Wednesday, October 23, 2013

But...It Doesn't Sound Loving

Good morning! I'm still in the dark, but there is a hint of light in the eastern sky. Vocabulary Man walked into the disreputable tavern to lubricate his elocution. Tarrying beside the serving counter, he noticed a man distinctly marked by particular signage upon his epidermis. The man stood respectfully, but closely behind a woman with similar symbols adorning her overgarment. Vocabulary Man, desiring convivial relations, leaned in and said, "Madame, I admire your pulchritude!" Whereupon, he found his posterior painfully pounding the parking lot with gradually diminishing velocity. Apparently, his compliment did not sound loving!

Pulchritude is one of those words we don't use much anymore, probably because it looks nasty when written, and sounds worse when spoken. However, the definition is entirely different, the word means: great beauty and physical attractiveness. Ebbeh? It sounds like something you might find in a pit of refuse. Some things our Lord said did not at first sound loving either.

Go ye therefore into all the world was the command, but the disciples probably thought they had gone plenty far already. They had followed Jesus through places the Jews didn't normally go, slept out in the garden, argued with the authorities, and fled the arresting soldiers. All the world? No doubt that sounded frightening to the men who had not in their lives travelled more than fifty miles or so from home. "Does anyone know how big is the world?" Peter may have asked the other disciples. I'm sure they had among them heard about much more than any had seen, and the stories of the Roman Empire alone would tend to overcome their courage. "Did He say, 'All the world...', Pete?" John may have asked with a nudge in the ribs to their unofficial representative.

The command of our Lord may not always sound loving to our ears. Even today, all the world is a big place. A church-full of people staring expectantly may cause your carefully prepared words to dribble right out of your brain. Do I have to do this, Lord? Learning a new skill may be the command from God you heard in the still, small voice of the night hours, but that seems so hard in the light of day. Then there is that statement... you know the one: You are a sinner in need of saving! Ouch, what happened to God's own image and that good-sounding stuff? We like that better. No, the truth hurts sometimes when love speaks. How about this one: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. The truth can also sound very loving.

In Christ,

No comments: