– Don’t wake up in the morning and surrender your heart and your Spirit
– Don’t look to Jesus during the day when you need wisdom
– Don’t ask for his peace when you feel anxious
– Don’t confess your weakness when you feel tempted
– Don’t get on your knees and repent of your sin when you defy God
– Don’t ask him for a generous spirit when resources come your way, because they will come your way
– Just don’t cultivate the habit of looking up to the transcendent reality of a God who is with you every day
– Get used to living within the boundaries of your own inadequacy and anxiety
– Live as if there is no Good Shepherd watching over you
– Live as if all things are not possible with God
– Live as if we though we don’t have a God who can move mountains, and therefore whatever mountain it is that you face, that mountain is going to defeat you and dominate you and define you
– Then, live as if death will be the end of your existence.
Fundamental to this is the idea contained in John 7, that out of one’s belly comes rivers of living water. The idea of the belly is very fundamental, we can teach our faces to lie, but not our belly.
The modern equivalent would be our abs, and having life-giving, admired abs.
This comes from the with-God life, that God keeps in perfect peace those whose thoughts are fixed on him (Isaiah 26:3)
I think the evil one would say to our Church, make it about whether you like the music or not, make it about whether the preacher is entertaining, make it about the numbers, make it visible and human and impressive.
But instead we need to reach up, to look to God, and God who is with us.
Then we need to reach in.
Then talks about the word “fine” is used, and it ought to be a Christian swear word, because it is what keeps us from each other, it is what prevents us from opening up.
We keep ourselves from love and from opening up and from transformational reality by saying that we are doing “fine.”
How many of the people of scripture, if you had gone to and asked them how they were doing, would have said “fine”.
Hey Joseph, sold into slavery by your brothers, languishing in prison, how are you doing?
Hey Daniel, separated from your homeland, caught in service to a tyrant, in a den of lions, how are you doing?
Hey Jesus, rejected, betrayed, beaten, spat upon, whipped, nailed to a cross, how are you doing?
And then there is going out.
The devil might say to us, “Whatever you do, don’t go out, Don’t risk it, don’t try it, Stay in the cloister, Stay on the bench, Remain in safe little relationships with safe little Christians, What can one person do? What difference can you make? Keep your faith in Jesus a secret. Lot of people in the Bay Area are hostile to Christianity and they might ridicule you and that would be unbearable.”
The way to change the world is not to try to change the world: that has been tried. The way to change the world is to live in it with the “with God” life.
Hospitals got invented by accident by friends of Jesus who remembered that Jesus healed lepers
Orphanages got invented by Christians who remembered Jesus who said let the children come to me
Mechanical clocks got invented by monks who need to pray
Eye glasses got invented by monks who needed to be able to read the scriptures after a lifetime of reading the text
You Go Reign
There is a remarkable statement from Paul in Romans 5, that if death reigned through one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t say that Christ will reign here, although he will, it says that we will reign.
You are to go into the places in Christ, and you are to reign, that these places may be places where the kingdom comes.
Then a closing pray from the prayer of St. Patrick:
God, I arise today through a might strength, the blessing of the Trinity,
God’s strength to pilot me
God’s might to hold me
God’s wisdom to guide me
Christ within me
Christ before me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
God, I choose above all else to live this day with you
I joyfully offer you my time, my attitudes, my energy and my words.
With your help, I will fill this day with obedience, gratitude and humility
And a little pizzazz
In Jesus’ name,