I am grateful that the stories of how people discover God’s hope are as diverse as the people in this world. I am grateful that we live in a world where Hope not only comes from God, but where we have the ability to share hope with each other.
Functionally, Jesus did not accomplish anything as he demonstrated in Jerusalem so long ago... and yet... still... this story lives on.. and yet still... its symbols still provoke and challenge us...
And yet... still... we wave our palms
and bow down to the humble and peaceful king that rides on donkeys
that keeps coming into our world and flipping it upside down.
What if “helping” wasn’t just about meeting other people’s needs – as lofty and beautiful as that is? What if those connections were Christ’s way of meeting us, getting under our skin, getting inside us?
What if it’s true – that Christ is already here… in every act of compassion… in every connection we make? In the stranger, in family, in friend? Even – can I say it? - in ourselves?
What does it mean to wait with an expectation of goodness? It’s not being naïve about the dark; in fact, it’s just the opposite. You only carry oil if you think the dark will last a long time. They are not fools.
But you can live in the dark and carry the light of Christ at the same time. Especially if you are preparing for something good. Peace. Loving-kindness. Compassion.
It takes tenacity, but it is possible. And what this parable tells me, is that it’s exactly what Jesus wants for us, and for this world.
In this parable, at least, the issue is not about who is getting more than they deserve. It is not about comparisons at all – who is better than whom, who is more deserving than anyone else, who is more ‘worthy.’ If our focus is there, it will only lead to resentment and bitterness. The issue, in this parable at least, is whether everybody has enough – because the kingdom rests on God’s generosity, which is a model for us all.
I am not telling you that you should forgive others. That’s not mine to say. That is a deeply personal decision, and one only you can make. Only you can know if it’s something you’re ready to do. What I want to say is that you can forgive. That’s the gift God offers us. That is part and parcel of God’s grace. It is possible. Difficult, of course. Almost certainly not once-and-for-all, but a process. But it’s possible. And profoundly, deeply healing.