We are a polyethylene people, a molded and manufactured race of synthetics and polymers and high density resins. Acrylic fingernails, silicone implants, plastic smiles. Accessorized bodies with a shelf life of forever, that never biodegrade.
And if culture is the god church worships most, then we should celebrate, as an inventor has proposed, Barbie Dream Church coming to a store near you. Plastic pews, plastic altar, plastic priest and a congregation of plastic Christians. A congregation full of plastic Christians.
What plastic behavior is Jesus telling us to beware of?
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Fake faith that’s glossy and perfect, reproducible and man made but finally cold to the touch.
Discipleship that’s disposable, a throw away.
The hypocrisy of being Christian in public only for the adulation, the attention.
Confusing religion of God with God.
At church on Easter morning, to paraphrase, Fred Craddock showed up to find a sanctuary filled with lilies, all made of the finest polyester and nylon, injection molded decorations. During the service, he felt more and more uncomfortable with the white display, realizing what was so offensive to the Gospel of resurrection. That plastic flowers don’t die, that plastic flowers don’t die.
The Christian life is nothing less than daily dying. And Lent, the trek between here and Jerusalem, is the 40 day invitation to your own funeral. To close the casket on all that is not of God, to carry the cross alongside a skin and bone Savior come to save a plastic world from its plastic sins. Hear the Good News: earth before heaven, mortality before immortality, death before life.
There was a young mother clutching her new born daughter in Haiti when the earthquake seized and shook. The mud beneath collapsed, rock and rebar destruction falling from above. Days passed till the machines could untangle the wreckage, begin accounting for corpses. Mom was among the dead, but her daughter was alive, even well. The rescue workers rushed the infant to the hospital, searching for explanation. They came to realize that in the rubble and ruin, the child still nursed, found nourishment from her mother’s body that had since expired. Before putting her up for adoption, the doctors and nurses agreed to name her Hope.