on the head:

     Owe no man any thing, but to love one another. For he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. For: Thou shalt not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal: Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet. And if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law. [Romans 13:8-10]

     What does the world need now? Now that politics has failed, secular philosophizing has proved insufficient, and the ordinary practices of men simply trying to get by appear unequal to our trials? Why, Jesus Christ, of course: Love of Him and the faithful observance of His original preachments, undecorated. How much simpler could it get?

     May God bless and keep you all.


Linda Fox said...

I have no problems with those who want the statues removed working to get that to happen.

I do have problems with mob rule.

The right thing to do is to do what Christ did - rebuke your opponent. Point out their sin. Keep the anger out of the situation. With love, show/teach the where they are wrong.

Not scream at them in hate.

Christian Mountaineer said...

Eph 5:11

Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.

Anonymous said...

Another good one boss. I told my daughter yesterday again. Gods in control, trump, hillary everyone is part of the plan and not to fear.

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