Quiet Down

One of my favorite movies is The Preacher’s Wife. It’s actually a Christmas movie, starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington. Listening to Whitney Houston sing in this film, I think surely this girl knew the Lord – how can you sing about Him like that if you don’t really know Him?

But this morning, I’m thinking of another Whitney Houston movie, this one pairing her with Kevin Costner. In The Bodyguard, she also sings about Jesus. It’s a rendition of Jesus Loves Me that stays with you.

There’s another memorable scene in this movie. In it, Kevin Costner is showing her his military sword. He warns her to take care with it. The blade is sharp. To illustrate, he gives her the sword and has her hold it in both hands, extended horizontally from her body. He then takes a chiffon scarf from her neck and throws it into the air. We watch in slow motion as the scarf responds to the laws of physics: lift and gravity combine to give us an artistic show as the almost lighter-than-air fabric wafts upward and then descends – it’s like watching a breath. The scarf gently passes over the extended blade and as it does so, it is ever so gently sliced in two.

The blade indeed is sharp.

Have you noticed yourself in recent days tending to lower your voice in public places when discussing matters of cultural shift or political divisiveness? I’ve noticed that on topics dealing with race, gender persuasion, same-sex marriage, abortion – there is a marked tendency of late to lower the tone, lean forward, speak quietly. These are hotly contested issues; no need to cause offense.

Jesus, speaking in the synagogue (where you would assume issues of moral and spiritual import would be welcome topics) apparently did not lower His voice when He spoke. His disciples picked up on this:

Matthew 15:12

Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?”

Uh oh. That’s too bad. But it didn’t stop Him from carrying on in normal conversational tones.

Mark 6:3

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.

Why are we bothering listening to this woodworker? What does he know? Nevertheless – ouch! His words were sharp.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Eight years ago, my husband had six cardiac bypasses and I noticed a little something in that experience: People really don’t like having anybody mess around with their heart. There’s too much peripheral stuff to get through. Too much opening and cutting and tissue relocation. Given any other alternative, leave my heart alone, please.

The word of God, and the truth contained therein, is all about the heart. It cuts straight to it. And the thing of it is, like the bodyguard’s sword, it’s unimaginably sharp. It cuts to the quick.

A neighbor of ours in Tokyo was an avid collector of antique Japanese Samurai swords. It might interest you to know that Japanese Samurai sword collectors have one specified activity – sword sharpening. They don’t wield them, fence with them, chop firewood with them, or even necessarily study the varied histories of them. Nope. They spend hours and hours doing one thing only: keeping them razor sharp.

They understand in those swords a spiritual truth that was well-illustrated in The Bodyguard: When something is that sharp, it needs to be used with honor and with care. It doesn’t need to be hidden away or cloaked. It doesn’t need to be thrust or heaved or moved with a heavy hand. It can do its job unaided. It simply needs to be present and unsheathed. It can take care of the rest.

Ephesians 6:17

And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Psalm 119:165 (KJV)

Great peace have they which love Thy law; and nothing shall offend them.

Pray for the nation!

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