We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
As we approach Holy Week and focus on the death of Jesus and his subsequent resurrection, let us reflect on the implications of the Cross for those who seek to follow Jesus. My daughter’s argument for the safety of a life in captivity over the risk of a life freedom brought to mind the words of Jesus.
In Matthew, Jesus’ most powerful challenge to his followers comes in chapter 16. Consider these two verses:
NIV Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
Most of us read these verses only in the negative: self-denial, hardship, etc, but this is a distortion of Jesus’ point. Yes, the way of discipleship is hard. Let’s be clear about this. Following Jesus Christ is a profound counter-cultural action. It is a life of risk. It is not about safety. But it is the opportunity to live a full life in the service of our Creator. It is an opportunity to live for that which we were made. Nothing could be more exiting nor, dare I say it, fulfilling. It is about following Jesus into the places that only those who have lost the fear of living can go. Jesus invites us to consider ourselves “dead men [or women] walking” precisely so that he can unleash us into a world that desperately needs women and men who are not afraid of uncertainty, danger, and trials because they know that their true Master is with them always (28:20).
Thanks for posting this daunting meditation on the risks of being a Christ-ian...that is, willing to follow Our Lord each day as he speaks and directs us, in real, but imperceptible ways. And ways that go against our habits, our culture, our comforts, often our friends and families, and seemingly our very sense of self-survival. The choice is between the apparent safety and security of the world; and the liberating faith and discipleship in Christ that leads to true freedom and true humaness.
Maybe some of us need to make some real steps when called to walk out there as He says "come to me." And not worry and the waves, wind and water.