Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From the First Morning Lesson: We are Samson

The first Morning Lesson (1928 Book of Common Prayer) is Judges 6:6-14. Samson begins to squander his God-given gift. He ignores the obvious and continues in his relationship with Delilah, who is colluding with foreign "lords" to destroy him.

Christians are very vulnerable to this same situation. Jesus teaches us to forgive, to seek reconciliation, to love in a way that "hopes all things, believes all things." So we play by the rules of our Lord, only to find that we are offering ourselves to people who serve other "lords" with very different rules.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches about this. Right after telling us not to judge others, He gives this warning:

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.

We must not be like Samson. We are not to squander our God-given gifts - our own holiness that comes through Christ - by endless catering to those who are "unclean" (this is the meaning of dogs and pigs). There are those who are filthy spiritually, and we cannot make them clean by lavishing our service on them.

Jesus knelt to his flawed disciples and washed their feet. Even so, He told them,

"And you are clean, though not every one of you." For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

The Lord Himself knows that some will reject even the most tender ministry and "tear to pieces" those who offer it.

As the Anglican Communion breaks down, I can't help but admit that too many of us, for too long, made Samson's mistake. We ignored the signs of pollution and wasted our God-given gifts on those who were serving other "lords." It has weakened us, and we might rightly fear Samson's fate. As the compromised Anglican edifice crashes down, we might be crushed with those who have rejected God's Word.

But the Second Morning Lesson gives hope... (see the post above this one).

No comments: