Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 57; 145, Habakkuk 2:1-4, 9-20, James 2:14-26, Luke 16:19-31
“Simplicity is the glory of expression.”
– Walt Whitman
Habakkuk was a prophet who demanded an accounting for the oppression of the Jewish people in Babylonian exile. He asked where God was in the midst of His people’s suffering. God answered in the vivid and poetic language of a vision for justice.
The Lord tells the author of Habakkuk: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.” The runner is likely a messenger who would have been carrying stone tablets to share with others, and God wants them to be plain enough to be read while running. The message would have to be relatively short, or the tablets would be too numerous and heavy to carry, let alone run with. The print would probably have to be large; anything too small would be impossible to focus on. Though Habakkuk itself is only three chapters and thirty-nine verses long, the content of the tablets would have been shorter and simpler still.
It’s easy to over-complicate the vision God has for us. Christ summed it up simply and beautifully when he said:
“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
That’s a message we can run with.
So why do we often feel the need to burden ourselves with the weight of theology and doctrine, and struggle so hard to balance and carry it that rather than run we plod – or stand still? Even standing still, the message is in language so cramped and difficult for passers-by to interpret that most squint and go on their way with no idea what we’re about.
Faith is not simplistic, but it should be simple. Sharing it should be easy. As our life in the Spirit matures, the less we need to know about it, and the more we are able to live it.
Comfort: Theology is fine, but faith is better.
Challenge: Pick one way to simplify your life, and do it before the end of the month.
Prayer: God of all creation, I humbly offer my simple faith. Amen.
Discussion: In what ways do you or have you unnecessarily complicated your beliefs?
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