Monday, September 04, 2006

Where Judgment Begins

Years ago, I awoke in the middle of the night, and tossed and turned in a trance-like state. A paraphrase of a passage of scripture was rolling around in my head, and I asked what its meaning was. "Judgment must first begin in the house of God," filled my mind in this dreamy invasion of my faculties. It was from 1 Peter 4:17, which says, "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God."

I turned this way and that in the bed, and spoke out loud repeating the phrase, "Judgment must first begin in the house of God...judgment must first begin in the house of God...." Then I asked out loud, "What does that mean?"

Soon my head was where my feet had been as I crawled around the bed. I continued to question the meaning of this saying. Suddenly as if from nowhere, yet from somewhere a voice from an unseen identity resonated with authority in my head, "One must go about preaching in the churches."

Still in a trance-like state I turned over, and declared loudly, "That's it! - One must go about preaching in the churches." I then slid back under the covers, and fell asleep promptly.

When morning arrived, my eyes opened with an excited start, and I leaped out of bed. From prone to standing the movement occured without intermediary positions. I threw the covers off, catapulted off the mattress, and landed on my feet in the middle of the small room in my Eaton Way apartment in Vista, and declared with complete excitement, "Judgment must first begin in the house of God!"

All day long that phrase filled my mind, and gave me great joy.

Okay - what the heck was that about? I love the medieval mystics, but I'm not sure I want to be one. They were kinda weird.

The bigger question in sharing this story is: What do you think that passage in 1 Peter 4 means? Shouldn't the church judge itself? Is it doing that job, and if so, is it doing it well? If not, what does this passage from 1 Peter have to say to us?

1 comment:

carl said...

that's a loaded topic, and unpopular. With my simple mind I try to think of this scripture by picturing God looking down upon his children, some are reconciled to him, some not. The ones who are saved He expects more from than with those who are not.
Today there are sins in the church that have been festering for awhile. So out of His great love for us He will release what is already coming to us(bad karma)if we do not repent in hopes that we will soon afterwards. Those in the church who do repent He continues to protect from judgement. But those who are not followers of Jesus He is extra patient with. I am no theologian but that's my take on it.
to avoid judgement the church must see the plank in it's own eye rather than the speck in the rest of the worlds. Truth must be spoken in love (or preached)to ourselves first and then to the rest of the world. Whether the church is doing a good job at that or not I'm too tired right now to think about that.