Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sitting Ducks

I was listening to a pastor recently talking about how the western church has become largely ritualistic and lifeless, and how we don't need to settle for that. The sentence I remember clearly was, "We're not called to be sitting ducks in a sinking ship!"

I got to thinking about why ducks would be on a ship anyway. After all, ducks can swim. It's their natural habitat. The only reason they'd be on a ship is to be transported - in cages so as to keep them safe - from one place to another.

It's the perfect picture of the western church. So many ducks are we, "safe" in ritual and legalism, bound by the expectations of people... yet we were created for so much more: direct contact with God with no go-between, no cage bars. We don't need to be protected from living life the way Jesus intended by having to follow rules imposed by those who live in fear of spontaneity, of intimacy with God.

The western church is dying. Told what to do, how to act, what to eat, where to go ... or rather what NOT to do, how NOT to act, what NOT to eat (spiritually for example), where NOT to go. So when a real crisis hits ... when the ship becomes waterlogged with the inadequacies of empty religion ... we're trapped.

The picture is graphic. Sitting ducks (in cages) on a sinking ship.

And guess what happens to the ducks when the ship sinks? They drown. The ultimate ignominy for a bird which, were there to be no cage, could fly - or swim - to safety. REAL safety. Not the imposed safety of the metal bars.

We can ask Jesus to open the cages - deliver us from dead religion - and teach us sitting ducks how to swim and to fly again. To set the captives free (that's us) and teach us how to live in intimate relationship with God again... to live again.

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