practical, faithful

The things of faith often find ways to suprise us.  As often as we might wish for the clear and unfettered word from God on high insofar as it would seemingly simplify one's life, this is neight frequent, nor when it comes to that, a particularly pleasant experience.  There is a reason why people despair when they are met with  the angel of the Lord in all the Bible stories.  Seldom was the voice of God bringing particularly good news or easy instruction to those who would hear.  Why do you think every time the beginning of the announcement is "don't be afriad..." 

But often we are just that: afraid.  Afraid of what it might mean for us to follow on the way of Christ.  Afraid of what becomes of us if we risk too much or go to far, or give beyond our means.  Afraid that if we take Jesus at his complicated, complicating word, that things might not come out the way we might hope, and more than likely not, the way that we would have planned. We often wonder whether Jesus really considered what he said to be lived and known in the context of the messy world in which we live.  

We seek a way of life and faith that DOES something for us.  We often seek responses that yield the results we think best, looking for something to do often before what it is that we want to be.  That is why it was far easier for Peter to  suggest that they set to work errecting shelter than it was to simply be and listen to the sight before them on the mountain of transfiguration.  But Jesus asks us first and foremost to follow him into the way of God's kingdom.  As such, I wonder how often we are best to ask "what does faithfulness look like here" in the tough situations, even before we might ask "what is most effective in this situation?'

We are as is so often the case trying to bring two good things together into a happy medium.  Often, it is how we hold practicality and faithfulness in tension that yields the best results.  How might we best live in the in betweens to the benefit of ourselves and the kingdom of God?


The Transfiguration:  An Amalgum

 

Matthew 17:1-13, Luke 9:28-36, Mark 9:2-10

 

About a week after                   predicting his own death,

 

Jesus took a trip into the wilderness,

Climbing a mountain,

To have time to pray.

 

Peter, John and his brother James came along.

 

While Jesus was praying,

The appearance of his face changed completely,

And his clothes became unnaturally white.

 

Suddenly there was Moses and Elijah,

Standing there with him,

Talking about what was to come.

 

 

            The disciples,

who had grown sleepy

from the hours a prayer

were amazed.

 

Peter finally blurted

 

“Master it is a good thing we came along.

Let us build three dwellings,

One for you, one for Elijah, and one for Moses.”

 

as he did not know how to respond.

 

As he was speaking a cloud surrounded them.

A voice came from the cloud, saying

 

“This is my chosen one.  Hear him.”

 

The disciples, who were thoroughly terrified,

Threw themselves to the ground

And would not even look up until

Jesus came and, touching them on the shoulder, said

 

“Get up.  Do not be afraid.”

 

 

The disciples, peering up through their fingers,

Saw only Jesus standing there.

 

As they descended the mountain,

Jesus commanded that they not tell a soul

of what they had experienced,

until the Messiah had been raised from the dead.

 

As they hiked on down the mountain,

the disciples wondered

what Jesus meant by raised from the dead.