Posted By Nan

1 Corinthians 14:1
“Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it – because it does.” The Message
“Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire (this) love [make it your aim, your greatest quest]: and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy.” Amplified Bible.
When Jesus lived on the earth, He inspired a movement of people whose lives were centred on Jesus Christ and committed to living the way of God's unconditional, unselfish, sacrificial, and redemptive love. They called themselves “the way". They were not caught up in bureaucracy or rigid adherence to a religious doctrine. They were seekers of Love. They sought to follow Jesus’s love. That was their aim in life. Jesus was the centre of their lives and they bore witness to His love in and for the world. During the early years of the way, people locked themselves away in devotion to Jesus and His love. Many formed monastic communities to support them as they sought to devote their lives to the way.
One such person was Hildegard of Bingen. She wrote about love and prophets. She spoke about the hypocrisy of the church hierarchy that had forsaken the way and sought instead to follow human desires and goals. Much of what she taught is summed up beautifully in a poem by the Sufi Mystic Hafiz. This reference is found in the book “Hildegard of Bingen” by Matthew Fox.
Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God…
The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favour:
Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.
But when we hear
He is in such a "playful drunken mood"
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.
We have become too caught up in the ways of the bureaucracy of church hierarchy and religious doctrine. When Jesus instructed people in ‘the way’, He never intended it to become corrupted by organisations and doctrine. He wanted us to live our lives truly devoted to Jesus and His love. He wanted to turn us upside down and shake us until there was nothing left to come out. He wanted us to face the harsh reality of this world and do something about it. He didn’t want the ‘teacup talk’ that so many indulge in.
Teacup talk is the nice talk that does not mention the hard and chaotic, uncertain things of the world such as destruction of the environment (God’s creation), genocide ignored for monetary and political gain, militarism and sexual trafficking as well as numerous other injustices. Injustices such as the large number of people who are homeless, the large number of people living in poverty, unable to earn a living wage because greedy corporations care more about how much their CEOs earn than the people who make the money for the CEO.
God is creative and we need to be creative. We need to stop pretending to be ‘nice’ and get down to action as Jesus did. He did not think the money changers in the Temple were ‘nice’. He had no time for those who abused the poor and paraded in the Temple as though they were the holiest. He honoured the widow who had only a tiny amount of money to put into the collection plate because she put in everything she owned. He had no time for people who lived life without cost. Who put comfortable sums in the collection plate and sat smugly thinking about how wonderful they were. He did not honour those people because their hearts were empty. He honoured those who were prepared to fight. He honoured those who desperately needed Him and were willing to give themselves completely to Him. He honoured those who stood up for the underdog.
Jesus called for prophets. True prophets. Those who are prepared to speak openly, without fear of ruffling feathers. Those who speak out courageously, despite the cost. Those who speak God’s word knowing that, just as God’s word spoken through His Son was rejected, so God’s word spoken through them will also be rejected. But they still have to speak and do so willingly. People may not listen, but they have the opportunity to do so.
For those who refuse to listen to the prophets there will be consequences. Hildegard of Bingen wrote to a prominent leader of her time warning him “The justice of God will raise itself up somewhat and the injustice of the clergy and religious will be recognised as thoroughly despicable. And yet no one will dare to raise a sharp and insistent call for repentance.”
But God will act. Just as throughout the Bible we see examples of Him acting. He will act. When that day comes will you be on the side of the sheep following the way or the goats following the ‘tea cup talk’, religious doctrine and church bureaucracy?

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