Twice in my lifetime conservatives, and particularly conservative Christians, have cried “Enough!” and overturned the political apple cart. One of them was this Tuesday just past. The other was 1980 and Ronald Reagan. To be clear I currently see no parallel between the men Reagan and Trump, but I do see parallels in the behavior of the electorate in their elections.
The thing about conservatives is this – we actually are nice and tolerant. We have things to do and do not want to spend our lives nit-picking every small political detail. We keep thinking, “Just let it go, God’s got this, they’ll eventually understand.” We don’t want a fight, we just want you to come in and enjoy a warm hearth.
But liberals keep pushing and pushing and pushing. They would rather stand in the cold and throw rocks at the house than come in, share some hot cocoa and join the fun. Yeah it’s annoying to hear the rocks thudding against the walls and we know we are going to have to patch and paint much sooner than we would like, but its a small price to pay. Eventually one of the rocks breaks a window. We sigh heavily, tape some cardboard in the window, after writing “Come in and have some cocoa” on the side that can be seen outside, and figure we’ll fix it come spring. Perturbed, the rocks start getting bigger and are thrown harder. Maybe we have to put out a few roof fires from flaming arrows before it’s too late. We try to make a show of how wonderful life is in our humble abode. We issue invitations as best we can amidst the volleys of rocks and arrows.
But eventually it is just too much. So we leave our hearth and home and we venture to the voting both and we push the liberals back as far as we can. We still don’t want a fight, but we sure as heck are tired of being attacked. We still want the liberals to come home with us and share a meal, but we need some space to fix the windows and the walls and the roof.
Too profane for linking or embedding here, I think of the scene in Road House where Patrick Swayze tells his cadre of bouncers to be nice until it is time not to be nice. But more I think of Christ cleansing the Temple. Jesus preached and performed miracles. He invited and He cajoled. And yet so many failed to reply to His invitation and they just kept doing what they were doing. Eventually he had to fix His Father’s house.
Here’s the thing though – cleansing the Temple is not what fixed God’s house, it just set the repairs in motion. The outcome of Christ’s actions were His arrest, trial, scourging and crucifixion. Let me repeat that – the net result of Christ’s action in cleansing the courtyard of the Temple in Jerusalem was to get Himself crucified. It was the crucifixion and resurrection that were the real repairs, not the so-called “cleansing of the temple.”
Nothing got fixed this past week, and we dare not think so. Furthermore, any fixing that does happen will not happen in any apparent victory, it will happen in sacrifice. I wonder if we are willing to pay the price? See, I am terribly worried that the reason we got into this mess to begin with is that we have not been willing to sacrifice. We want the hearth and the cocoa, but we may let the paint stay chipped, the window cracked and the roof leaky if they’ll just leave us alone. But they only way they will ever leave us alone is if we turn them into us.
That’s what happened when Christ was crucified. We were transformed; we rediscovered the image of God that we had rejected; We were made His again – not our own. But note what that is like: [emphasis added]
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
We don’t join Jesus at the hearth, we join Him on the cross. That is what it is going to take to actually get the house back in order – we have to get up on the cross with Jesus. This is no time for celebration, rather this is a time to pray the same prayer Jesus prayed before He went to the cross, “Not my will, but Thine.” Last Tuesday was no victory, it was just the creation of an opportunity. Taking advantage of that opportunity is far harder than any election ever.
This is a good Sunday to go to church and lay it all on the altar before God.