Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jesus - The Stolen Door

The Ruins of Rievaulx Abbey - a parable for the current state of the Church.

I've been there. It's an amazing, inspiring ruin.

It's in Yorkshire, England, not far from York Minster.

Even now echoes of its former glory can still be sensed.

It's tragic story is reflected in church and society, in political and philosophical disputes, in church membership decline and in continued spiritual hunger.

The covering of God has been removed and the foundations are uninspected.
The 12th century roof is long gone; God's glory appears to have departed.

Its situation and condition point toward the state of spiritual schizophrenia in which the Christian Churches of our day find themselves.

Is the church Catholic or Protestant, or both? Is it liberal or conservative, or both? Or neither. Do pastors teach the truth faithfully and in good conscience, according to accepted traditions? Does it matter?

A vision: 'The abbot comes with a giant door, five full inches thick,
without hinges or handles or locks,
made from one great piece of wood from a very old tree. 
He places it in the entry frame.
But in the middle of the night someone comes and steals it away.
A woman is in the house when the demons come,
and without the door she has no protection.
She hides.

When the abbot wakes up he senses the demons are out to consume him.
They throw a sacrifice into the oven and leave the good master to simmer and then serve dinner.'

God's people, through the centuries, have been and remain at risk because the boundaries have been moved and removed.

Clergy and others play politics, virtually oblivious and practically careless, while people's souls hang in the balance. Synod representatives pretend to have more power and authority than those they represent. They forget that the church is not a democracy. A majority vote is insufficient when total unity is demanded for major decisions.

The Reformation is forgotten. The Via Media has been abandoned. False gospels are promoted. Education is little more than mere propaganda. Bishops routinely visit parishes but ignore their people. Unity and doctrine are equally forsaken. Appointed leaders tell us that relevance, for now, needs to trump Salvation.

Believers are being sacrificed to the felt needs of people in power, thrown, like Daniel's friends, into the fiery furnaces tended by the rulers of our day. Just for preaching, praying or wearing a cross!

The celebration of Jesus' birth goes on as usual while the Jesus of Judgement is hushed up.

Jesus says, "I am the gate... Come to me...Do you want to be made whole?"
He also warns, "What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don't enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering."

O Christian, watch and pray! Be wary of wolves in sheep's clothing.
The heretics have taken leadership in the Church. In many places Jesus is no longer welcome. He's been replaced by a replica, a look-alike. Take note and prepare.

Jesus died. He is risen. He will come again.
Are you ready?

Come, Day of God, Come!
Are children cared for by lost youths of yesteryear,
weakened, humbled souls,
pared down by two thousand years of adultedness,
struggling ones, buried under wintry traditions,
serving with mocking tolerance,
while little ones wander in avenues of daily blooming disaster,
suffering and wondering, why?
Reminders are given by bookish ones from city lanes and country homes,
lessons of injuries and martyrdoms,
pointing the way ahead to those who would see.


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