Jesus, it seems, had mixed feelings towards the world. He loved the world, laid down his life for it, and challenged us to love the world, even as he criticized it harshly and stated clearly that it was opposed to him.
For a moment during the second day of our mission trip to Moore, Oklahoma it felt like we were in the novel, Holes, by Louis Sachar, in which the protagonists, Stanley Yelnats and Zero, are forced to dig holes at camp in order to build “character.”
“Lord, have mercy!” It’s an expression I’ve heard occasionally, used as a mild oath. And yes — mild though it may be, it’s a sin against the Second Commandment about taking the name of the Lord in vain. But as a kid, I heard it from adults all the time, and didn’t think anything of it.
The poet, Rumi, submits that we live with a deep secret that sometimes we know, and then not.
That can be very helpful in understanding our faith. One of the reasons why we struggle with faith is that God's presence inside us and in our world is rarely dramatic, overwhelming, sensational, something impossible to ignore.
“What do you think was the bravest action ever?” my husband asked at breakfast last Sunday. “I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe the first rodeo clown who ever voluntarily jumped in a barrel and let a Brahma bull head-butt him across the arena?” I thought my guess was brilliant, but it wasn’t as simple as Larry’s conjecture.