To serve God for nothing is to voluntarily abdicate one's inheritance and sonship. It is to say, “Even if I may never be God's child, I will still be his servant.” It is that great and mighty Nebuchadnezrian "coming to senses." It is that shameless prince's abdication of his throne and acceptance of his chains which whispers in the ears of the King. To serve God for nothing surprises His eyes from afar. And suddenly He is near. And forever He holds His lost son and prince and heir and all the lost children of God, forever setting them free.
To serve God for nothing denies crowns and robes and rings, heaping them upon one’s head and shoulders and hands.
When you’re dead,
what is everybody else to you but dead.
And you a son, dead to a father who can’t see you anymore,
become a father, dead to a son whom can’t be seen anymore.
What is Christ?
What is Christ in the Parable of the Prodigal Son? Is he the father?
He calls himself or he says about himself that if you have seen him you have seen the father. Or is He that which helps you realize your need for the father, for repentance? Is He that which causes you to repent? In that sense he is neither the father nor the son who stayed home nor the son who went away. He is something else entirely. He is the need.
"Why are we celebrating?"
The servant answers but the father explains: "The celebration IS because the son that was dead is alive. The son that was lost is found."
It seems a strange answer. But actually it's a strange question. And the father sounds a bit stumped by the other son’s asking of it. As if the son had asked why rain falls down instead of up. The father says there really is nothing more to say. It is simply a matter of gravity.
But unlike the way the father talks of the son who was finally found, the way I and my puritan brethren often talk of alive and found, in essence: salvation, is exactly like the son who was never lost. We talk about salvation until it ends in an argument, not a celebration. A puritan hears music and dancing inside where he should be, but never dances, because he doesn’t know how. Somewhere along the way the puritan becomes lost in his own found-ness and dies in the midst of his own life. Somewhere along the way he forgets what found sounds like and stands deadly still in the dance of salvation.
And so the puritan becomes his brother.
Now apostate, the puritan stays in his anger, that place outside of joy, while the father pleads for him to come in.
Everyone is saying Jesus is not in control of himself.
Jesus says, “No. I am the only one in control of himself.”
It is like Jesus is saying, “You know... you don’t have to get married.“
Or, “You know...you could castrate yourselves.“
And strangely I can not really imagine saying the former anymore than I can the latter to either my children or anyone upon whom that was not already forced. It disturbs my sensibilities. And just as much as a man in 36 AD would have found it, we today find it disturbing to the point of not comprehending it.
It’s like man has this deep sense of a covenant relationship with the other; of a blood bond that’s somehow both one time and eternal with another. A sense that a bridegroom is not merely a bridegroom of brains or brawn, but a bridegroom of blood. And then society, which almost by definition is mankind’s deep sense of things in aggregate and brought to the surface, brings them so much to the surface that they become superficial, and the deep sense of things is lost. And then over time, what’s on the surface has growth, but it is a stagnant kind of growth. And what occurs is a kind of curdling, which man can enjoy but it is a necessarily spoilt enjoyment because of the effort required and because it is an acquired taste. But the exact point is that all of this has lost the freshness of milk, which is one thing made of many parts but it is one thing, and it is most clearly one thing at the beginning.
So as society develops into something thought and talked about, it corrupts marriage because it corrupts everything it touches; corrupts it in direct proportion to how long it has handled it; which is not far from saying: in direct proportion to its legality. But Jesus says marriage is, and always has been, either one time and one life—or it’s adultery, which is a sawing and a bloody hacking and a self-mutilation of one body. And so, if you are unable to commit to the oneness that is not merely required by marriage but is marriage itself, then it IS possible to sever the sense and choose voluntarily, in the sense of castration, separation from this idea from the beginning for the sake of oneness with God.
It is one of the great oddities of New Testament scripture that Jesus already knows what the Pharisees are thinking, but is amazed and surprised by what a Canaanite woman or a Roman soldier thinks. One is “ye of little faith!” and the other “ye of great faith!”
Often Jesus is disappointed or angry at man’s unfaithfulness; but he never seems truly surprised, in the sense of being amazed. But God himself will stop in his tracks in utter amazement at a faithful heart.
Who is on the witness stand testifying against you?
He rebuts your facts and figures, your words, your photo documentation, your lengthy explanations and reasons, your graphs and diagrams and methodologies. He rebuts all these and more; every polished, intellectual testament you present to defend your life.
And guess whose testimony is more persuasive in the long, arduous trial of existence that, in fact, you learned nothing about being human--a soul unfit to walk in the cool of paradise?
A stumbling block would not be a very effective one if it was at all noticeable. Even a mediocre stumbling block needs to be hidden. A wicked stumbling block has to be incredibly hidden. Deadly, precisely because it mimics a clear path. Otherwise it would be obvious, not stumbled upon, and therefore, only a block in the road to go around. In a sense, it is just the same to say stumbling will inevitably occur when the one walking the path is massively blind but arrogantly thinks he isn't. And the most wicked part: The blind and arrogant Walker places the stumbling block in front of himself. Hides a clear path from his own self. That is why the stumbling block looks just like God.
You objectified Thinking and Actions. You rationalized when rationality was not yours to set before you as a thing of highest value, then prostitute yourselves unto.
Judgment and Reason—the gold and silver that beautifies and adorns you—-is not yours: it is from God.
Except ye become as little children.
(Apocatastasis: starting over; restoration of an initial state.)
(Jesus as the alpha and the omega. The omega and the alpha.)
Jesus bends the straight line of time and experienced reality from a straight line into a circle or a horseshoe. And the end and the beginning look at each other, They are the closest to each other. Jesus crosses that divide. It is the rebirth. Jesus tells Nicodemus, “I know how to get where you want to go, but you can’t start from here. Anywhere you are on this circle is further from the place I am; and the place you should be. The closest place to the end is the beginning.”
...Every goldsmith is shamed by his idols.
Man’s every creation in which he trusts—401k’s, houses, companies, money—shames him. They are rubbish on judgement day (the day of reckoning for a life of spiritual poverty)