Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)
We live in a unique time. The emerging culture is a hurricane of ideas, narratives and subjective analysis. The proverbial answer might once have blown in the wind, but few would be so arrogant to suggest something absolute in our present climate. Many answers are blowing about, and we are free to catch the currents that make most sense to us.
Throughout church history, there have been many well-meaning, devout and prayerful people who have sought God and come to understand Scripture in ways we now discard or scoff. And yet we are a product of our own cultural reactions and biases; we are ourselves a plethora of unstated assumptions.
Our blinkers can be so focused on the present we miss the winds that blow from behind us. We can be so uptight about the future that we overestimate our importance and neglect the past.
“Truth,” we say, “is something to be stated. A proposition to be succinctly closed in on.”
And Jesus whispers, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
Truth is a person. Truth is not an ideal to ascend to, a doctrinal position statement or a proposition. Truth is a person to be known, loved, experienced and followed. Truth is always known in a relational context.
“But anyone might claim to have the truth then! You can’t go around saying that — you’ll be blown any which-way. Random doctrine and heresy will abound!”
There are as many tornadoes in the church as mid-west plane. All sorts of storms blow through and not all are Christ-storms. We most certainly need to trust our kites are anchored in the hands of someone strong.
“You’ll know the truth and the truth will set you free!”
A keen insight never comforted me. An accurate statement never brought peace to my heart. “I never felt warmed by the fire of theology,” said theologian Steve Brown. They are useful in so far as they point to a person, to Christ.
Our kites need a string and that string is Christ. No matter how distorted our view might be, it is this string which keeps our “opening into Truth” in creative tension so we might fly where friendly breezes blow, have some semblance of up and down, and that we might cover ground not easily traversed in iron-clad arrogance.
It is the trust we place in the hands of the kite-Master that allows us to relax our furious flapping. We can begin to liberate the light of God in others, by listening and riding the currents, absorbing and evaluating, loving and serving on thermals of humility and hunger-for-Truth, wherever those holy breezes blow.
Lord, show me how to remain close to You. I want to remain tied to Your truth and Your Spirit. Keep me from blowing away in the wind.