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The Right Place to Land

By Rev. David Neuen

Last Sunday I posed the questions, “What is your reputation?” “If someone could describe you in one word, what would it be?” “Who is influencing your reputation building? There is Herod Antipas, hungering for power, striving for influence, and positioned by paranoia. And there is Jesus, known through the impact of his powerful love that he freely gives away to others.

Moffett Churn, a Presbyterian minister, shares another unique perspective on the pursuits of Antipas. Moffett was writing when he observed a bird careening again and again against a window in his church’s cathedral ceiling. The bird was trying to land on a branch of a dogwood tree that was rendered in the stained glass. Despite his many efforts, including standing on the steps outside and yelling at the bird, “For crying out loud, it’s not a real tree,” Moffett had no success convincing the bird to alter his plan. It remained committed to securing his perch, despite the pain it caused to head and beak.

Moffett decided to name the bird, “Antipas” who too tried to secure power and prestige by landing on choices and making deals that would not last. His quest for authority led to much maneuvering that typically failed. He was determined to find purpose and security in forces that only posed as power. And as a result, he was unable to see the real power present in the reality of and relationship with Jesus.

There is a tale for us here to avoid the pitfalls of becoming a potential Herod. Herod keeps grasping for something he thinks will secure his hold but he is destined to continue reaching and crashing his whole life. Will we seek out and land upon a relationship with Christ that provides the sure footing we need, the resting place and the revival station for replicating his power and building a reputation of love in the world?

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