Architect / Pipe Bomb
“They left everything and followed him.” – Luke 5:11
I don’t expect to be startled by God in the lyrics of pop music. But the other day the words of a country song rose up to floor me.
Some gentle strings and then,
“You thought God was an architect
now you know,
God’s something like a pipe bomb
ready to blow
everything you built that was just for show.”
That’s from the Jason Isbell song, “24 Frames.”
We want an architect. A distant genius who designs our beautiful lives. And when our lives aren’t beautiful? We assume we’re not following the architect’s plan. We’ll blame ourselves before we blame our maker.
Christ explodes such assumptions. Not violently and not indiscriminately. But any Christian who doesn’t encounter Jesus as a disruptive force isn’t listening to him. You thought God was an architect? No, he’s a suffering servant. I thought I could rely upon my resume, my thoughtfully articulated opinions, my hard-earned accomplishments, my own strength. No. Jesus says drop all of that right on the ground. Right now.
Karl Barth says when we follow Christ, we’re called to drop our obedience to “magic and dictatorship, the newspaper, the judgment of people, the currently prevailing mood and public opinion, certain strong personalities, ideologies, principles, systems and not least of all our own convictions.”
All we’re left with is the grace of Christ. Thank God it is more than enough.
Let us grab hold of your abundance dear Lord. And give us the courage to drop everything else.
Matt Fitzgerald is the Senior Pastor of St. Pauls United Church of Christ in Chicago. He is the host of “Preachers on Preaching,” a weekly podcast sponsored by The Christian Century.