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Flute music at the funeral

by davesandel on December 9th, 2011

Matthew 11:17

          Jesus spoke to the crowds, “We played the flute for you but you did not dance.  We sang a dirge but you did not mourn.”

The fire and brimstone of John the Baptist turned many heads, but Jesus reminds his listeners that their lives really did not change much.  What good was his baptism with water?

Now Jesus comes.  He brings healing to anyone who asks, makes himself available every day in every way to those who need his touch.  Nothing stands between the people and God’s grace; Jesus invites them to come, he calls them with the music of mercy and joy.

But, just as it was in Israel during Isaiah’s time, they would have “none of it” (Isaiah 30:15).

What good are the miracles, if nothing changes except physical health?  Jesus knows people better than they know themselves.  He probes more deeply than their bodies.  He says, “Clean the inside of the cup, and then the outside will also be clean” (Matthew 23:26).

I am too often captured by the state of my body, whether healthy or sick.  Over and over I forget to look at the inside of my cup.  Jesus keeps on playing the flute, though.  He reminds me to stop, look, listen.  He shows me what I need to see.  Even when he sees all that stuck-on, ancient scum, in his mercy he only shows me some, and speaks softly, patiently, again and again.

“Let me get that cleaned up for you, David.”  What am I going to say?  How often can I turn away and pretend I don’t hear?  That lie gets old, even for me.  How can Jesus hang in there like he does?  Why does he?  How long will he?

Will God’s grace outlast my disobedience?  That is a question I’d rather not have to answer.

Change my heart, O God.  Make it new.  Release my selfishness and restore my soul.  Let me run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.


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