One of the great dangers in all the work we do for the sake of the Kingdom is believing it’s all up to us. Thinking that if we just work a little harder, do a little more, try more earnestly, recruit more workers, spend more time, then all will be well. As if it’s all in our hands. As if we have something to prove, like Hannah Anderson and her garden of herbs.
image from whatibeproject.com
What’s on the outside - our ‘outer nature’ Paul calls it – all of that wears away. And someday it will be gone. “Our outer nature is wasting away,” he writes. Sooner or later, it happens to us all.
“But we do not lose hope,” he says. Because the outside is not the source of our hope at all.
Shift your focus, he says; move from looking at the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. Look more deeply. Instead of looking at the outside, look within. Go deep within. That’s where the transformation happens.
God created Sabbath for us, not as a measure of our goodness or way to prove our righteousness, but as a way to keep us centered on what matters. Keeping the Sabbath holy helps to keep our lives grounded in what is holy. Worshiping God reminds us that we are not God. We are God’s people, and we come here to remember that: we are beloved, empowered, sent out into the world as God’s servants.
It’s a lot easier to accept things if we know we’re not alone. And you aren’t alone, Paul says. Christ is there with you. You don’t have to do this on your own. Life isn’t a test, and you don’t have to prove anything. This isn’t a contest, and there is no prize. Life is a gift, and it is full of joy.
Or at least it can be…
“Rejoice in the Lord always,” I tell you. “Again I say, rejoice.”
Because you can do all things through him who strengthens you.
I won’t pretend to know how the Spirit is moving here today. I don’t know what windmills God has given you the vision to see, what giants you are called to conquer in order to make our community and world more just.
But here is what I do know:
God is not done with the world, and God is not done with us. No matter how bold, how audacious, how crazy and impossible it may seem.. God’s vision for the world is clear.
Giants will be confronted and conquered, New Life and resurrection will be preached and brought to our neighborhood, our village, our county, our state, our country, and to the ends of the earth.
The question is,
If this is God’s vision for us
Are we willing to appear to the world as though we are drunk?
Are we willing to be seen as crazy enough to follow the spirit,
bold enough to dream God’s impossible dreams courageous enough to charge against giants?
I surely hope so... Because this is our Pentecost calling...