In which the the pinnacle is not the place to be

by Craig on January 2, 2012

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The trial of the brother of James the Just…
the trial of Jesus…
was held in secret…
in the pitch of night.

The trial of James was in daylight…
in the pinnacle of the Jerusalem temple.

James was a Jewish leader…
maybe even a High Priest…
but he didn’t act “high”…
and constantly championed the cause of the “low”.

Oh…

…and he was a follower of “the way”.

They brought James to the Temple to make a last effort to get him to come back to their fold – and then announce his return from that pinnacle, for all to hear.

I get the sense that this “trial” was much like his brother’s.

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This Sanhedrin had argument after argument lined up…
from all sides he’d be bombarded by their words…
one question beginning before the last one ended…
and James, like his brother…

…was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth. (IS 53:7)

Things would reach a fever pitch.

Silence in the face of an attack can be most convicting…and most infuriating.

Each member of the attacking swarm would vie for position…
to claim the perfect point, ask the pivotal question.

They’d also be jostling for a position near to James…
so that when he relented, they would be seen as victor…
anger on the rise, pushing and shoving replace arguments…
and the end comes soon after James says this…

Why do you ask me about Jesus, the Son of Man? He sits in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and he will soon come on the clouds of heaven!

So similar to the words that Jesus said to set off his Sanhedrin:

You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven. (MK 14:62).

Now, one time friends become wild accusers…
face to face, chest to chest, nose to nose…
arguments breaking out among themselves.

It’s recorded that they threw James from that pinnacle…

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but it’s entirely possible that they just continued to push to the edge and one person shoved…at just the wrong time.

And the description of the next step of pride…
written a thousand years ago by Bernard of Clairvaux…
the first of which is here, and second here, and third here
12 steps that in the end lead to oblivion…

Opinions fly around, weighty words resound.  He interrupts a questioner, he answers one who does not ask.  He himself puts the questions, he himself solves them…not to edify anyone but to display his learning.  He is able to edify but does not try to….In the multitude of words you may recognize boastfulness.

Bernard of Clairvaux called this step “boastfulness”.

If it were not something I must always fight…
I’d point a judgmental finger…
at my both of the Sanhedrins…and my recent attackers…
but this step of pride follows me like a stray.

Less of my opinion, more of others, more of yours. Lord…
and more listening, and better listening…
and fewer words Lord, but more of Yours.
and to lift others up…shining light on them…
happily remaining on the ground…
not clamoring for the pinnacle…

it’s a long and fatal drop from the pinnacle.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Hillcrest Cottage January 2, 2012 at 10:46 am

Very good food for thought… thanks so much!

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Craig January 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm

thank you Bev, thank you – by the way I forgot to put what Bernard’s name for this step of pride is – I’ve fixed it since you read it – he called this step – boastfulness. Anyway, glad you and I are sitting at the same feast table. God bless you.

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Martha Orlando January 2, 2012 at 11:49 am

I heart, heart, heart your ending prayer, Craig. And, yes, it IS a long and fatal drop from the pinnacle . . .
May true humility find us both in the new year.
Blessings, my friend!

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Craig January 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm

thank you Martha, sometimes when I throw a prayer in like that I’m afraid it won’t be read as one – thus the bold print, and different color ツ because if I was reading – I might just think – wait – what? Having stood at the pinnacle – and tumbled all the way down the steps – I know for fact that it IS a perilous drop. If we are not humble, we’re not at all like our Lord. Thank you Martha, and blessings to you too.

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Debbie January 3, 2012 at 12:47 am

Thank you, Craig. This is sobering, but good. I can slip into thinking that I need to boast too, if I’m around someone who boasts. So appreciating these steps that highlight where that kind of thinking will end me up. God bless you and open door after door for you.

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Craig January 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm

THAT’Sa good point Debbie – pride is contagious – it really is – like dogs barking – babies crying – hanging around pride can lead to pride. GOOD POINT! Thank you Debbie, God bless you –and yes, I’d gladly take an open door ツ

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