Sunday, October 25, 2015

Set Free

The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:16-17

The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger and lead it out for watering? This daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now, ought she not to have been set free on the Sabbath day from this bondage?”  Luke 13:15-16

Rembrandt's The Prodigal
“As I look at my own aging hands, I know that they have been given to me to stretch out to all who suffer, to rest upon the shoulders of all who come, and to offer the blessing that emerges from the immensity of God’s love.” (Henri Nouwen, “The Return of the Prodigal Son,” Epilogue.)

Christians, by reason of the Spirit’s presence within them, enjoy not only new life but also a new relationship to God, that of adopted children and heirs through Christ, whose sufferings and glory they share.  Jesus puts that new relationship on display as he heals the crippled woman on the Sabbath. 

This new relationship as heirs to his same suffering destiny may not be what we have in mind when we think about an inheritance.  To us, inheritance is (usually) something good.  Money.  Property.  Family jewelry.  Heirlooms.  Inheritance has an almost universally positive meaning. 

We would not typically equate suffering with inheritance.  However, we do inherit a genetic makeup from our birth parents.  Sometimes that passes on to us negative factors and a propensity for disease like heart problems, cancer or more.  In addition, an inheritance also might create for us a tax obligation based upon the value of the estate that we receive.  We have to take the good with the bad.

The same is true of our inheritance with Christ.  We have to accept the good (Glory) with the need for the bad (Suffering).  We cannot have one without the other.

In addition, inheritance also means we might be gaining something but we have lost out on a relationship which was close to us.  In the case of Jesus, we inherit his estate yet we have not lost him. 

Jesus accepts the good and the bad of his inheritance.  Today, the good is his healing of the crippled woman.  The bad is the betrayal that is brewing among the leaders of the temple after he humiliates them publicly. 

As you look at your aging hands, what will be your non-monetary estate?  What have you inherited that cannot be counted on a balance sheet of assets and liabilities?

One hundred years from now
It won't matter
What kind of car I drove
What kind of house I lived in
How much money I had in the bank
Nor what my cloths looked like
The world may be a little better
Because, I was important
In the life of a child.
 Excerpt from "Within My Power" by Forest Witcraft

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