The pattern is familiar to most
adult Americans. Every six months, you go to the dentist’s office to get
your teeth cleaned. That’s how the appointment reads, but experience has
taught you better than that: it’s another round of dental combat.
The tactics are familiar:
hygienist cleans your teeth—scrapes them, really. As she does, she notes
“problem areas” - things that need a look by the dentist.
dentist comes in, looks at the x-rays, says “hmmmmmm,” and then goes into his
“Tut-tut-tut” drill. He usually looks at you as if you’ve been surviving
only on World War II surplus candy bars. Then comes the lecture.
preliminaries over with, it’s time for your “drill and fill” exercise.
There is a fundamental problem
with this technique: The dentist gets paid for dental work done, not
dental work avoided. In theory, he’s working himself out of a job.
It appears as if his workload should spiral downward, but it doesn’t.
Indeed, his strategy seems
designed to produce minimum income:
sorts of devices are on display which promise to clean your teeth better—thus
preventing all sorts of problems. The hydraulic ramjet toothbrush and
floss dispenser may seem a little outrageous, but the dentist tells me that it
problems are encountered, they are fixed as soon as possible. This
prevents little problems from forming a union, thus becoming big problems.
as he does so, he works to ensure that you have only the minimum of pain
required in the process.
It seems somewhat strange—but it
works. Therefore we cooperate with the plan.
Look at that strategy
again. It closely resembles the one Christ uses for us:
has a variety of methods used to keep you from sin. It’s not just the
threat of hell; he provides us preachers and teachers to show us the
path. The Bible is given to us not to decorate the coffee table but to be
read—to be the light for our path.
sin arises, he gives us a time of reflection each week at communion. It
is a time to examine ourselves, seek repentance and live.
minimizing our pain? He did that at Calvary.
So as you take the cup and the
bread, remember this: the reason you come back again and again in
repentance is that it works. But only if you cooperate.