Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jesus is LORD, Ah Yes, That Is The Question

St. Ambrose (go here and here) writes:

"As there are many kinds of persecution,
so there are many kinds of martyrdom.
Everyday you are a witness to Christ...
Who can give a greater witness than the
one who acknowledges that the Lord
Jesus has come in the flesh and keeps
the commandments of the Gospel?"
(from a sermon on Psalm 118)

Perhaps the most difficult moment in the life of a follower of the Jesus-way is that moment when a choice must be made as to one's loyalty to the ancient creedal assertion, Jesus is LORD. This assertion is the final caveat for the Christian faith, for when this is bargained away the faith once delivered to the saints eventually bleeds out.

The ancient Saint here quoted is so right when he reminds us that in this world of people, to offer a final, blatant NO!, a final, this is where I stand, is nothing short of a social martyrdom.

That is, to assert in this day that Jesus is LORD is more than a social indelicacy; it is considered the ultimate state of social bigotry. It is to lose the ability to move within the circles of the polite and the socially graced. It is to become unenlightened and to have stepped over into obscurantist buffoonery. (But those of this persuasion should take heart, in St. Ambrose's day they did much worse things to you!)

And yet, what is the believer to do? If one has in fact met the living Christ within ones own personal space-time history, what else can one assert? One could say, well, "Jesus is my Lord, meaning you may have another," but this hardly does justice to the history of the case, and especially to one's own personal experiential history.

Here I'm reminded of a business man I know who felt pressure to send holiday cards to his customers instead of Christmas cards. In the end, he decided to send Christmas cards because, as I say, what is a believer to do?