26 June 2017


The world is full 
of fork-tongued Christians 
speaking beauty and grace 
from one side 
bitterness and strife  
from the other.  

We want to be seen as righteous 
or authentic 
or holy 
or transparent 
...you pick the word. 

And so we don the mask  
that communicates the image 
we wish to portray 
and we accent our speech 
to give Academy Award-winning performances. 

But even in Oscar's gleam 
our triumphant performances  
are still just acting,  
and not our actual selves.  

Unscripted lives  
lived off-stage  
in creation's transcendent drama, filled with  
vibrant hues and murky shadow, 
darkness and light, 
pleasure and pain, 
comfort and suffering, 
reveal the actual colors of our hearts.  

We speak of love, but act with disdain; 
We speak of forgiveness, but reject reconciliation; 
We speak of limitless grace, but withhold it from the undeserving; 
We speak of community, but exclude those who have actually failed us. 

'Tis risky to confront the bard, but I'm afraid 
all the world's not a stage 
and we are not merely players,  
but men and women  
of actual flesh and blood 
...and brokenness 
living in a Kingdom 
marred by the fall 
but being restored by 
its Creator and King. 

What true Kingdom living requires 
is not thespians 
but actual citizens; 
not masked actors,  
but actual selves; 
not tongues that speak of love 
but actually loving people 
and especially those most disdainful; 
not tongues that speak of forgiveness 
but actually forgiving people 
as often as it takes 
and especially those who have hurt us most deeply; 
not tongues that speak of limitless grace 
but actually demonstrating grace 
not stingily, but effusively 
and especially to the most graceless; 
not tongues that speak of authentic community 
but actual community 
not excluding those sinners and Pharisees  
and especially those who most disappoint us. 

Actual life is not a screenplay 
resolving at two hours and ten, 
but enduring drama 
filled with comedy and tragedy, 
joy and hurt, 
confusion and disappointment. 

There will come a day  
when all tensions shall resolve 
and all trials are dismissed 
when we will actually live 
"happily ever after," 
but until that day 
let us seek to live  
not for the best actor award 
but with actual gospel genuineness 
spurring one another on  
to actual love 
and actual good deeds.

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