Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Well, Wallace got back from his vacation ok, and it appears that he had spent a lot of his vacation thinking great thoughts and meditating on difficult topics. The Gospel in the service today was John 18:33-37 but he really focused his sermon on verse 36: Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."

So he posed to all of us the questions, "Where DOES Jesus rule? How does He do it?" He suggested that there are basically three modus operandi for the "how":

1. When we are prone to being indifferent to God or not listening to what He is trying to tell us; we sense that feeling of separation from this condition;
2. As we seek to know Him better, we feel the positive changes in our lives that lessen this gap; and
3. At the moment of death, this transformation is complete and we will finally understand the full magnitude of His kingdom.

So to answer the first question, Wallace brought up a very interesting idea as to the "where". Christ rules within our own sin. Now I had to think about this one for a while. That one did not intuitively make sense at first. (Once again, I'm reminded of the fact that Wallace is a Phi Beta Kappa and I definitely am NOT. ) Why would he rule, or even want to rule, in the middle of our own personal iniquities?

To get to what he was talking about, I tried mostly to think about the mental images the word "king" usually brings to mind...and they're usually not very flattering. Elvis in a jumpsuit. A German Shepherd dog. a chess piece that can move anywhere but only a little bit at a time, to be protected by the other pieces on the board at all cost. A figurehead monarch that's all show and no go. Someone who oppresses the little guy, historically. When I think of "kings" I see people who rule from far away and put the local underlings under his thumb just because they're there.

But Jesus is not that sort of "king." That's what he more or less tells Pilate, too. He was a king who went out among the lepers and the sick and the poor and the more or less unwanted, unfit, and undesirable. This is how he was in life. So it should not be much of a stretch for him to not mind, or even WANT to be in the middle of our own spiritual warts and sores. He's a "get your hands dirty" kind of guy. He's not into ruling you from afar, He's not even into getting into your face standing next to you. He just wants to be there for you even when you don't think you want Him there. But you still feel Him in your personal space, you sense His presence just as you sense someone is there within your personal circle of comfort. When you do boneheaded things and act uninterested in God, or want to wallow in your own self-made despair, even if you yell out, "Stop looking over my shoulder!" you still cannot shake that sense of Christ residing within your personal space. THAT is how he "rules". THAT is how we sense our separation from God because we just can't shake that feeling of "someone else in the room."

It reminds me of a great game you can play with your horse to teach him that you are the "alpha horse". If you have a horse, and you are wanting to use a non-physical way to reinforce that you are the boss, you go stand out in the pasture (make sure you are one horse length away, though!) and pick out a very specific spot on his hindquarters. Then stare at it as hard as you can, and even point at it. Don't give in; do it until the horse moves a step. Then look away, give him his space for a minute. Then walk around to his opposite hindquarters and do it again. Keep playing this game until he moves away from this mental pressure easily. When he does this, you have convinced him that you are the "alpha horse."

I have seen horses do everything to avoid this moving away. I have seen them even stretch their butts away like they've been poked but not pick up that rear hoof to actually move away before they finally give up and walk away from it. I've seen them shake their heads, glare back, and even kick out. But eventually they will walk away if you don't give up first.

This is how I understand how Christ rules within our own sin. His presence is like pointing at your butt and you are the horse in this situation. You feel him there...but you might try everything in your power to not let Him move you. Then you finally cave in and start to do it more easily and are okay with it. You can accept Him as the "alpha horse" sooner or later. But he won't stop pointing at your butt!



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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