Instead of preaching about an economic analysis that reveals how the rich and powerful keep creditors poor to feed greater power and wealth. About how Jesus was offering freedom from those cycles by redirecting people into a simple lifestyle focused on sharing everything with the poor and broken among them. I chose to take a path that leads people into what has always seemed to me to be a cop out.
The Realm of Heaven on earth is simply a frame of mind. We can hold onto our riches and wealth and pass through the eye of a needle like Jesus’ proverbial camel – and find ourselves without debt and guilt in heaven – because we have prayerfully offered/given it all into GOD’s service. Through daily prayer GOD can direct us how best to use our time, money, cars, houses, to serve the poor and broken among us.
The catch in this whole plan is the daily prayer part. The cop out is that it is so easy to convince myself that I know what GOD wants of me. I use my culture, my neighbours, my peers, my church family as reference points and since they all seem relatively okay and happy – I should be too. I get busy dividing my time and money up between me and family and others; fun and work and service; charity and security and consuming.
Seven funerals in six weeks might have had an effect on me. Also, playing close attention to the gospel of Matthew – following Jesus’ weekly conflicts with life and death and wealth and boundaries of comfort has lifted up a crisis within me. Did you notice how I said in the last paragraph “my time and money”? I didn’t notice it either until GOD pointed it out in prayer (more like hammered away at my thick skull with it for weeks).
“I” have no time or money to spend.
It all flows from one SOURCE and slips through my fingers like water. I can gather it up in buckets and pretend like I have control over it but it gets stagnant quickly if it doesn’t flow. Life flows.
This seemingly simple shift in perception is everything. It makes the difference between living in heaven or hell. It is a simple lesson. Our Hymns and songs express it in a thousand ways. So, why do I keep finding myself weighed down carrying sloshing buckets of water around?
My Jesus is too Canadian.
My Jesus is too stuck in the seasons.
My Jesus is just a bookmark in the pages of Scripture.
But the Christ is anointed with costly perfume
by an un-named woman who pours it out
until it drips onto the floor.
I get distracted by the wasted drips
until the fragrance reaches me
and I breathe it deeply in.
I can feel her hands massaging the oil
into my skull
SHE is the Skekinah who pieces broken fragments
into holy moments
SHE is the widow who invited Elijah in,
whose oil jar never emptied in the midst of famine
SHE is the Holy Spirit who poured out overflowing
wonders and freedom on Pentecost
SHE is who waits to take me by the hand
back to the river’s flow.
I leave my burdens where Jesus left his broken body
and enter the resurrecting freedom beyond the needle’s eye.
Not my will, but YOURS.