Let the Entire House Know Let us pray… Rev. Stuart Buisch
‘Let all Israel know beyond question that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ There are powerful words and phrases in this text that deserve contemplation and seek understanding: beyond question, God has made, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Beyond question: Where or what is beyond question? One of the signs of our well being is that we can question. One of the signs of our strength is the ability to question in such a way as to have an answer that gives our understanding rest and conclusion. Surely in terms of faith beyond question has a reasonableness to the answer we come to. It is somehow in our minds rational.
But maybe all of that is 2020 and our current culture. I wonder if beyond question, as Peter uses it in his words to the crowd, speaks more of how much we can trust the story. How much the truth of the story speaks into our souls. This is not about reason but about trust. Surly the one who goes under the knife of a surgeon doesn’t necessarily understand rationally all the details that the surgeon does but the patient trusts that the surgeon will act with integrity and skill. Perhaps the patient also believes that the surgeon trusts his process and its outcome. With regard to Christ do we trust that this one who is told about at Pentecost still works today in some way. How do we come to that trust? Because of the story, because of the storyteller, because our friend had an experience and we tried. How will you get beyond question or will you die full of questions with no answers?
God has made: It is a curious thought that God was behind all the activity of Christ. That God was the agent in the process. If you don’t think about Trinity often the whole idea of different players in the divine realms may be baffling. Did Christ die on the cross or was it God? Did Christ do the miracles or was it God? Does it matter? Is it fruitful to sort out between the different roles of the Trinity? For me the issue is that God did it, which means God had a plan this was not a surprise. God purposed this. You might say, explain to me all of God’s purposes. I respond open your Bible – one you can read. I don’t know anyone who listens to the news in old English or in a foreign language. I do however know people who either don’t read the Bible or don’t have a readable translation. The Bible is written in such a way as to disclose that God is at work. In the words of Scripture we see how God works and that God works. We are not promised to understand it but to trust it.
Whom you crucified: I was listening to a Rowan Atkins monologue on Scripture reading and he said that Jesus took his show to Jerusalem and they absolutely crucified him. Everyone laughed. I find myself wondering if we are doing a more destructive crucifixion of Christ today with all our doubts, our lack of trust and disbelief and our unwillingness to seek to know who the Christ is for us today. First century people killed Jesus on the cross. Today people ignore Christ, fail to engage in the love, justice and kindness that he lived and practiced. Maybe until we can own the role we play in the crucifixion then and now can we also know the forgiveness, freedom and liberty that Christ’s work does for us.
Both Lord and Christ: Two words not present in our day to day speech. Lord, was adopted in scripture from a male dominated world to translate the word Yahweh from the Old Testament.
Instead of taking God’s name in vain they used two words from their common culture Adonai and Lord. Lord was the leader of a household who made all the decisions, held all the assets, and had all the power.
What do these words Lord and Christ mean to us today? When we receive individuals into membership in the PCUSA we ask Who is your Lord and Savior? Do you trust him? We don’t have lords or christs today. We don’t refer to anyone before we make decisions. In 2020 we believe that the land we live on, the house we own, or the apartment we rent is ours in some controlling way. When a major storm comes through, when we die, when our relationships fall apart the control over house and land becomes most tenuous.
If we went back to the original language in Scripture – Yahweh – I AM that I Am/ I Will be what I will be. That creative, unfolding name and identity, could liberate us and give us empowering for the years to come. If we can acknowledge that we didn’t create this world, if we can own that some of our behavior is destructive to the world around us, and then if we can own that in the work of the Spirit of Christ Jesus we can live lives of contentment and joy and a peace that passes understanding, we could live in the freedom of trusting in God.
The Lord and Christ of Scripture calls us to ask what relationship we have with God. What do we believe about our connection, our experience of God? How do we nurture that? There is a Chasidic tale that tells the story of a Rabbi whose son who went out to the woods daily. This was a concern because the woods were thought to be dangerous and wild, potentially evil. One day the father said to his son, ‘why do you go out to the woods?’ He replied, ‘I go to be with God.’ The rabbi replied that God is everywhere the same. Yes, said the son but I am not.’
Each of us needs to find the ways and places that we can encounter God. We need to know God in terms that make sense and peace for us. We need to know in such a way that interacts with our whole person, every aspect of our lives, thoughts and ways. Amen
God of all, Creator of the unfolding universe, work your glory in us…
Pain bearer, forgive both our sins and the things that have hurt others…
Breathe of Life, breathe wholeness into not only our bodies and souls