Tuesday, March 8, 2022

The Two Builders, by Christine V. Hides

Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house. Luke 6:46–49

Reflection: Like Searching for Sunday author Rachel Held Evans, I grew up relishing clapping my hands together loudly at the end of the “The Wise and Foolish Builders” song in Children’s Church: “The rains came down and the floods came up and the house on the sand went SPLAT!”

The meaning of the parable is clear, if you call Jesus “Lord,” and hear his words, then do the good defined specifically in the Sermon on the Plain earlier in Luke 6. Consequences loom like the flood which washed away everything but Noah’s ark in the Old Testament. Held Evans points out the theological tension that rises with the flood waters “Christians have missed the point of the story about the wise man and his house. Rather than making kindness and compassion the foundation of our faith, Christians have re-framed Christianity as intellectual assent to a set of propositional statements…. In fact to suggest that good works are of central importance to the Christian faith is often considered heretical…” We avoid falling into the trap of thinking that we can earn God’s grace by our actions when we acknowledge that faith is the cause and good work is the result of knowing Jesus. Hearing and doing is a both/and.

How might this perspective help us to focus our hand motions on the rock and not the “SPLAT!” in the old familiar song?… “The wise man built his house upon the rock. The rains came down and the floods came up and the house on the rock stood firm.”

Prayer: 
Christ Our Rock,
Put our hearts to love
and our hands to work. Amen.

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