My son’s high school drama club is performing the Broadway musical, Phantom of the Opera. It is a very ambitious project for a high school, but they actually pulled it off beautifully. You would never think this was a high school; such was the talent, staging and production value. But that is not my point here. As I watched the show, I finally understood the story line: The tale of a disfigured man – ugly and repulsive – looking for acceptance, perhaps even love, from another human being. It the cry of aloneness looking for relationship and intimacy. Yet the story goes beyond just one character in an opera. This is the story of the heart cry of humanity disfigured by sin looking for the lost intimacy with God. Is it possible for a loving, beautiful, pure God to love such ugliness of soul? Does He not shun us, even as we hide ourselves from Him in shame; in self-repulsion? The simplest answer is, no, He does not shun us. He does not reject us. The most astonishing and breathtaking truth is that in the face of our blemished, stained and defaced soul, God still extended love to us. He kissed us in the very place of our hideousness.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. (Titus 3:3-5)
It seems to me that I keep repeating this theme in my various blog posts. I can’t seem to get past this most remarkable truth. And maybe it’s because I don’t want to. There is so much Christian chatter and philosophizing, so much noise about becoming better Christians or changing the world or taking back our cities and nations. It all sounds so complicated and planned and scheduled and calculated and I just want to scream because we somehow lose sight of the simplicity and power of the cross.
Now some of you may think I’m being simple-minded and unsophisticated. After all, there is “work” to be done. We have to move past this and grow up. We need to mature. Do we not? No, I think not. There is nothing more powerful, more loving and more life-changing than saying to someone, “God has not rejected you and I can prove it.” The soul breathes this in and gushes out in life. Why does it need to get more complicated than telling those soul-marred phantoms that there is someone ready to accept them? I don’t think it is.
Call me simple if you like, but that’s His story and I’m sticking with it.