String instruments teach us how important tension is. Each string requires it be tightened to the proper tension. It is through this tension that the music rings out.
As a preacher, I am not a big fan of hell, fire, and brimstone. It doesn’t sit well with my own understanding and experience of God. In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus is using this technique. There is tension here for me. This is not the Jesus I sing about loving me. This is not the Jesus I experience in the midst of God’s family. Tension does exist in our living as well as our understanding and we must recognize this reality and live with it.
The beauty of God’s grace and kingdom is that through these tensions we find the proper tension to resonate the melodious goodness of God. The words we say are not nearly as important as the lives we live. Words are important, don’t get me wrong—words of grace, mercy and love are most critical. However, Jesus’ life and ministry show us that the ways in which we interact with those around us is much more important. Afterall, while the crowds were astounded at Jesus’ teaching, the very next thing Jesus did was to heal the man with leprosy.
Through the struggles of life, with its unique tensions, may we find the proper notes.
Keep on making beautiful music!