Take and drink
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Jesus said to the church leaders, “How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?\"
I sometimes think my favorite and most influential Bible teacher, Franciscan Father Richard Rohr, speaks and writes with too much anger. But as his friend and fellow author-teacher-speaker Ronald Rolheiser says about that, “Well, it’s just that Richard (along with all of us) has a dysfunctional family. He loves his family just as much as if they were perfect in every way, but he can’t help but be angry sometimes.”
Jesus, too. Out of one side of his mouth comes this anger, this frustration. And from the other comes his love and compassion. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Luke 13:34)!
We get a glimpse of what life could be like, if only … If only the giving didn’t end, if only all of us gave instead of kept, if only forgiveness flowed more smoothly, like water down a hillside rather than up the same high hill. Of course, I’m thinking about my own giving and forgiving, as well as yours. Do I have the guts to go first?
Jesus made the choice, as God’s son, to do just that. He was angry sometimes. But he gave and forgave, gave and forgave. When there was nothing given in return, he gave and forgave, gave and forgave. He did what he saw his Father do. So can I. So can you.
The nice rhymes are really beside the point. Jesus, your example is all we need, because your giving fills us up. Life brims over with purpose and possibility, overflows any cups we have to hold it. We watch the water flow, hold the cups up to our mouths, and laugh into the water because it tastes … so … good.