Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Comfortable Sinner

Oh comfortable sinner, with so many woes of life, who do you belong to?

When did you last go hungry, fall ill, face persecution, go naked? When did you last wonder if you could make it to tomorrow?

We are so blanketed by our wealth and our comfort. We have the covers pulled over our eyes, and the world remains veiled to us. We've never struggled, we've never suffered, we've never had to.

Perhaps we've never lived.

Instead, we eat our fill. And then we eat more to find pleasure or comfort.
We get sick, but we get well just as easily. Science and money solves all, and we rarely face death until our age bends us and wears us down at the end of the journey, and takes us into eternal rest.
We have a home. We have a warm place to go in the cold, a cool place to go in the heat, and a bed to sink into at the end of the day.
We have clothes. So many clothes. They express our "style" and our "personality" - we keep up an image, our status and class, and judge others accordingly. The "blue collar" and "white collar" workers. The hippies. The homeless. The middle-class. The upper-class. The professionals.
We have "rights." We need not sort out conflict between ourselves. I will sue you instead. I need not take violence and aggression. I will hit you back.

Our senses have dulled. We trust in nothing but ourselves, though we truly struggle with nothing but ourselves, blaming everyone and everything else for the faults found within our world.

We don't all live like this. We struggle for food in areas of famine. We struggle to survive in areas of conflict. Our children are dying. We are sick and unable to get medicine. We are refugees of conflict, of climate change, of persecution. We struggle. We survive. We know what it is to live and to die.

Thoreau said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. Yet for the wealthy, our desperation comes not from need. It comes from a lack of challenge. We've never had to trust or to have faith in anything bigger than ourselves, and yet, we cannot find within ourselves enough to satisfy the cravings of the heart. We search for it. We search for it in relationships - in family, in friends, in lovers, in sex, in marriage, in raising children. We search for it in food - in sweet comforts and delicacies. We search for it in money - in power and the sense of control it brings. We search for it in success - in defining ourselves by how well we're doing in society. We search for it in power - in asserting our power over others through racism, sexism, violence, ageism, homophobia, and discrimination of all sorts. But we never find it. It is our elusive quest for the unattainable satisfaction.

It is truly only God, only Jesus, that will give us that true life. Everything else in this world blinds us from who we are in Christ - we must die to the word, and the things in it, to truly find a life worth living. Because it's not by "getting things" that we come to find ourselves, that merely serves to clutter our lives into such a mess that we lose our very identities. Instead, it is by giving everything up, dying to these things of the world, that we truly understand who we are. - God's beloved child, lost sheep, the least of these that is loved by the best, the beloved bride that will be united with their Saviour someday. This is my core, and all else is but a faded image in the light of it.

Luke 9:23-25: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?"

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