The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 9/30

Posted on | September 30, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 9/30

Scripture reference: Matthew 21:28–32

Too Fat to Fly?

I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. (Amos 5:21)

Few people in history have spoken more prophetically against hypocrisy in the church than the Danish philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855). And nowhere were his words more inflammatory than in the parables he wrote exposing the Pharisaical piety of the state church of his day. One of his most famous parables was about a flock of geese that became so fat they could no longer fly.

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Imagine that geese could talk—and that they had planned things in such a way that they, too, had their divine worship services. Every Sunday they gathered together and a goose preached. The gist of the sermon was as follows: What a high destiny geese have, and to what a high goal the Creator has called them—and every time the word “Creator” was mentioned the geese curtsied and the ganders bowed their heads. The Creator has given us wings so that we can fly away to distant regions, blessed regions, where we have our true homes, for here on this earth, we are but alien sojourners. After church, each goose would waddle home to his own family. They would go again to church the following Sunday and then home again. In this way they flourished and became fat, plump and delicate . . . and they were all killed and eaten for dinner on Christmas Eve—and that was the end of it.

Yes, that was the end of it. Although the Sunday sermon was so very lofty, on Monday the geese would discuss with each other what had happened to the goose who actually wanted to use his wings according to the high goal set before it. What horrors it had to endure! Of course the geese would not talk about this on Sunday because that would be inappropriate. Such talk would make a fool of God and of themselves.

Still, there were a few geese who really wanted to fly. They looked poorly and grew thin. The other geese said among themselves: There you see what happens when you take seriously this business of wanting to fly. Because they harbor the idea of flying they get thin and do not prosper. Those geese don’t have God’s grace like we do who are plump, fat and delicate. For it is only by God’s grace that one can be plump, fat, and delicate.

So it is with us humans and our Christian worship services. We too have wings, we have imagination intended to help us actually rise aloft. But we allow our imagination to amuse itself in an hour of Sunday daydreaming. And then we stay right where we are and never fly at all. On Monday we regard it as proof of God’s grace in our lives that we are plump, fat and delicate. What I mean is, we accumulate money, become somebody in the world, have children, become successful, and so forth. And for those who actually trust in God and try to fly and then experience sufferings, hardships and grief, we say: Here’s proof that those poor souls don’t have the grace of God at all. (Adapted from Provocations: The Spiritual Writings of Søren Kierkegaard)

Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst.
—C. S. Lewis

point to ponder • Those who hear the Word but fail to do it are deceived (James 1:22).

prayer focus • Ask God to reveal to you any complacency in your life.

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