Friday, July 18, 2014

Learn from Me

Saturday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Salvation we have not achieved for the earth, the inhabitants of the world cannot bring it forth.  But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise; awake and sing, you who lie in the dust.  For your dew is a dew of light, and the land of shades gives birth.  Isaiah 26:18b-19

Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not contend or cry out,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope. (Isaiah 42:1-4)

Our soul yearns for justice as much today as did the people living with the prophet Isaiah.  However, it is not to be.  We labor, day and night, trying to get ahead.  We are burdened by the responsibilities to our families, our church, our selves, our neighbors and our church.

What is justice?  What is truth?  We tend to define these concepts from our vantage point rather than from the Lord’s – who defines it from the vantage point of the disadvantaged – the poor whom he looks up to from the manager and the oppressed he looks upon from the cross. 

If we plan inequity, we face the wrath of the Lord.  However, if we take the perspective of the Lord, we risk the outrage and condemnation of the “Pharisees.”  We must learn from Jesus, not popular culture because Jesus is the person in which the old times and the future times merge to fulfillment. The Spirit of the Lord is upon Jesus.  When we take up his commands, that spirit will be with us as well because there can be no neutrality where Jesus is concerned.

Around us are all signs of war and evil.  Jets are getting blown out of the sky.  Innocent youth kidnapped and murdered leading nations to the brink of war.  The poor get poorer while the rich get richer.  We are driven apart by issues when we look through our own lens.  Gay marriage.  Abortion.  Healthcare.  Capital Punishment.  Gun laws.  Taxes.  Environmental laws.  We are all recruiting Jesus into our partisan camps rather than changing ourselves and moving into His camp. Jesus did not come to see us scatter us to different camps.  He is the shepherd who is here to bring us together into one flock.

As Christian Piatt, a feature writer for Sojourners, points out, “Jesus is always throwing us curveballs.”  He writes that our behavior reminds him of an old saying.  “God created us in God’s image, and ever since then, we’ve gone to great lengths to return that favor.”

The solution:  look inward for how we must change to the outside world in order to meet Jesus where he is – on the cross.  “While it would be comforting to validate ourselves by claiming Jesus as a Baptist, Disciple, Catholic, or something else, what we’re effectively trying to do is keep from changing ourselves. We want to rest in the certainty that we’re all right how we already are, with no real need to grow or do things differently.”

How can you change one part of your perspective this weekend?

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