In his short homily this morning the priest referred to Your thinking and preaching to the elders of Israel as “outside the box,” and Your message as “mind-bending.” I got to thinking about these two phrases in regards to Your approach to teaching. Because of the human proclivity for comfort and routine, they seemed quite apropos then as well as now – because the “elders” now are not that much different from then.
Boxed-in mindsets are barriers against the workings of the Spirit. Yet, there comes into play here the whole idea behind our relationship withelders of our time (who might be characterized as “the church”} and our relationship with You. It’s quite true that I often consider andcompare the “inside-the-box” thinking of the Jewish elders of Your time with the church hierarchy of our time. At both ends there are sincere, devout, spiritual people whose lives are about growing in love and understanding of God. But it is also true that at both ends we can find the hypocrites who, under the guise of holiness, seek selfish ends and use the comfort of time-worn rules, regulations, and traditions to accomplish them.
I privately entertain many thoughts and questions about spirituality and the growth of our relationship with God; but one of the most salient would be: What would Your thinking, Your teaching, Your message be if You were physically here now in our times? I can only imagine the answer. What I imagine involves confrontation with the “elders” of our day.The cultivation of our relationship with God is not synonymous with our relationship to the church. Our relationship to the church is a factor, but it is parallel or, in some cases, even tangential to our relationship with God. The “box” outside of which You may have been teaching and preaching was the Jewish “church” of Your time. If You were physically here now it would be the church of our time.