Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Dance of the Prepositions

In John 17 Jesus explains to the disciples that while they are going to be left in this world after He is gone, they belong to Him.  This call to be "in the world, but not of it" is a challenge to us all.  As Caedmon's Call once sang, "This world has nothing for me and this world has everything.  All that I could want and nothing that I need."  Christians struggle with this at every turn.  Some of us seek to hide from the world.  Some of us want the church to be more like the world.  Some of us let the things of this world take the place of God.

Today's "words to soak in" come from John Fischer's 1988 book Real Christians Don't Dance (Bethany House Publishers).  John has written a number of great books and a number of great songs including The All Day Song, one of the all-time Quaker Lake Camp favorites!  I have shared this prose with many groups over the years and as part of my Lenten devotional series online last year.  Now I'll just shut up and let John talk.  Have a blessed Sabbath!

The Ins And Outs Of "It"
"In it, not of it," the statement was made
As Christian One faced the world, much afraid.
"In it, not of it," the call was made clear,
But Christian One got something stuck in his ear.
"Not in it, or of it" was the thing that he heard.
And knowing the world was painfully absurd,
He welcomed the safety of pious retreat,
And went to the potluck for something to eat.

Now Christian Two, he knew what to do,
He'd show those fundies a thing or two!
How will the world ever give Christ a try
If we don't get in there and identify?
So "In it, and of it," he said in his car,
As he pulled in and stopped at a popular bar.
"I'll tell them the truth as soon as I'm able
To get myself out from under this table."

Now along comes Christian Three jogging for Jesus,
In witnessing sweats made of four matching pieces.
His earphones are playing a hot Christian tune
About how the Lord is coming back soon.
"Not in it, but of it," he turns down the hill
And stops in for a bite at the Agape Grill.
Like the gold on the chain of his "God Loves You" bracelet,
He can have the world without having to face it.

While way up in heaven they lament these conditions
That come from changing a few prepositions.
"Not in it, or of it," Christian One thought.
But who is the world will know that he's not?
"In it, and of it," thought Christian Two.
But who in the world will know that he knew?
"Not in it, but of it," thought Christian Three.
But who in the world watches Christian TV?
And Jesus turns to Gabriel, shaking His head.
" 'In it, not of it...' wasn't that what I said?"

Because of Jesus,

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