I've been reading a lot lately. I'm lost in the forest because of the trees.
Over the past week, I have been hacking weeds, cracking hard soil, laying fresh earth and sod and planting a garden. I have this one-foot-tall oak tree a friend grew from an acorn. It waits in a pot on my porch. I want to plant the tree and my family somewhere where we can all grow together for decades to come.
The Benedictines have a vow of stability.
This year, I have been on at least 100 butt-numb-a-thons (flights). Are we condemned to be restless wanderers on the earth? Maybe it's just that none of us are at home anywhere anymore. Is it because we are not satisfied with anything or anyone right in front of us or because we have this desperate need to avoid stillness and intimacy at all costs? Of course, it's more about the adventure, the race! How are we to help others who are suffering locally and globally if we are too busy being terranauts?
We're a cruise ship of festive travellers arriving at an island of dying people plagued by an epidemic. You don't hand a pina-colada to a dying child.
During his public ministry, Jesus travelled so much he didn't even own a pillow to lay his head on. He was a refugee from birth. He was a celebrity from the moment the Holy Spirit filled him. But, look what Jesus left us:
- Eucharist - the sober and perpetual reminder of his broken body and spilled blood.
- Baptism - down into his death, cleansed and raised into life in his Spirit.
- Footwashing - all about dying to self, cleansing another, becoming a powerless slave.
- And after it was all said and done he left on another jouney and sent his friends into the rest of the world - to bear their crosses, baptize others, and wash each other's feet clean of dirt from the journey.
Random acts of kindness don't just happen. Random e-mails to politicians won't change the world. We had better commit to more than just words. Recently, my wife was instructing our five year old son how he might decide to give some of his birthday money to a little girl we love in Africa.
Internationally, we're playing with taxes and making big promises and yet nobody seems to have the ability to lessen the load or fulfill the request of the humble proletariat. Any tradesman in Canada who works overtime gives all that hard earned money to the government. Maybe changing the world starts with the disposable income of one citizen. Great saints have always left their wealth to live for and die with the poor. Kingdoms and nations always squander their treasures. Could it really be about YOUR money?
Judas carried the disciples' purse. His one night's pay earned dead Gentiles a burial plot in an abandoned field full of broken pottery. Silver for a potter's field? Job lost everyone and everything he had, got oozing sores all over his body and sat around scratching himself with broken pottery. David prophecied in Psalm 22 that while Jesus was on the cross his strength dried up like a broken piece of pottery. What good is broken pottery? Gideon has one answer. If we have light and treasures in these jars of clay - maybe it's time to break the bank.
In following Jesus Christ, I have lost nothing but my chains. Jesus is a revolutionary King but he is not a Marxist. Yet, those who love Jesus Christ by following his teachings will work and die for the complete liberation of humanity while everyone else just sits around lamenting everything they have to lose.
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what GOD is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously--take God seriously.