God Is God (hidden and revealed)

In my inmost self I dearly love God’s law, but I see that acting on my body there is a different law which battles against the law in my mind. So I am brought to be a prisoner of that law of sin which lives inside my body…Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death?

God — thanks be to him — through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7.22-25)

 

 To the “wise and intelligent”, the things of heaven are hidden, but God reveals them to “children”. And Jesus thanks God for both these facts (John 11.25). In John’s Gospel, the kingdom of heaven is received not by the religious, nor by the powerful or upstanding in society. The hearts open and willing to receive the messiah’s seeds of love are the hearts of the poor, the oppressed, the broken and the childlike.

 

Faith and truth are not intellectual pursuits; they are the gifts of God, held out freely to all, received by few.

 

Though all Jewry had been waiting for the messiah for hundreds of years, when he came, he was rejected by the very ones who had been making all the noise, who had enshrined and prescribed his protracted coming in the doctrines and rituals of their religion.

 

Why do they reject Jesus?

Simply because the messiah turns out to be other than what is expected. He doesn’t do what he is supposed to do and he is not bound by any proscriptive socio-religious convention. The rigid ones don’t like this. They never do: “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn” (Jn 11.17).

 

But Jesus doesn’t waste his time or energy dwelling on the negativity that seems to stalk his every move. With humorous irony, he mocks the ignorance that complains on one hand that one man of God (John the Baptist) is an aesthetic, and then that the next (Jesus) eats and drinks with sinners and outcasts.

 

Does the moaning and groaning obstruct the messianic mission?

Certainly not!

Jesus turns to the Father in prayer and gives God thanks and praise. Jesus’ conscience is God’s conscience. What’s God’s will is his will. The mission is God’s and all power to fulfil it comes from God (“All things have been handed over to me by my Father” vs 27). Rather than worry about the negativity of the “wise and intelligent”, Jesus simply holds out his arms to “all …that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens”, calling them to lay down their burdens and take up his yoke, the yoke of the kingdom of God.

Come…and I will give you rest”.

 

Now today much darkness and negativity surrounds the movement of Jesus’ church. There are expectations and narrow-vision ideas about what “church” is supposed to look like and behave like. There are many who expect the church to dance when their society plays its flute and mourn when they wail. But this is not the way of the church. The mission of the church is not society’s mission but God’s mission. It is the very same messianic mission of Christ.

 

The church is moving in this time but it is not beholden to the movement of this or any other time. The church moves in God’s time.

 

Come. Do not be afraid. For he will “give you rest for your souls” .

 

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it”. (Brother Lawrence, 17th Century France)

 

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~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on July 5, 2014.

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