Friday, March 21, 2014

Shaking off the vipers

 Joseph from Arimathaea, a distinguished member of the council, who himself prepared to accept the kingdom of God, went boldly into Pilate’s presence and asked for the body of Jesus. Mark 15:43

Went boldly.

If ever there was a reasonable opportunity for hesitation, certainly it did not seem to be a prudent moment to step up and out as a friend of Jesus. 

However, this boldness places Mr. Joseph smack dab into the crux of all history. Which is a good thing.

And really, the fog of faltering and well, let’s call it what it is, cowardice, is not that dense.  Deep down in my gut, I have a pretty good idea of what is right and true. And a pretty good idea of what is fear, selfishness, laziness, apathy, distraction, and of less value. Anchors that hold me paralyzed. Stuck.

And of course the real guiding principle is love. Is this love?

Back to my Message definition of love, upon which I am meditating this month:
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

And sometimes going boldly forward means staying in the boat. And tossing out all of the excess cargo and rowing. Hard. Whether it be a I-can-handle-anything-for-five-more-minutes in a refuge camp white-knuckled grip or just-one-more-day-of-honoring-Him steadily lifting the oars slightly out of the water while twisting my wrists forward again rowing.

And this week He has been encouraging me with His still small voice, “Do not be dismayed. I AM. I am faithful.”

And sometimes when we are rowing hard, it is good to take refreshment, Just before dawn, after fourteen long days and nights of rowing and constant suspense, Paul urged them to take some food, And he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. And always before the provision there is the Eucharisteo, the act of gratitude and worship. The taking of the loaf of bread, breaking it and blessing it.

 And after the stern was broken to bits and they splashed to shore, a warm fire and unusual kindness was waiting for them on the beach. And rest.

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.

And for today, may I honor You by going forth in boldness. Having tossed all of the cargo and cut the anchors, I trust in You.