From The Archives: Cones & Holes

Originally posted in October of 2010, this reposting of “Cones & Holes” is for anyone who struggles with the tension between law and grace. I sure do.

Enjoy, while my family and I steal away together for a couple days.

God dug holes and called them Law.

God’s people were warned not to step in the holes so no one would get hurt. Or stuck.

One day well-meaning religious leaders, who loved God and His people deeply, decided to lay cones around the holes. With cones in place, no one would ever get too close and accidentally slip in.

God’s Law said, “Keep the Sabbath day holy; don’t work; rest.”

A leader scribbled his circle of cones around it: “Do not break a sweat on the Sabbath,” he wrote and “Don’t carry a needle in your clothes while walking or it could move around and accidentally sew.”

Then another religious leader declared another ring of cones to keep people from bumping into the first circle of cones: “Don’t light a fire on the Sabbath,” he said and “Don’t take more than x number of steps on the Sabbath.”

For the protection of God’s people and out of love for God, they went on and on like this for generations.

The cones of men became as revered as the holes of God. Cone crashers were excommunicated, cut off from family and church, and sometimes even killed.

Some people loved the cones more than each other. Sometimes even more than God.

Then the Law Giver put on skin and walked among the people – walked right through their cones, out onto slippery slopes, dangerously close to the holes. Sometimes he even reached down into holes to lift people out. He showed the people how to love without getting stuck in a hole.

Jesus crashed through the cones and right into a party where he turned water into strong wine. He stepped over cones and into the Temple where he healed a withered hand on the Sabbath. He kicked the cones out of His way to touch the dead and leprous. He kicked the cones out of His path on the way to lunch with crooked Roman tax collectors and prostitutes. He crushed the cones and sent an adulterous woman’s accusers away empty-handed.

Jesus hates our cones. No matter who lays them and how well-intentioned and helpful and old they may be.

I’ve laid some cones and called them holes. And I’ve got bruises from stones thrown when I bumped into someone else’s.

Don’t watch TV. Don’t date. Don’t get a tattoo. Don’t trick or treat. Don’t go to movies. Don’t buy an iPhone. Don’t listen to “rock music.” Don’t drink alcohol or go to places that serve it. Don’t play cards. Don’t get that haircut. Don’t send your kids to public school. Don’t buy Christmas presents. Don’t read Harry Potter. Don’t wear make-up. Don’t vote Democrat. Don’t do yoga. Don’t…

Now if your balance is a little off and you’re out walking alone, you might not want to venture too far past some of the cones right now lest you fall into a hole. It is slippery out there in some places. Use discernment.

But if you’re pretty good on your feet, for God’s sake…

Crash the cones.

Especially to love someone in a hole.