Bacchus Temple

This is a powerful song. We have just moved from the love expressed between mutual friends and lovers, and now we are in the harder place of loving our enemies. The main reason I am not a pacifist has to do wth my distinguishing between private and public life. While I know that you cannot separate the two – they will alwys be intermingled – we still need to distinguish between the cords that are tied together. Teh command that Jesus gave to his discples is that they love their enemies. When someone slaps you, you do not return in kind. You replace a curse with a blessing. This is the freedom the Christian has from the way the world operates. We are not slaves to avenge ourselves and our rights/rites. That’s right, I said ‘rites.’ As Christians we cannot expect to have our convictions embraced ni a culture that worships the creature. When we decry the injustices of being made fun of – some of it is rightly deserved mind you – we look more like a pagan than a Christ-follower. “Hey, you can’t do that to me.” Why not? How soon we have forgotten our Lord’s words when he told us that we will be persecuted. Paul’s words to Timothy, “All those who desire to live a godly life will undergo suffering.” The righteous shall enter the Kingdom of God through violence, that is as through fire. 

So we must have an uncomfortable tension. We do not rock the vote for a Christian nation. It will never happen this side of the consummation. Nor do we sit on our backsides talking about how awful the world is. We have to get our hands dirty if we are to be light in the darkness. We are going to have to get fleas when we play with the dogs. Who ever said that the most righteous thing was to be flea-free?   

 (vs. 1)
politics or love
can make you blind or make you see
make you a slave or make you free
but only one does it all
and it’s giving up your life
for the ones you hate the most
it’s giving them your gown
when they’ve taken your clothes
it’s learning to admit
when you’ve had a hand in setting them up
in knocking them down

love is not against the law
love is not against the law

The Church’s politics must be martked by love. However, we don’t turn a blind eye to sin. We shine light upon it and call people to repent – even as we kneel in repentance. Unfortunately love for man alone will set anyone free. It is love for God that will free men from sin. It is a dissatisfaction for the injustice that rides people’s backs. The last stanza, for me is the most convicting. How many times I am slow in admitting I am wrong or have had a hand in unrighteousness. The things that I have propagated the most may be the things that I am most unaware of. That is, as a middle class white man I have so much more privilege than a man or woman of another race. By virtue of my parents and circle of friends, I will not have to worry about things if my world crumbles. 
I am not advocating scoffing at said blessings. Rather, I thank the triune God for them.However, I am also sobered by the fact that I should give my unrighteous manna to those who are hungry. I Rather than being content with the obesity of blessing I find the blessing of the wealthy man who gave away twice of what he had taken. One of the things that we, the materially blessed ones, must remember is that everything we have received is a gift. We did not earn these things.

Whether we like to admit it or not, and it may make a puddle in your march to glory, we need to look out for those in need. Too mnay times we have bought into the lie that the government and social welfare is the replacement for the church. Instead, of just ladling soup and patting people on the back, we need to re-adjust our vision of ministry to the poor. We need to think through how we might be able to bless the poor.

(vs. 2)
are we defending life
when we just pick and choose
lives acceptable to lose
and which ones to defend
‘cause you cannot choose your friends
but you choose your enemies
and what if they were one
one and the same
could you find a way
to love them both the same
to give them your name

This ‘privilege’ is what Webb is keying on when he says we can’t choose our friends…But we choose our enemies everyday. On second thought, perhaps Webb is saying that all men are supposed to be our friends. In this way we cannot choose them.Either one works nicely. Too many times in the name of social justice for the unborn we have forgotten social justice for the less fortunate who have had their voices muted. That is, if both parties were pro-life it should be harder than we assume on who to vote for. What if the one issue were gone? How would you vote? Have you thought of all the implications of a libertine or minimal government? Do we blanket common grace on humanity without relaizing that without proper governors, the rich will eat the poor? Just questions…

But the Christian life is more than just pursuing social justice isn’t it? Isn’t it the ability to love the one who ignorantly hates you? Isn’t it being able to bless the cursing asses (for those who are taken back by my language, see Num 22.23-34). To give our name is to share with those around us that we have long looked past. It is breaking bread and calling our neighbor friend. It is sharing the Gospel with our neighbors intentionally so that they, too, will be called friends by our King Jesus.