Privileged to have heard God’s call responsible to make God present in the world wisdom instead of foolishness honor instead of humiliation justice instead of corruption mercy instead of meanness peace instead of violence healing instead of woundedness unity instead of alienation
So, O Christian, now that you have become Caputo-ized, what is it that you understand to be required of you? Only to respect the insistence that embroils my inward self. Pay attention to that unheard inward calling and follow it, walking in the way taught and lived by Yeshua. Only in that way will I be of service to that which we name as God. Perhaps. Attending to (and heeding) that insistence, that inner beckoning, is like a divine commandment which I ignore at my own peril. We all desire a heavenly origin for the insistences that burrow into our inward being, we want to believe that we (and our tribe, our ancestors) have a special “in” with God. We want to believe that we have been chosen from the beginning of time, and that our being chosen grants us special privilege. Wrong (and, yet, at a deeper level ‘on target’)! No — me /my tribe / my ancestors do not get more or less insistence than others. YES — when I / we pay heed to those inner unheard callings by executing justice for the least, the last, the lost, and the left out… when we open ourselves to strangers through acts of kindness and generosity… then we have made God present in the world for a brief moment. Unfortunately, when I tire of our efforts, when I cease to direct our concerns outward to those in need, then God evanesces, disappears, goes up in smoke… then God dies! The “living” God has only one tribe… those who enflesh the godly insistence (the divine calling) to reach out to the hurting world and its distressed inhabitants. that is the only great and awesome action that deserves the name of God. Perhaps.
When we understand that angels are not supernatural beings but, instead, anything or anyone who bears a divine message for us then we can understand that this mythic metaphor of a story is an angel presenting to us.
This is an awesome story of how, even before Yeshua, there have been those who were willing to say “Here I am… let it be” when confronted with an insistence in the name of God. Perhaps. The insistence doesn’t always make sense in the normal human ways of reckoning sense. There seems to be a different way of reckoning in the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice.
Revelation comes to a young woman (barely beyond childhood) rather than to the long robes well aged within the tradition. The seeming impossible (especially to the long robes) become immediately possible. The poor and disenfranchised are exalted over the ‘high and mighty.’ Fear is replaced by affirmation. And history is transformed.
Matthew 12:8 8 The Human One is Lord of the Sabbath.”
With the freedom and approval of Yeshua, his disciples did the unthinkable — they gathered grain to feed their hunger on the sabbath. As maintainers of the ‘thinkable’ and the sanctioned possible, Pharisees challenged Yeshua by citing Jewish law. Yeshua, much to their dismay, turned the provisions of the law inside-out and up-side down. Yeshua clearly read the law in a different voice. According to Yeshua’s reading, the law was not designed primarily to restrict human creativity, but only to keep human creativity within the bounds of appropriateness. Of course, this angered the religious authorities, whose goal seems to be restricting the human spirit by rules and regulations, assuming that this would ‘perfect’ the human spirit. Instead of human perfection (that is, sin and evil being removed), God’s insistence through the prophets is for a messianic wholeness that enables individuals to grow through sin and evil toward maturity by harnessing faithful trust. This Way of Yeshua had the crowds wondering if he might be in alignment with the ideals of David.
Abram was an old man when he experienced an insistence that seem to arise from an over-whelming sense of the presence of divinity, named by the Canaanites as El Shaddai (that is, the god who overwhelms or destroys or the breasted one). That divine presence seemed to bond with Abram, bring about changes, and create within him endless possibilities. Henceforth Abram would be known as Abraham. This old man with no children would be the ancestor of “a multitude of nations.” Preposterous? Probably, but the unthinkable (sometimes even the non-sensical) seems often to be the substance of a calling in the name of God. Perhaps. The key to transforming such a preposterous calling into concrete reality is that having heard and affirmed the calling usually provides a passionate commitment to fulfill the calling. Such passion can be the ‘stuff’ of accomplishment.
Yeshua decided to check out how he was being perceived by the crowds. The disciples indicated that some saw him as a John-the-baptizer-type of apocalyptic preacher; others, Elijah re-vivified; many simply saw him as being in the long line of the prophets of Israel. The Yeshua turned the tables on the disciples, “What about you? What do you think about me?” Peter jumped in, “That’s easy.You are the long awaited Messiah.” Yeshua told them not to spread such rumors about him. Then he began to teach the disciples — not about the Messiah, but about the Human Being. When living a inner life of full communion with the inner God-process and an outer life of resisting the Domination System, the result is inevitable rejection and suffering and probably death. He added that death cannot defeat the Human Being — kill off one person and the same spirit is in another… and another… and another… Peter, brash peer-leader among the disciples, took Yeshua aside and suggested that these teachings were not helpful. In fact they were disturbing. Not daunted, Yeshua returned to the group and said, “If you reject what I have just said, you are giving in to the power of the Domination System that wants to control your every thought and tame you so you won’t resist. That will sap the life out of you.
We don’t want our heroes to have feet of clay. Even more, we don’t want the one to whom we have attached the title “Savior” to be all too human. Of course, we are glad that he went aside to pray and took with him three of the disciples. How else were they going to learn real prayer. Well, we find out (no surprise!) that the disciples have feet of clay. While they were asked to stay alert, they fell asleep. It becomes clear that the growing consciousness of Yeshua regarding opposition and the likelihood of impending death is more than their conscious minds can comprehend at this time. So, they anesthetize themselves with sleep — three times over.
Yeshua, on the other hand, cannot sleep. The depth of his personhood is being tested. He senses that death is in his immediate future. In addition to the end of his life, it also means the end of his mission to demonstrate a new way to be connected with a newly understood God. How distressing and frustrating must that be! Not a surprise that he prays that such a fate not befall him. What is surprising is the next word — “Yet” (“Howsobeit” in the KJV). “Yet,” Yeshua’s ultimate commitment is not to his own safety, but to what has been insisted in him since his baptism — a calling to release the inner dynamic of the God-process, to invite humankind to access the messianic possibilities within each of us, to free redemption for the stranglehold of the external and institutional. “Yet” allows Yeshua to change his tone with the disciples — let them sleep.
There is a confidence that builds in us as we learn to listen to the insistence of God (perhaps), that unheard inner calling. That confidence is also known as faithing. Faithing is flip side of calling. When we sense that insistence, we become accountable for our response – a response which makes God present in the world. This pattern (insistence -> response -> presence) is crucial for God exists in name only unless we act in God’s name, thus manifesting God to the world. And what is the nature of that manifestation of God (perhaps) — it is simply the spreading of the effects of the Way Yeshua lived and taught, the presence of the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice. During his earthly existence Yeshua did remarkable well. We see the messianic hopes of Israel unmistakenly present in all that he did and taught. We are confident, therefore, that the creation has turned a corner. The Commonwealth is already present, like yeast in the bread dough.
John 3:1-21There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a Jewish leader.2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could do these miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.”
“Creative Commons Francisco” by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
One night Nicodemus, Pharisee, leader among the Jews, came to Yeshua and said, “Rabbi, as a teacher you have truly demonstrated what it means to live a holy life in the name of God. Yeshua replied, “Holiness comes from living a new life through insistence, that unheard inner voice in the name of God. Perhaps.” Nicodemus, somewhat confused, asked, “New life? How is that possible for an old man? Do I have to return to the womb and be born another time?” Jesus answered, “The Commonwealth of Peace and Justice is peopled with those who have experienced a spiritual rebirth — turning their attention away from the normal standards of the world. (You know those worldly standards… “might makes right” “the golden rule — whoever has the gold, makes the rules” “whoever dies with the most toys wins.”) The Way of the Commonwealth, insisted upon in the name of God (perhaps), turns our attention toward a high set of priorities and standards — “a preferential option for the poor” “replace hate and violence with love and compassionate action” “if you have, and see a sister or brother in need, share” “resist / subvert the principalities and powers” “love, compassion, justice, health, and wholeness rule.” This is the directional arrow that pierces the hearts and minds of people in the name of God. Perhaps. It is in that spirit that I live my life and teach the Way in order that people like you and your neighbors might have abundant life.
Yeshua’s popularity was a mixed blessing. The crowd rushed in while he was trying to eat a meal. Some were saying that he was a mad man. His family was concerned that he might react inappropriately and went to where he was dining. Yeshua had shouted to those in the crowd who were mocking him, “You consider me devilish and evil? If that be the case, how do I then help others to resist devilish evil in their lives and find the healing light of goodness? I teach forgiveness – that even irreverence and disbelief can be forgiven. Where forgiveness is not effective, however, it is the haughty arrogance that ‘knows’ it is right and has no need of forgiveness. At this point his mother and brothers and sisters arrived. Being unable to make their way through the crowd, they called out to Yeshua. A few who close to him said, “Your family is here and they are asking for you.” “Here is my real family,” he replied, gesturing to those who sat at table with him. “Those who follow in the Way of God that I teach, they are my brothers, my sisters, and my mother.”