Sometimes pastors shouldn't use their imagination to embellish Scripture. There are certainly some passages that need a little nudge. The spies hiding on Rahab's roof, little David and big, giant Goliath, even Peter's magic shadow might be candidates. I remember reading Sarah Hadas's great take on Abraham from the perspective of his wife Sarah.
The Christmas season poses a heightened challenge to us: can we look beyond ourselves and into the divinity that has come down from heaven in the person of Jesus? Not that alone, but can we embrace the uncertainty that comes from total surrender?
Perhaps, church life is running in a kyklos. The kyklos is how the Greeks viewed government -- in a cycle -- always turning in on itself as regimes are formed and dismantled, models made and then splintered. It goes round and round. Monarchy turns to despots turn to tyranny turns to oligarchy turns to democracy turns back to anarchy.
According to the Greeks liberty eats itself. That's Paul too - everything is permissible but not beneficial. There are definite ends to it, and, at the end of things, it's not pretty. It's usually not worth much at the start either, since liberty most often begins with war. For the Christian that war is within the soul, the wrestling match with God himself and his word.
"I know that many wiser and better Christians than I in these days do not like to mention Heaven and hell even in a pulpit," says Lewis (The Weight of Glory). He goes on to say that nearly all the references in the New Testament about both destinations come from Jesus himself, and, "If we do not believe them, our presence in this church is great tom-foolery. If we do, we must sometimes overcome our spiritual prudery and mention them."