Sunday, May 14, 2006

JESUS IS SMARTER THAN US: PART 4

Part 4: Catalyzing Deep Commitment


"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:37-39 NIV

In a fleeting few seconds of artistic beauty, Mel Gibson in his film The Passion has Jesus pick up his cross and as Jesus does so, he hugs the cross with an expression of love on his face. This is after the horrific beating and in the midst of continuing Roman cruelty and frantic Jerusalem crowd hysteria. It is at this time a visual moment of both purpose and peace shapes Jesus' face. The torture does not define or deflect him; the rioting mass does not defeat or delay him. Something deeper interprets his life. Loyalty.

Loyalty is love enduring as love in the midst of hate and all else that is unloving.

Jesus compells us to get in on the chance to live deeply loyal lives. With all its authority of compassion, its surprising relational connections, its simplicity and generosity, even its dangers, the relentless reign of God is marked by supernatural, enduring, unrivaled love. Ironically, in the name of political justice (powerful Rome) and religious devotion (zealous Judaism), Jesus experienced the worst evil that the world can inflict on a human being. These powers wanted so much for Jesus to fight back. Jesus chose a better way: he loved back. And in the presence of that kind of love, the world was stunned to find itself stripped naked and shamed; its vaunted power unmasked as impotence and its fierce hatred was flimsy as smoke.

What energy is this that when provoked by ridicule and mockery, blesses? When rejected, invites friendship? When beaten bloody, heals? When viciously hated, amazingly forgives?

Who is this that embraces his cross as the emblem of eternal, enduring loyalty?

Life, real life, is only found on the road of loyal love.

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