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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Holy Tuesday



I've been thinking about Jesus' humanity.  When reading about the withering fig tree and the subsequent (depending on which gospel you're following) clearing of the temple, yesterday, it occurred to me that Jesus might have been "hangry".  There's a story in that.  I wish I'd thought of it earlier, but now here we are at Holy Tuesday, with more things to be said.  The week moves on at a faster clip than I can keep up with...

Isaiah 49:4, "But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all.  Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God" (NIV).

Sometimes I feel like Isaiah (or whoever wrote this...  I guess it's questionable...)

Sometimes I have whiny days.  I guess we all do.  It's probably too early in the week, yet, to talk about the word... the concept... godforsaken.  And yet, I keep seeing this spring up all over the place.   

To be honest, this verse feels kind of embarrassing to me.  Truly, how many times have I thrown my hands up in the air and vented my frustration over work or relationships, only to turn around and demand that God reward me for something I have done?  It's not pretty, friends, but let's keep it real.  Is anything "due me"?  Um... no.  Not really.  Not at all.  At least, nothing good... 

The moment is coming when even Jesus, in his distress as he awaits crucifixion, is going to ask God to make a different way.  He will cry out, asking why God has forsaken him... why God has forsaken his own son... why God has forsaken his own self... but today is not that day...

John 12:27, "Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour" (NIV).

This is the strength of Christ.  Sometimes I wish I felt more like Jesus.  Always I wish I was more like Jesus.  It would be great if I did less whining and more running full force into the things for which I was created, into the reasons for every hour...

This strength, though.  It is unlike anything we understand.

I Corinthians 1:18-19, 25, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate... For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength" (NIV).

If I'm honest, this is a very difficult teaching for me.  I like wisdom.  I like intelligence.  I am a "thinker".  And I don't feel as if this Scripture is saying that there is anything wrong with that.  Sometimes people take this out of context in completely new ways, minimizing the importance of knowledge and wisdom to such a degree that irresponsible interpretation and folk religion reigns.  That's a problem, too.  But for today, perhaps I can simply deal with the concept that it's OK to admit that I know less than I think I do.  That it's OK if not everything makes sense.  That there is still some mystery left in the world.  Not so much that we can acquiesce to human foolishness!  That won't do at all!  But enough that we can embrace our finite human wisdom for what it is... limited.

Oh goodness, I do not like to be limited.  Anybody who really knows me knows that.  But that's exactly what God chooses to use.  Our limitations.  May I be a kernel of wheat that falls.  And again, death giving way to life...     

Psalm 71:9b, "Do not forsake me when my strength is gone" (NIV).

Unlike Jesus, I can't make it all the way to Friday without these words on my lips.  I... just... can't.  Please, do not forsake...

L.

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