It seems a phrase that is becoming quite common is “It is what it is”.
And sometimes that’s the way it has to be.
Sometimes whatever the “it” is cannot be changed. Whether or not we like the “it” doesn’t matter. That’s the way things are and there’s no alternative.
But I’ve a sneaking suspicion that all too often it’s easier to say “It is what it is” than to try to come to grips with the “it”.
Dealing with the “it” can be painful, time-consuming, and sometimes, well, just a plain nuisance. Grappling with the “it” can involve tough decisions. The “it” can move us out of our comfort zones and send us kicking and screaming into making changes in our lives that we’d rather not make.
We Christians often find ourselves stuck in an “It is what it is” quagmire. We want to be faithful to our calling as disciples of Jesus Christ… yet, at the same time, we find ourselves battling the challenge he lays before us to go beyond the “it”.
For Lutherans, there should be no road other than the one where Jesus leads us. Martin Luther’s teaching that the Bible is the “source and norm” for our lives should grab our attention. Lutherans also stress that in the case of conflicting information, the Gospels override the rest of the scriptures.
That pretty much narrows it down. Jesus is our leader and we look to his words and actions as the “source and norm” for our lives. It shouldn’t be that hard, right?
We try to keep up with Jesus as he leads us into the world, but it can be scary stuff. Jesus has told us from day one that we don’t always need to know where he’s leading us. He asks that we trust him. That’s all it takes.
Easier said than done!
Human beings that we are, we have a need to know what lies ahead and we are sometimes suspicious – if not afraid – of the unknown. The trick is to keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open to Jesus and to trust him completely while we grope our way down the path he has laid for us.
I believe that makes the Gospel the blueprint for how we structure our thoughts and actions. It’s… well… I guess it’s our Bible.
And what is this road Jesus beckons us to follow? What is this path filled with unknowns that dare us to stretch our faith to its utmost limits and to seriously struggle with the “it”?
Jesus tells and shows us that we are to welcome strangers, treat others with dignity, assist those in need, work for peace, raise up those shoved to the fringes, and… well… just practice what he preached.
On the flip side, Jesus shows little patience for those who hoard their wealth, abuse their religious or political power, and who spend their energy and resources spreading hate, discord, and those things that bring misery and destruction to the world.
I’m not making this stuff up. Read the Gospels. Then read them again. And again. And one more time. Matthew. Mark. Luke. John. It’s all there. There are no apologies. There are no “alternative facts”.
Jesus has thrown down the gauntlet and dares us to move beyond the “it.”
Can we do it? Certainly, if we believe that we can do all things in Christ. Certainly, if we sustain one another through love, friendship, prayer, shared triumphs, and mutual tears.
Will we do it? God help us.
About the Blog
Journey through the season of Advent with daily updates on the adventures of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Belliacre, MI as they attempt to cobble together a Christmas Pageant with an unlikely cast of characters.
Stephanie is an art educator and a landscape/portrait artist. Her inspirations come from the amazing people she meets and the gorgeous state of Michigan as well as her home state of Florida. She and he husband love nature. They are out in the water during the summer months and on the snow in the winter enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
A church of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
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Christ the King Lutheran Church
600 S. M 18
Gladwin, Mi. 48624
Pastor Emily Olsen