• John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

The Continual Unpredictability of a Straight Line

As one looks at Jesus in the Gospels, one sees the Lord carving through the world as a straight line of integrity, purpose, holiness, and truth. He is The Way, the way to move directly from point to point of obedience to God’s plan and of effectiveness in God’s service.

Yet the derangement of our world means that from our kaleidoscopically shifting viewpoints, he constantly seems so odd, even wild.

That isn’t the way things are done!”

What in the world are you doing now?”

How can you say such a thing?”

Don’t you understand how things work?”

It is we who are odd, off, wild; we who keep misunderstanding, and misjudging, and misusing, and misbehaving.

Jesus is possessed of an inner logic: rock-steady, implacable, humming along in complete submission to his Father, mowing down opposition as needs be and getting done what needs doing. He is, to be sure, the Logos.

And so, in the Upper Room, he washes our feet to show us yet again what leadership, and excellence, and godliness always mean in the Kingdom of God, what they have always meant and always will mean.

And we keep being startled!

Only in hindsight does it all make obvious sense—”Of course!”—as wisdom always does. And yet we will be startled again today, slow learners that we are, embedded yet in the crazy distortions of our rocking, swerving, careening world, always looking and still failing to see things aright, to see him aright.

But we do see him. At least, we can if we will but try. He loves to reach down into the chaos to connect with us, to lift us out of confusion, to hold our hands along the Way, to send out his light and his truth to lead us.

It is only because we are so drunk that we have such trouble walking his straight line.

May we let him bring us the cleansing, purging, invigorating joy of Spirit-sobriety today, and every day.

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