Truth – Not Set in Stone

 

Luke 12:32-40

     I’ve constructed some raised garden beds so I can grow vegetables. The side boards are truth post10-12 inches tall and have to be supported with 4 by 4 posts anchored in the ground with concrete. They hold a lot of soil so the posts keep them stable.

     This week I anchored a couple more posts to build another twenty foot by five foot garden area. I dug the hole fifteen inches deep and a foot around, set the post in place, mixed the concrete, and poured it in the hole. I used a level to make sure it was perfectly straight.

     A day later I checked them. They were solid. They wouldn’t budge. I hope I never have a reason to think I should remove them.

     Rock solid, just like truth—right?

     Not.

     Truth in the English language means something that is fact, certain, accurate, exact, precise. Somewhere along the line, we’ve been conditioned to think truth is unchanging. After all, if you set a post in concrete, you need an act of God to change it. It won’t move willingly.

     But posts anchored in concrete can be moved. It’s really not that difficult. I could do it with the same shovel I used to set it in place in the same amount of time.

     “What is truth?” That’s what Pilate asked when Jesus said the reason he came was to bear witness to the truth. This is the English translation that came from Greek (with some Latin influence). And it’s highly likely that Jesus spoke this phrase in Aramaic.

     So let’s look at the word in Aramaic that probably gave rise to our word “truth”—serara. It means “right or harmonious direction; that which liberates and opens possibilities, or is strong and vigorous.”

     Nothing about “accurate” or “factual.” Truth is not a post set in concrete or stone. Truth is not commandments and doctrines established by fallible men centuries ago that can’t be changed or broken.

     Truth is something that points to harmony, right action, something that liberates and/or brings strength and vigor. Similar to when Jesus said, “I came that they might have life and have it to the full.” The abundant life. A vigorous life. Full of harmony, right living, love for each other.

     Now the fun part. The NKJV translation of Luke 12:35 says Jesus said, “Let your waist be girded [prepared] with truth.” The Greek says “loins.” This actually refers more to the groin than to the waist.

     But you really can’t talk about the groin in a holy book. It might tempt someone who’s weak to think about something they shouldn’t be thinking about, if you know what I mean.

     I can here. The groin is the site of the reproductive organs—the organs responsible for creation. Rather than one layer of interpretation of creation that focuses on making babies, another line of thought might make one think of the creative abilities we’ve been given on many levels.

     With these additional considerations of the meanings of “truth” and “waist,” this simple verse of the text might means something more than “getting yourself ready” for Jesus to return.

     Maybe it could mean something like this too:

     Prepare to use your creative powers and abilities in ways that will bring harmony and correct action. Be ready to be of service to others when the opportunity reveals itself. Don’t set your plans in concrete that will make it difficult to deviate when your neighbor is in need.

     Truth is about harmony and right action. Sometimes you have to change your plans to do the right thing.

     I just hope I don’t have to pull those raised garden posts out of the ground any time soon. And that’s a fact, Jack—the truth!

 

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