Your destiny is not struggle and misery ending in blackness. Trust your future. Trust love so much that you love even your enemies. Be peace for your world. Be fearless in the face of every threat. Live your deepest dream with hope and courage. This message from Jesus’ lips to the poor, powerless farmers and fisherman of Galilee must have sounded at once thrilling and absurd. Enduring hardscrabble lives and massive taxes as a breadbasket to the Roman Empire hope and dreams were dangerous words to them. Seeking justice got you killed.
It’s strange how we who live in the most powerful nation in the world’s history with more control over our environment and lives than anyone before us still find Jesus’ words a threat; such a threat, in fact, that we’ve eviscerated them, draining them of their thrill. Most of Christianity, our Church included, has relegated God’s Kingdom to an existence after death whose realm we can’t imagine and whose likelihood we can’t evaluate.
There is a reason that so many of our contemporaries find religion irrelevant to their lives. To a great extent, we’ve made it irrelevant. We’ve made it irrelevant to make it safe. The problem is that removing the danger has also removed the promise and the thrill.
Our times are looking for a different world, not a guaranteed retirement plan from life. The question for everyone claiming to follow Jesus: Who’s up for living the life we all hope for – right here; right now?
That was Jesus’ question two thousand years ago. It still is.