Monday, March 04, 2013

The Challenge Continues, Day 57: Numbers 21-23; Psalm 47; Luke 5

What the Lord blesses...
As human beings, we enjoy being in charge of determining what is right, or perhaps it is better stated that we enjoy being in charge of determining what should be right, by our estimation. When the universe conforms to our expectations, then we are released from conforming to the rules of the road that God sets before us. God asks for our faith and that we lift our eyes up to see the wider portrait of salvation our Creator is attempting to paint for us. We, on the other hand, quite willfully over-focus on the lack of amenities in the wilderness God has promised to lead us through to the Promised Land. We reject God's blessings of people when we would prefer them cursed. We laugh quietly to ourselves at the counter-intuitive invitation of God to drop our nets into barren waters that we have already attempted to fish, and then have the gall to be amazed when the draught of the catch threatens to swamp the boat in which we are sitting with God, incarnate in Jesus Christ.

Even when God is very clear, and when faith in that word is right at hand, we still drop our eyes from the goal in order to revel in the frustration caused by small stumbling blocks in our paths. Witness Balaam beating his donkey, when it refuses to carry him into fatal contact with the adversary that God has sent to bar his way. Witness as well Balak repeatedly attempting to get the prophet Balaam to curse Israel, when God has already made it clear that Israel is blessed, and cannot be cursed. Balak takes Balaam from redoubt to redoubt to view portions of the host of Israel, hoping that perhaps with this perspective, or from that angle that God will relent and accept his request to curse. Not going to happen.

We can mock Balak for wanting blessed Israel cursed, chide the Pharisees who reject Jesus, even roll our eyes yet again at the antics of our murmuring, desert-wandering ancestors of faith, Israel, as they wander in a wilderness of distractions. We can rejoice with perspective, and scriptures in hand, that we are wiser than those folks who chose to resist God's will, blessings and call.

Yet, I truly acknowledge that I have dropped my eyes and looked away from what God is calling me to gaze upon. I have flogged myself to go forward when God has said, "Pause." I have bargained with God, begging that a blessing become a curse, or that a curse be transformed into a blessing. Worse, I have rolled my eyes at the invitation to Christ to dip my nets into waters that I am certain are empty...when it is in those waters that God has prepared a catch for which I will need to call for help from a host of others, in order to haul it in.

When Jesus, moved by the devotion of friends who were willing to remove the roof of a house in order to lower their paralyzed friend into an audience with Him, tells the man that his sins are forgiven, why does our rational mind balk at the concept? Will it always take him telling the man to get up and walk for us to believe in his love, power and devotion to our healing? Why do we balk at sitting down with the tax collectors and sinners in our lives, when Jesus models an inclusive hope that we open our hearts, and the doors of our assemblies, to just those sort of folk? Worst of all, why do we flog and reject the things-even people-in our lives when they try to keep us from making terrible mistakes?

Simple answer...go back to the beginning of this post. We like to be in charge of determining what is "right," even when being right means rejecting truth. We want to be in control, instead of being open to God's will and way. We want to remain safe and unchallenged, because otherwise we would have to change, to alter our certainties....and then God knows what will happen next.

That's right....God knows what will happen next; and continues to invite us to let go of our dogged attachment to control so that we, too, might discover that-which-is-about-to-be from God's perspective, and in God's purpose.

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