A Deep Yearning Inside

Psalm 62:1-12         
Only in God do I find rest; my salvation comes from him. 
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

There is a deep yearning inside me that begs to be connected to that insistence, that calling in the name of God. Perhaps. When I hear and act upon that insistence, I find strength; I am whole. Those around me want my immediate response to their every whim, but I’d rather take the time to discern a meaningful and valued course of action. Let me not fall into their ‘immediacy’ traps. In my time of discernment, may I take no account of social status or political persuasion, framing my action to that deep unheard inner calling in the name of God. Perhaps. And, if my plan of action is successful, I hope I do not puff myself up and strut like a bantam rooster who thinks his crowing created the day. Remember this, God’s weakness is my strength and my weakness is God’s strength. That is how the God-process works.

Yet!

Matthew 26:36-44                  
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” 37 When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious. 38 Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” 39 Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.” 40 He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me? 41  Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.” 42 A second time he went away and prayed, “My Father, if it’s not possible that this cup be taken away unless I drink it, then let it be what you want.” 43 Again he came and found them sleeping. Their eyes were heavy with sleep. 44 But he left them and again went and prayed the same words for the third time. 
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

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.

A New Normalcy

1 Corinthians 15:19-26         
19 If we have a hope in Christ only in this life, then we deserve to be pitied more than anyone else. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead. He’s the first crop of the harvest[a]of those who have died. 21 Since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came through one too. 22 In the same way that everyone dies in Adam, so also everyone will be given life in Christ. 23 Each event will happen in the right order: Christ, the first crop of the harvest,[b] then those who belong to Christ at his coming,24 and then the end, when Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he brings every form of rule, every authority and power to an end. 25 It is necessary for him to rule until he puts all enemies under his feet.[c] 26 Death is the last enemy to be brought to an end,[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

If we have placed all our hope in the Messiah, we are to be pitied. On the other hand, when we understand that the messianic process is alive and well, accessible to each of us, we can rejoice. Unfortunately there is no manual for messianism. We do, however, have a model, a catalyst. All we have to do is avail ourselves of the Way of Yeshua — study the way he lived and taught and then fashion our lives after his model. Such lives, patterned on the Yeshua design, are engaging in resurrection and salvation. Because it so different from the expectations of the normalcy of civilization, some have called it a life of insurrection — yeast bubbling up in the dough. The last enemy is normalcy and respectability.

Bread of Tears

Psalm 80:1-5         
1 Shepherd of Israel, listen! You, the one who leads Joseph as if he were a sheep. You, who are enthroned upon the winged heavenly creatures. Show yourself before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh! Wake up your power! Come to save us! Restore us, God. Make your face shine so that we can be saved! Lord God of heavenly forces, how long will you fume against your people’s prayer? You’ve fed them bread made of tears; you’ve given them tears to drink three times over!  
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

A God who is narrowly conceived has nothing to do but look after and protect those who have conceived Him/Her. Of course the who have thus envisioned God don’t even believe their own machinations. They prove their dis-belief as they continue to arm themselves and put their reliance on military might. That is truly their “bread of tears … tears to drink in full measure.”

It is said that “those who live by the sword, die by the sword.” True at some level. However, at an inner level, we all either live by the sword or learn to integrate our violent tendencies as a passionate desire to work for peace. What is true for individuals is also true for nations. Such a transformation is the real meaning of restoration in the name of God. Perhaps.

Out There or In Here

Mark 13:24-26         
24 “In those days, after the suffering of that time, the sun will become dark, and the moon won’t give its light. 25 The stars will fall from the sky, and the planets and other heavenly bodies will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Human One[a] coming in the clouds with great power and splendor. 27 Then he will send the angels and gather together his chosen people from the four corners of the earth, from the end of the earth to the end of heaven.  
 [Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

When inner transformation happens, it is as if the entire universe is brought to its knees. Pain and suffering seems universal. Such transformation truly shakes up “the powers in the heavens.” While seeking the Messiah (an external force that will rescue me) I encounter, instead, Humanity’s Child who at first seems to be a rather murky, unclear figure ‘out there.’ Perhaps just a disguise for the Messiah. Upon closer examination, however, Humanity’s Child is not ‘out there; instead, ‘in here.’ The Humanity’s Child  becomes my capacity to decide for the God-process in me, the messianic possibility that is there for all of us. When this new consciousness unveils itself, it is as if angels in the heavens and the winds of the earth are all aligned and fig trees bear fruit. God is now near, the nearness of ‘within.’

 

It is like going on a photographic adventure, hoping to get some frame-able photos for your art gallery. If you don’t stay alert, you may miss the best shots. Miss the best shots and your Self does not develop.

Inner Work

Matthew 25:1-2          
1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten young bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Now five of them were wise, and the other five were foolish.   
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

What can we say about the God-process (messianic activity within)? Surely, this parable warns us about not tending to the ‘virgin’ territory (within). If we don’t do our inner work and then expect God / Messiah to rescue us, the door will remain closed, no matter how long or how loud we make a scene. The marriage (integration) of the bridegroom (Son of man) with the bride (Self) can only take place when the virgin (unconscious) has been diligent in filling lamps with oil and trimming wicks (inner work). No inner work, no integration, then the Messiah will never arrive. Messiah is not a wedding ‘guest’ but a member of the wedding party — that is, it is a messianic process that is present, mot a Messiah. Stay alert, tend to your inner work. and let the messianic process take care of itself.

Awaiting the Great Transformation

Isaiah 26:1-10         
1 On that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah: Ours is a strong city  God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates and let a righteous nation enter, a nation that keeps faith. Those with sound thoughts you will keep in peace, in peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is a rock for all ages. He has thrown down those living on high, and he will level the lofty town, leveling it down to the earth; he will bring it down to dust. The feet trample it,the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy. The way of the righteous is level; you clear a path for the righteous. In the path of your justice, Lord, we wait for you; with all our being, we long for your name and your acclaim.9 At night I long for you  with my whole being; my spirit within me watches for you. When your judgments are at work in the earth, those living in the world learn righteousness. 10 When the wicked are favored, they don’t learn righteousness; even among those who do right they do wrong, and they fail to see the Lord’s majesty.
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

We await a great transformation — a dimension of time where our earthly cities might reflect the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice. Those of us who place our trust in the God-process (the messianic dynamism that is available with each person) want the tables turned, desire to have the current status quo turned upside-down so that the high and mighty will live in a society managed by the poor and needy — not to make everyone poor and needy, by to make everyone inter-connected, knit together, a community. We have set our hearts on this hope in the name of God. Perhaps. We desire a society where we are not defined by economics or social  status, but jointly by our need and our ability to contribute. When human need and compassionate sharing are integrated, there “God” will be found (by whatever name the divine, mystery, spirit is called).

Anticipating Messiah

Luke 2:25-32        
25 A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He was righteous and devout. He eagerly anticipated the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he wouldn’t die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.27 Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple area. Meanwhile, Jesus’ parents brought the child to the temple so that they could do what was customary under the Law.28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said, 29 “Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word, 30 because my eyes have seen your salvation. 31 You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples. 32 It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel.”    
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

There was a devout man named Simeon, fervently anticipating God’s new action in the world. He was expecting the arrival of the Messiah and the establishment of God’s Kingdom, which would bring solace and comfort to Israel. Simeon used to wait in the temple as parent brought their infants for blessing. The story goes that he took baby Yeshua in his arms and rejoiced, saying that his hopes had been fulfilled. He had seen the one who would be a revelation to the Gentiles and glory for Israel. Little did he realize that Yeshua would confound Jew and Gentile alike with a new vision of God so radical that few could handle it. Not THE Messiah, but the catalyst for the messianic process that is available to all who are willing to “sell all” for the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice in the name of God. Perhaps.

Preposterous?!

Genesis 17:1-8       
1
When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am El Shaddai.[a] Walk with me and be trustworthy. I will make a covenant between us and I will give you many, many descendants.” Abram fell on his face, and God said to him, “But me, my covenant is with you; you will be the ancestor of many nations. And because I have made you the ancestor of many nations, your name will no longer be Abram[b] but Abraham.[c] I will make you very fertile. I will produce nations from you, and kings will come from you. I will set up my covenant with you and your descendants after you in every generation as an enduring covenant. I will be your God and your descendants’ God after you. I will give you and your descendants the land in which you are immigrants, the whole land of Canaan, as an enduring possession. And I will be their God.”  
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

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). 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.

A True Leader

Zechariah 9:9-12        
 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion. Sing aloud, Daughter Jerusalem. Look, your king will come to you. He is righteous and victorious. He is humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the offspring of a donkey. 10 He[a] will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the warhorse from Jerusalem. The bow used in battle will be cut off; he will speak peace to the nations. His rule will stretch from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth. 11 Moreover,[b] by the blood of your covenant I will release your prisoners from the waterless pit. 12 Return to the stronghold, prisoners of hope. Moreover, declare today that I will return double to you.  
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

A true leader according to the “marrow of the Gospel” (St Francis’ term) frames victory with humility. S/He diminishes the need for implements of war and consigns violence to the scrap hep of worn-out, useless sentiments. In their place, peace is elevated as the new normalcy of civilization — prisoners are released; new cooperative alliances are formed; reconciliation is applauded; unity is affirmed.